VocTech Impact 2018 Update
Blog by Stephen Hinde, Community Manger for Ufi VocTech Trust
An important part of the Ufi mission is to ensure that the digital technologies for vocational learning being developed by Ufi-funded projects can continue to create impact after the funding has finished.
On Wednesday 5th February, Ufi brought together the VocTech Impact 2018 cohort, who are now at the mid-stage of their projects, to explore what’s happened so far and to look ahead to the remaining half of the project.
The agenda enabled the representatives from these Ufi funded projects to discuss what’s going well so far, how to overcome potential blockages, and how to demonstrate impact during evaluation. There was also a panel discussion during which three projects showed the rest of the group how they had dealt with significant barriers or challenges, driving their project in a sometimes different but ultimately successful direction.
Sally Betts, who’s working on a project that develops augmented reality learning content for engineering apprentices, talked about how Group Training Associations (GTA) discovered that continuing with their original plan of developing content for every available CNC or milling machine would not be possible. During research and early development, it became apparent that the number of machines for which content would need creating was too great due to the number of makes, models, and ages of equipment available in the industry.
The solution to this was to build their app to be ‘make and model’ agnostic, while still recognising the type and function of the machinery.
One of the most common themes to emerge during the day was the benefit of finding good project partners who are onboard with the planned innovation and who can add value by sharing their ideas and expertise. Ufi projects are often solving problems in specific environments so to partner with companies in those spaces can offer mutual benefit.
eCom Scotland’s Allan Maclean talked about their project, Assessing Reality, working with a qualification association and FE college partners who were actively seeking to find ways of using virtual reality for assessment. They welcomed eCom’s work and the fact that, by working collaboratively, they could explore how VR can be used to enhance the assessment experience for learners.
Alongside the funding offered by Ufi, projects discussed the value of the support they receive from their dedicated Project Account Manager who can also signpost them to additional enrichment opportunities provided by the wider VocTech Community. Often we find that a problem solved by one project can enable other projects to overcome similar issues. Workshops like this one prove the wider benefit of being able to knowledge share and openly discuss successes and failures so that each and every project can achieve the best possible result.
VocTech Impact is one of Ufi’s grant calls which offers £150,000 to £300,000 for demonstrating the ability to reach a large number of learners while shaping how learning happens through innovative uses of digital technology. To find out more about Ufi’s projects, and future funding calls, visit ufi.co.uk or connect on LinkedIn & Twitter