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Flexible AI Upskilling Fund pilot: open for applications

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) recently announced a £7.4 million pilot scheme to subsidise the cost of AI skills training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Professional Business Services sector.  £6.4 million of grant funding is available.

Through this pilot programme, eligible business can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of AI skills training. This is training which supports employees to develop their technical skills and/or understanding of AI to be able to develop, deploy, or use AI in their role. The application window is now open until 31 May.

Applications Close 12pm 31 May

Objectives of the programme

Artificial Intelligence holds huge opportunities to drive productivity and prosperity across the UK economy. It has the potential to increase UK GDP by up to 10.3% by 2030 – the equivalent of an additional £232 billion – and businesses who adopt AI are more likely to be successful than those that do not.

But evidence shows that a lack of AI skills in businesses is hindering AI adoption, in part due to low investment in AI upskilling in UK businesses, particularly in smaller companies.

This pilot programme will test whether training SMEs in AI maximises the value of adoption AI. Specifically, whether government support in the form of match-funding is an effective way of increasing employer-led upskilling in AI, and whether increased skills translate into AI adoption and firm-level productivity benefits.

Programme Objectives

Specifically, the pilot has the following objectives:

  1. To stimulate employer investment in AI training
  2. To address AI skills gaps in the UK workforce limiting AI adoption
  3. To measure the impact of AI upskilling on business productivity and outcomes

The funding competition is open to applicants who:

  • are registered and operate in the UK
  • employ between 1-249 employees in the UK
  • are defined as an SME per the BEIS SME Action Plan
  • have been operating for at least 1 year
  • are able to match-fund 50% of the cost of the training, and
  • operate in the Professional and Business Services (PBS) sector (see the guidance attached for definition)

Full Competition Details Here

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