Flexible AI Upskilling Fund pilot: open for applications

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 (PBS) sector. £6.4 million of grant funding is available.

Through this pilot programme, eligible businesses can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of AI skills training. This refers to 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.

This pilot scheme is funded through the £37.5 million Labour Market Evaluations and Pilots fund, announced by the Chancellor at Spring Budget 2023 to continue to build the evidence base on the effectiveness of policies to improve labour market outcomes. Departments could bid for funding to carry out a variety of projects to either better understand the impact of recently implemented interventions on labour market outcomes, or to trial new and innovative policies.



Evidence shows that a lack of AI skills in businesses is hindering AI adoption, in part due to low investment in AI upskilling by UK businesses. This is particularly true in smaller companies. The Flexible AI Upskilling Fund pilot scheme aims to increase AI adoption and productivity by incentivising greater employer-led investment in skills and training.

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

Flexible AI Upskilling Fund pilot application guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)