Back in November 2020, at our Ufi VocTech Showcase, the big challenge we foresaw was that the communities who are not traditionally well served by mainstream vocational skills and training provision, the focus of Ufi’s strategy, were probably more at risk than ever from being excluded from education and training and being able to access employment.
In response, we kicked off the 2021 VocTech Challenge to explore, with an open mind, where Ufi can best use its resources to make change happen. This is a major initiative for Ufi the outcomes of which will help shape our activities for the coming years.
But Ufi can’t do this on its own, so, using design thinking principles, we set about on an exercise of co-creation across the VocTech community to address the following questions:
How can VocTech improve vocational outcomes for people most impacted by the digital divide and at greatest risk from the long-term impact of the pandemic on access to training and jobs?
How do we then link those vocational skills to real employment opportunities?
We used the Design Council’s ‘double diamond’ innovation framework, which consists of four distinct stages called discover, define, develop and deliver. In the discover stage, we have deliberately re-checked that our understanding of the VocTech world reflects reality. From there, we have brought our findings together into a series of problem statements/ opportunities (defining needs) in a Green Paper.
We then moved into the develop stage by asking “how might we (or others that we work with) make a real difference in relation to these key themes?”
Finally, we chose the best of those ideas as outlined in our White Paper and are currently seeking to deliver them in pursuit of Ufi’s mission and the widest possible benefit.