Applications open to £5.75 million programme to equip adults for the jobs of the future

Innovation Foundation Nesta and the Department for Education (DfE) have launched the £5.75 million CareerTech Challenge, calling for cutting edge innovations that will equip adults across England with the right digital skills and tools to find rewarding future employment.

With one fifth of UK workers currently in occupations that will be affected by automation over the next 10 to 15 years, the Challenge is calling for innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists to come forward with products and services to equip people for their future work.

This could range from up to date online information on the skills employers will be asking for, to virtual reality experiences which help people to envisage their future careers, tech tools could change the way people prepare for their future.

Digital technology has the potential to radically improve people’s access to the tailored advice, guidance and support they need to thrive in the changing world of work. Equipped with knowledge of the jobs and skills likely to be in demand; and the confidence and support needed to pursue them, people can plan for secure and rewarding future careers. A confident and adaptable workforce will also help to meet the needs of businesses for a multi-skilled workforce in the future.

The CareerTech Challenge, formerly the Adult Learning Technology Innovation Fund, is seeking solutions to help people working in England aged 24 to 65, without a degree and earning less than £35,000 per year. The sectors expected to particularly change as a result of automation include retail and manufacturing.

The CareerTech Challenge consists of two parts:

1. The CareerTech Challenge Prize, to find digital solutions that use labour market information to make high-quality, future-focused information, advice and guidance more accessible. 20 finalists will receive £50,000 each as well as expert support to help them further develop their solutions. In March 2021, the winner will be awarded £120,000 with one runner-up receiving £80,000.

The CareerTech Challenge Prize is now open to entries via this LINK. Entries close on Sunday 29 December 2019.

2. The CareerTech Challenge Fund to source innovative tech solutions which support people to build motivation to learn and develop new skills online. Existing online learning generally has low completion rates, so Nesta is calling for tech solutions which successfully engage people and build their employability skills and confidence for transitioning into new job roles. Nesta will provide grants of between £100,000 to £250,000 for successful applicants, alongside tailored support to help refine and test their tech.

Applications to the CareerTech Challenge Fund close on Monday 9 December 2019. Further information can be found on the Nesta website.

Nesta is an innovation foundation committed to turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. The Foundation uses its expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society, and has spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and applying the resultant learning in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts. Nesta is based in the UK and supported by a financial endowment.