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£13 million announced for new AI conversion courses

DCMS and the Office for AI have announced £13 million for AI and data science conversion courses over the next three years to help encourage a more diverse workforce.

The Office for Students (OfS) has launched a competition which invites universities and other higher education institutions to develop and implement postgraduate conversion courses for over 2,500 graduates by 2023.

These courses are the latest stage of the government’s support for strengthening the UK’s artificial intelligence talent pipeline and represent the delivery of another of the key commitments in the £1 billion AI Sector Deal. The AI Sector Deal sets out how artificial intelligence and data will bring economic growth to the UK.

The aim for these conversion courses is to upskill or retrain students, including those from a non-STEM background, in artificial intelligence and data science, to encourage a more diverse workforce. This initiative will be delivered by the OfS on behalf of the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Office for AI. £3 million has been allocated for course development costs and £10 million for scholarships for students from backgrounds unrepresented in these industries, particularly female, disabled and black students. More information on how to apply for funding can be found here.

Commenting on the announcement, Katherine Mayes, Programme Manager, techUK said:

"In the UK there is currently a significant mismatch between supply and demand for digital skills. To ensure we create a steady pipeline of tech talent we need innovative initiatives, such as conversion courses, to help upskill and retrain people quickly and flexibly, allowing people to fit their education around their everyday lives and responsibilities. We look forward to continuing to work with DCMS and the Office for AI to support their work in this area.”

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