Ufi Charitable Trust, a grant-funding body which supports the delivery of adult vocational skills through digital technology, is excited to announce £100,000 of funding for a vocational training project led by Youthforce, provider of STEM apprenticeship training. The investment is part of Ufi’s Manufacturing Skills Fund which will invest £1m in projects that use digital technology to improve how vocational learning is delivered in the manufacturing sector.

The ‘Making Apprenticeships Work’ project will deliver online training to apprentices in the workplace, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create, curate and consolidate learning content. By using AI, the tool greatly reduces the time and cost of developing learning resources for apprentices. Together with its ability to reach large numbers through all devices, it can be delivered as a Just in Time, rapid rollout facility to ensure the learning it delivers keeps pace with industry changes as they occur. Making Apprenticeships Work will partner with large and SME manufacturers to trial the technology and provide a practical demonstration of how AI can simplify and speed up the creation of digital learning content, bringing content creation within the reach of many more organisations.

This project uses the AI tool Wildfire™ to produce effective, personalised, digital vocational learning content from a wide range of training resources created by employers or training providers. The tool can generate e-learning content automatically from documents, PowerPoint presentations or videos within minutes, with automatic links to Wikipedia pages and other external resources, such as YouTube, to adapt and enhance the learning journey based on learner’s preferences. Using advanced scientific understanding of how learning happens through active learning, retention and recall, Wildfire™ generates content which is more easily retained by the learners, with instant follow up ‘fill in the blank’ activities to reinforce learning.

The training content produced will help apprentices meet the requirements of New Apprenticeship Standards, helping them learn and retain the knowledge and competences for the newly introduced end-point assessment and reducing the risks of drop-out and failure which is costly for apprenticeship providers, employers and learners.

Commenting on the project, Rebecca Garrod-Waters, Chief Executive of Ufi, said:

‘More than ever, employers need access to appropriate, cost-effective training to ensure their employees gain the knowledge and expertise they need to maximise the productivity of their organisations. Availability of faster, better, cost effective training will be essential if the government target of three million apprentices by 2020 is to be met.

Wildfire™ is unique in its application of AI in the training sector. We believe that AI has huge scope for widening access to, and improve delivery of, vocational learning. The tool will help reduce costs and lead times associated with developing e-learning resources allowing employers to deliver technical learning quickly, in an engaging way. We are delighted to support this project which will provide a practical example of how AI can support learning in a wide range of organisations and support delivery of cost effective learning to more people.”

Charlotte Blant, CEO at Youthforce, said:

“Our ultimate goal is to use new technologies to provide the best learning experience for our apprentices and employers. This project enables us to develop and test Wildfire as a tool to making apprenticeships work even better. Our hope is that through working together with Ufi on this project we able to develop a long and sustainable relationship beyond the life of this particular project.”