The government has pledged £18.5m to fund AI and data science conversion degrees and scholarships for people from underrepresented groups.

The newly available funds are part of the government’s plan to boost gender diversity in the tech sector and harness new technologies to upskill and retrain adults.

The funds consist of up to £13.5m for an extra 2,500 artificial intelligence and data science conversion degrees, with 1,000 scholarships for people from underrepresented groups.

An additional £5m will drive innovation in adult online learning. The Adult Learning Technology Innovation Fund will be launched in partnership with innovation foundation Nesta, to 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.

“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,” said Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright.

“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.”


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As part of the announcement, government funded entrepreneur network Tech Nation has opened applications for the first ever applied AI growth programme to benefit start-ups.

The free, nationwide programme will primarily serve as a practical network for founders, facilitating peer-to-peer learning.