£18.5m diversity boost for AI tech and innovation roles

The technology sector is set to benefit from an £18.5m cash injection to drive up skills in AI and data science and support more adults to upskill and retrain to progress in their careers or find new employment.

Up to 2,500 people will have the opportunity to retrain and become experts in data science and artificial intelligence (AI), thanks to a £13.5m investment to fund new degree and Masters conversion courses and scholarships at UK academic institutions over the next three years.

£5m is also being invested to encourage technology companies to develop cutting-edge solutions, utilising AI and automation, to improve the quality of online learning for adults.

The ground-breaking Adult Learning Technology Innovation Fund, which will be launched in partnership with innovation foundation Nesta, will provide funding and expertise to incentivise tech firms to harness new technologies to develop bespoke, flexible, inclusive, and engaging online training opportunities to support more people into skilled employment.

Companies across the tech sector already employ more than 2.1 million people, contribute £184bn to the economy every year and inward investment to the UK AI sector stood at £1bn for 2018, which is more than Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland combined.

To further strengthen the sector, Government is investing in data-driven technologies, such as artificial intelligence, through the modern Industrial Strategy, so tech businesses and people with the drive and talent can succeed.

Speaking ahead of his speech at CogX, the Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “The UK has a long-standing reputation for innovation, world-leading academic institutions and a business-friendly environment and everyone, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity to build a successful career in our world-leading tech sector.

“Through these new AI and Data Conversion courses and our modern Industrial Strategy, we are committed to working with the tech sector and academia to develop and maintain the best AI workforce in the world.”