Time to put your project idea to the pub test

A couple of weeks ago, we announced a new call for our VocTech Seed fund, offering up to £50,000 grants for projects lasting up to 12 months. The application form will be available from 24 April and will close on 25 May 2017 at 5pm. So, we are busy spreading the word about the call and arranging workshops and webinars so that prospective applicants can ask us questions or talk directly about projects. For the first time, we are holding a workshop in Belfast so we are really looking forward to meeting some new digital innovators over in Northern Ireland and hearing about some great new ideas for digital vocational learning..

This pre-application period gives you time to look at the Ufi website, work out just what it is we are looking for and start to develop your project ideas.

Because the busy bees at Ufi are never doing just one thing, we’ve also been working on the initial assessment of our VocTech Impact call which closed recently. The good news is that we’ve been bowled over by the range of ideas we’ve seen - from employers, learning providers and digital innovators from across the UK. But we are always disappointed when applicants have just not given us critical information that we clearly asked for in the guidelines. We’re always left with a niggling feeling that we might have missed a real game changer! But if we really cannot understand the project, there is not much we can do.

So, don’t let this be you! You’ve got time now to test out your project idea with anyone who will listen - especially those people who will be honest with you… If your mates down the pub or your cycling buddies have no idea what you are talking about, the chances are that we won’t either! For VocTech Seed, we want project ideas that are at quite an early stage - but they still need to be well developed with a clear plan for moving forward. Don’t just tell us that they are innovative and creative - tell us how they will make a difference.

VocTech Seed is aimed at projects at an earlier stage and smaller in scope than other Ufi funds. But they must still show real ambition and vision; and an understanding of how the project can be subsequently taken to market and scaled up to reach a large number of learners. So, start testing out how you’ll convince us of this. There’s £50,000 at stake - now is the time to start planning your application.