Skills development in the gig economy, flexible, and freelance space

The VocTech Podcast

As we move towards ever more atomised modes of work, is there a risk we don’t develop our skills properly, just going from one gig to another?

If we are going to prevent that from happening, what do we need our freelance or gig economy platforms to look like and to build in? Is this ever likely?

In this episode of The VocTech Podcast, we're looking at skills development in the gig economy, flexible, and freelance space.

The big piece here is skills acquisition and enabling gig economy workers to progress in their careers

Helen Gironi, Director, Ufi Ventures

In this episode our presenter Sophie Bailey is joined by:

  • Sophie Smallwood, Co-founder, RoleShare
    Co-founder of, previously Sophie was enterprise side at facebook and ebay. Roleshare’s mission is to enable a sustainable workforce where people get more from their roles, and where full-time balance at work and in life is possible – regardless of the reason. helps people combine skills for fulfilling roles – they are the smart matching site for shared roles.
  • Helen Gironi, Director of Ventures, Ufi Ventures
    Helen serves as Director of Ventures at Ufi, working with early-stage technology companies focused on the future of work and skills and sits on the board of Learnerbly and Learning Labs. Helen has been investing in early-stage ventures since 2002 and early-stage impact ventures since 2016.
  • Christina Palmou, formerly, Work, Income and Inequality Analysis, the Tony Blair Institute
    Christina was formerly a Senior Economist at the Tony Blair Institute working on issues around the income inequality, representation and the future of work. Her recent work at the institute looks at how remote work can change the geography of jobs in the UK and what worker representation should look like in flexible labour markets. She was formerly a Senior Econometrician at Oxford Economics and holds an MPhil from the University of Oxford.

Topics explored in this episode include:

  • Is there a perceived difference between gig economy, freelance and contract work? How empowering is each and for whom? Choice vs. necessity?
  • As we move towards greater gig or freelance work, is there a risk of skills attrition? What skills might be lost? Is this part of a bigger trend?
  • Which startups or platforms are recognising this as part of their offer, with a view to developing freelancers as well as benefiting employers? What does the startup landscape look like in this space? 
  • What does the research show us in this area, about risks and opportunities for a shift towards gig / freelance work? Do young people worry about this?
  • Resources, projects, people, startups, books, podcasts in this space which have excited you that you’d like to share. 

This episode is part of The VocTech Podcast series.

Looking for investment?

Ufi Ventures are currently focusing on early-stage companies working in the gig-economy sector.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when the next episode of The VocTech Podcast is out.