VocTech Impact 2017 Projects | Ufi VocTech Trust

VocTech Impact 2017 Projects

Below are some of the projects we have funded as part of the Impact funding round which took place in 2017.



Cuppa - Sara Dunn Associates

England’s 1.55m care workers work in 40,000 mostly small organisations. Staff skills and knowledge are key to care quality but often fail to match the roles. The workforce is relatively low paid, short of time and lack access to training and vocational support; while employers struggle with high turnover, dispersed workers and limited resources. Current training tends to be formal curriculum-focused, with 60-90 minute e-learning modules linked to core standards. Cuppa’s approach focuses exclusively on micro-learning, just-in-time access and mobile delivery. Cuppa was partly supported by Ufi’s Seed fund to test the viability of offering short items providing practical learning on everyday care tasks. It now plans to move on to exploit the scalability inherent in the learning product, building and rolling out a market-ready system. Employers and managers can blend the flexible bite-sized elements with face-toface learning and supervision, or incorporate them into longer online modules; while learners will benefit from accessible, task-based learning and performance support.

Sara Dunn, CEO


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Digital Solutions to improving numeracy in the workplace - National Numeracy

The latest Skills for Life survey shows 49% of UK adults lack sufficient functional numeracy skills to make good decisions involving numbers and data in the workplace. National Numeracy are working through their Challenge website to improve adult numeracy and want to scale up their work through partnerships in health and the ‘pre-employment’ sectors, to embed their numeracy improvement tools as a routine part of staff training in these organisations. Their objective is to scale-up reach and impact by utilising ‘touchpoints’ in existing workplace processes, enabling employers to use National Numeracy’s digital tools to identify, and then address, poor numeracy. The project will identify gaps where existing tools can be used, and where appropriate, create supplementary resources with UK health trusts, DWP and Job Centre Plus, Prospects, National Careers Service and Tomorrow’s People. They will build on research underway to identify the best way to do this.

Paul Milner, Development Manager


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Open Networking Lab (ONL) - Open University

We are living in a digital, ever more connected world, but there is a real shortage of people with the necessary network engineering skills. This project will provide a platform for anyone to learn introductory, practical networking skills through a web-based network simulation package (PT Anywhere), developed in partnership with Cisco Systems. This simple, scalable learning, available on any connected device, can be used at any time for learners to practise and develop skills through ‘hands-on’ activities to model real networks. Even those with no prior networking experience will gain confidence to progress towards industry-relevant qualifications, formal study or upskilling.

ONL will help learning providers increase networking teaching at no cost, through its digital network simulation package and will also be available for individual, informal learning. The platform will also provide integrated learning resources and activities through an experiential learning approach, using learning analytics to monitor student activity, give insights into student engagement with the resource and provide support to learners.

Dr. Karen Kear, Senior Lecturer & Deputy Head of School


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The Digital Guild - Sussex Downs College

For many people, finding meaningful work experience is a huge challenge.  Often it is about who you know rather than what you know.  Employers, particularly in vocational settings, may consider relevant work experience to be more important than formal qualifications.  For learning providers, managing the whole process is complex and labour intensive; and mistakes can be costly.  The forthcoming T-Levels, with mandatory 45-day industry placements, increases the need for an efficient solution to work experience.  The Digital Guild is a new platform to help solve these challenges.  It enables learners to access over 1,000 hours of eLearning, develop new skills (including sector specific and transferable skills) and evidence these using digital badges.  Employers and learning providers can list experience opportunities, including application criteria, using the same digital badges.  The Digital Guild can manage the whole process from search and discovery, placement matching, on placement assessment through to final evaluation and the recording of references. 

Kevin Jones, Digital Guild Project Manager


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Skills Live: Digital Rail - National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR)

The project will pilot a new route into jobs requiring digital skills by creating a journey towards employment using “SkillsTrax”, combining skills insight videos with interactive content. Skills Live will provide high quality content to Job Centre Work Coaches to enable them to better explore options with clients; and to young people directly, via mobile devices, to view in their own time. Videos will be arranged into short ‘courses’, incorporating entry-level skills for roles in digital rail. Content, delivered by employees, will focus on the job role and key skills with functionality from SnapChat, Instagram etc to allow users to further explore the role and skills of specific employees, and build a profile of their own interests to be used to target relevant content and information. Learners can demonstrate their aptitude against specific skills, earn digital badges and gain credit towards industry recognised qualifications, aligned with pathways into new apprenticeship standards and guiding young people into industries they may not previously have considered.

Mark Holmes. Head of Membership & Development/Development Director


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VocTech for Early Years Childcare Professionals - Kinderly

Kinderly will develop a technology platform offering personalised bite-sized learning matched to the individual’s professional development needs. Delivered through a mobile and web-based application, the highly accessible, flexible training and accreditation programme aims to improve access to training for a large group of potential learners who have limited time and funds to attend traditional training courses. Following an initial assessment, learners will be able to choose their own goals and pace of learning. The product will offer fun, easy to use and highly engaging content, encouraging a ‘little and often’ approach. Bespoke virtual rewards, open badges, ‘leader-boards’ and peer networking will incentivise learners to follow through and achieve more from their CPD. To offer additional support, learners will also have access to a directory of Training Mentors, providing details of their specialisms, services and availability.

Philippa Glass, Communications and Operations Director


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PRACTICE - Bridgwater and Taunton College

The College is part of the National College for Nuclear (NCfN) and is developing an innovative curriculum based on a physical replica of a nuclear reactor and VR simulation. This will enable learners to work on ‘live’ projects in an environment of safe experimentation and failure, gaining higher level technical skills. PRACTICE will use digital technology to provide accessible learning to a wide range of new industry entrants, including those whom traditional methods have failed to engage, offering a new, vocational pathway with multiple entry points, career change and progression and opening opportunities currently only available to those working in the nuclear sector. This project represents a new teaching and learning methodology incorporating physical, augmented and virtual reality to replicate the licensed environment, currently limited to existing nuclear installations. Using VR enables the environment to be accessed and replicated with no geographical limitations, allowing for distance learning at any location within the UK or beyond.

Stefan Cecchini, Head of Projects, National College for Nuclear (NCfN)


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Careerhacker.ai -  WhiteHat

This project aims to provide a solution to the problem of high dropout rates in UK apprenticeship training. Currently, 500,000 people start each year, but only 70% complete their apprenticeship. With apprenticeship numbers set to increase rapidly, WhiteHat want to reduce the dropout rate by using machine learning to better match apprentices to employers at the outset. The project will also take a new approach to the training process, with ‘best-in-class’ e-learning content and a virtual network to facilitate peer mentoring, empowering apprentices to talk, comment, rate, and explore learning together. The Careerhacker.ai platform will intelligently match a very diverse range of apprentices with high-quality opportunities and enabling apprentices to create a digital profile of their skills and experience. Together with compelling learning content, WhiteHat hope to position apprenticeships as a genuine alternative to university, open-up closed careers for which HE has been the traditional entry point by making opportunities visible and accessible.

Sophie Adelman, General Manager and Co-Founder


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