Flexible AI Skills Development Fund Applications Now Open: A Great Opportunity for SMEs

 Flexible AI Skills Development Fund Applications Now Open: A Great Opportunity for SMEs

A great opportunity for SMEs in the Professional and Business Services Sector: Enhance your AI skills with the Flexible AI Skills Development Fund pilot program!

 

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has launched a £7.4 million initiative aimed at subsidizing AI skills training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the UK. Specifically targeting the Professional Business Services (PBS) sector, this initiative provides substantial financial support for businesses to train their employees in AI competencies.

Objective and Goals of the Program

As AI becomes increasingly integral to business operations, there’s a growing need for companies to equip their employees with necessary AI skills. Funded by DSIT, this pilot program seeks to bridge the skill gap by incentivizing businesses to invest in AI training. The main objectives of the program are:

Stimulate Employer Investment in AI Training:

Encouraging businesses to invest in their employees’ development of AI skills.

Address AI Skills Gaps in the Workforce:

Aiming to equip the workforce with the necessary foundational and advanced AI skills for effective technology adoption.

Measure the Impact of AI Upskilling on Business Productivity and Outcomes:

The program plans to thoroughly assess how AI training programs affect business efficiency and outcomes.

How to Apply

Applications for funding up to 50% of the costs for training and development activities will be accepted from April 2024 to March 2025. Interested parties can submit their applications via www.gov.uk by the end of May 2024.

Eligibility

To be eligible, businesses must be registered in the UK, have been operational for at least one year, and employ between 1-249 people. Additionally, they must operate within the Professional and Business Services sector and meet specific SIC code requirements.

Funding and Budget Allocation

Grants of up to £2,500 for micro businesses, £5,000 for small businesses, and £10,000 for medium-sized businesses are available. This funding is designed to cover up to half the cost of AI training, with a total budget of £6.4 million allocated for the fund.

Assessment and Results

Applications will be evaluated based on set criteria and funds will be allocated to projects deemed suitable. The fund is expected to be quickly depleted, and future funding windows may be offered depending on the demand.

The Flexible AI Skills Development Fund represents a significant step towards helping SMEs adopt AI technologies. This initiative aims to boost the competitiveness of businesses, thereby contributing to the UK economy.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flexible-ai-upskilling-fund