Ufi seeks new trustees as innovation bids surge | Ufi VocTech Trust

Ufi seeks new trustees as innovation bids surge

The response to Ufi's latest call for projects – the Ufi Vocational Learning Tech Challenge – has attracted more than 180 entries.

The "fantastic response" reflects the drive at Ufi to increase the project portfolio, according to Chief Executive Rebecca Garrod-Waters. And the increase in activity means that Ufi is looking for new Trustees to extend its range of expertise and experience.

"The initiative is an exciting new fund, focusing on demonstrator level projects with a view to supporting innovation in the use of digital technology for vocational learning," she says. "The response has been fantastic, with entries ranging from hardware and software through to networks and assessment technologies. Those who are successful will be invited to apply for Stage 2 which opens on June 8."

Strategy is for a full range of digital solutions - including a new MOOC for teachers

The Trust is in the process of broadening its project portfolio through commissioning projects that align with its strategy, and will also open other calls in key areas. "We intend to continue to build on this success," she added "and that strategy is for a full range of digital solutions - not just online."

Feedback on projects funded to date has been extremely positive. The Trust's very first round of funded projects include Citizen Maths, a free and open online level 2 maths course and the Children's Food Trust Learning Network which is upskilling college catering staff.

The latest project is #LearnerSuccess - a new MOOC (massive open online course) which aims to give teachers confidence in incorporating digital delivery into their practice. Led by University of London's Institute of Education, a team of developers and colleges are creating the MOOC in response to feedback from teachers. Courses will be short (four weeks), video-led and collaborative. Teachers and trainers will share experiences and expertise in using digital tools and resources for learning and teaching.

More Trustees sought

As the current work goes ahead, the Trust is planning to extend its board. "We are committed to increasing the reach and scale of vocational learning through digital technology, and we are currently actively recruiting trustees," explains Rebecca Garrod-Waters. "We are keen that Ufi continues to look to the future of digital technology, and are seeking trustees who can bring digital expertise, representation of industry users of learning technology and digital leaders, as well as expertise in learning technologies."

The current #VocLearnTech fund makes available grants of between £15,000 and £50,000 for each successful application for 12 months as seed funding to develop innovative ideas. "Such a strong response demonstrates that there is a healthy appetite for innovation in the vocational education community," says education adviser and Ufi trustee Bob Harrison. "It's a real challenge but now is the time for the Trust to press the accelerator pedal while simultaneously building its capacity and intellectual capital." "At a time when much is made of innovation but support and funding seems thin on the ground, this is a very important development. And we are witnessing a surge of interest."

This surge in activity means that Ufi would like to appoint additional trustees. Further information can be found here.

If helping to stimulate and create exciting new digital resources and services for vocational education is something that appeals to you then please send an expression of interest to the Ufi Charitable Trust company secretary (details below). Interested in becoming a Ufi trustee? Please get in touch with Linn-Marita Sen (company secretary):

Email - lsen@haysmacintyre.com

Tel - 020 7969 5624