VocTech Impact 2019: Guidelines

Information to help your application succeed




VocTech Impact 2019 call open for applications on 5th - 28th June 2019.

Ufi has a two-stage application process. Access to Stage 2 is by invitation only, following success at Stage 1. Evaluation at each stage is undertaken by an expert panel, selected to represent the experience and expertise relevant to the fund. Final funding decisions are made by the Ufi Board of Trustees. The total size of the budget for the call is confidential and Ufi’s aim is to fund all projects which meet our criteria.

Stage 1 requires you to complete a short form outlining details of your organisation, your project and the funding requested. Applications are assessed on how well the project fits with Ufi’s overall mission and the specific objectives of the funding call. 

Stage 2 requires you to complete a more detailed application with more information on the technology, route to market and deliverability of the project. As part of your application, you will need to provide additional information in the form of a project plan and budget. 

Dates and deadlines

  • The deadline for submission of Stage 1 applications is 17:00 on 28 June 2019.
  • We do not accept late applications.  If you experience technical problems while completing or submitting your application, you must tell us as soon as possible via info@ufi.co.uk. 
  • Stage 1 applicants will be advised on 1st August 2019 whether or not they have been successful. Successful applicants will be invited to proceed to Stage 2 and join a webinar on 13th August about the Stage 2 Application.
  • The deadline for submission of Stage 2 applications is 17:00 on 13th September 2019.
  • Ufi’s Board of Trustees will reach final decisions on funding by 31 October 2019.   

What happens if my application is successful? 

Successful applicants will receive a conditional offer letter of funding which sets out the requirements for due diligence, what needs to be done to complete the funding agreement and an invitation to an induction webinar.
The Ufi funding agreement is in two parts: the Ufi Standard Terms & Conditions of Grant and a Project Initiation Document (PID).
You will be allocated a Project Account Manager to work with you to agree a PID.  The PID sets out how the project will be delivered and the milestones which need to be achieved for funding to be drawn down. Each project is unique and we will work with you to agree what is best and most reasonable for your project.  We will expect you to set clear objectives for the project, that describe the outputs and outcomes the project aims to achieve.  It is for you to determine how your project is best delivered and to work with your Project Account Manager to agree a monitoring plan. The funding milestones will be set as part of this process.  

Success at Stage 2 

If you are successful, you will be allocated a Project Account Manager to work with you to deliver a full Project Initiation Document (PID), which sets out how the project will be delivered and the milestones which need to be achieved for funding to be drawn down. Each project is unique and we will work with you to agree what is best and most reasonable for your project. It is for you to determine how your project is best delivered and to work with your Project Account Manager to agree a monitoring plan. The funding milestones will be set as part of this process.

Other Ufi funding opportunities

To keep informed about funding rounds, please register with Ufi if you haven’t already signed up for our mailing list.

VocTech Impact Funding Criteria 

Improving UK skills through digital vocational learning
Scaling up the change in vocational learning

Ufi aims to help raise UK workforce skills, by promoting innovative use of digital technology to increase the number of adults accessing vocational learning. Ufi believes that digital technology can play a greater role in enabling adults to get the skills needed for work in the 21st century.  We want to see digital tech making a real change to how vocational learning is developed and delivered; and to ‘scale up’ this impact to make vocational learning better, more accessible and more affordable. 

This call will support projects that show the potential to have a real impact in the world of vocational learning and to ultimately make a difference to how people learn and to the number of people gaining new skills – helping us to build a better, quicker, digital future for vocational learning.  This means looking for projects that:

  • Use digital technology in new ways to enable large numbers of learners to develop new skills during the project duration.
  • Demonstrate how this new approach can be used to achieve even greater scale in delivery of vocational learning.
  • Help to evidence the value of digital approaches to vocational learning more widely

Solving practical problems

Ufi supports projects that aim to solve practical problems in vocational learning and does not fund speculative ‘build it and they will come’ type solutions.  Projects must start with clearly identifiable learning issues, describe the problem they aim to address, and offer high quality, innovative solutions that are flexible and adaptable to future change.   By improving outcomes for learners and improving the quality of vocational teaching and training, Ufi projects should show how they will produce tangible benefits and enable people to gain skills directly needed in the workplace.     

High quality solutions 

Quicker, better learning is only possible if the development process and the end-product are really high quality.  This requires a recognition of the learning pedagogies specific to the digital world, and the specific challenges of developing digital learning.  We expect our projects to include consultation and testing with users – providers, employers and learners - and to see how their feedback has been incorporated into product development.  


Projects must have the potential to be sustainable and continue to have an impact after Ufi funding has ended. Projects need to show an understanding of who the customers and users might be, why the project approach provides a good solution for the problem and how it will get to market.  Projects need to offer cost effective learning solutions that can improve business efficiency.  There needs to be clear objectives for the project, that describe the outputs and outcomes the project aims to achieve.   

Showcasing the art of the possible

VocTech Impact projects will provide practical examples to demonstrate to a wider audience how digital technology can help transform vocational learning, at scale, either in the workplace or helping adults into work through gaining job specific skills.  This will help to support those who commission or purchase training by raising the visibility of the new technologies that are available and showing how new digital technology can help meet business needs.

How much funding is available?

VocTech Impact 2019 will award funding between £150-£300,000 for projects of 18 -24 months duration.  The funding level and timescale are intended to encourage applicants with innovative projects able to deliver a significant volume of activity and level of impact which can demonstrate their wider applicability; and the broader applicability of digital vocational learning.  
The funding for any project is dependent upon the nature of the problem the project is seeking to address; and the nature and scale of the solution proposed.  Each will be considered on its individual merits and the costs will be assessed against the proposed work plan and timetable. The total size of the budget for the call is confidential.  Ufi’s aim is to fund all good projects.

VocTech Impact: What type of projects are we looking for?

  • Large scale, near to market innovations which demonstrate how the use of digital tech can deliver adult vocational learning at significant scale. We will want to know how the project will produce tangible benefits to learners and employers, the number of learners who will benefit throughout the duration of the project and beyond the lifetime of Ufi funding.
  • Projects that solve practical learning problems. Project proposals must clearly describe and evidence the learning problem they plan to address, explain how the proposed solution will work and why it is the best option and outline who the customers and users will be.
  • Projects where the applicants are thinking differently about how to use digital approaches to deliver effective vocational learning at scale; and how to use technology for genuinely novel approaches to learning.  Projects may be innovative in their overall approach, their technology, or the industry sector or community of learners being targeted.
  • Projects which will have long term impact on employers, industries and sectors or communities of learners which are not well served by current vocational learning systems, because of industry or market conditions, past learning history or other factors.  
  • Projects which provide working demonstrations of vocational learning innovations which can to show employers, training providers and learners how vocational digital learning works in practice.
  • Projects aimed at any and every aspect of vocational learning, including (but not limited to) design and development of learning tools, new delivery models, evaluation and assessment, accreditation and recording evidence of achievement.

What will VocTech Impact 2019 fund? 

  • The design and development of novel approaches to digital vocational learning; to help take those ideas from proof-of-concept to large scale tests and trails, or initial roll out to a limited audience as the first stage of a larger programme.
  • Work with users to co-design and test solutions, so that problems are properly understood from the user perspective and solutions are designed and developed in ways that really work for learners and employers/providers.
  • Activity aimed at extending an existing, proven approach to a new market, industry or community of learners; or to develop innovative technology to significantly advance an existing learning approach.  (Note that such projects must describe innovation that is a step change beyond normal business/product development to justify Ufi funding.)
  • Projects aiming to achieving real change in how learning for work happens, with the courage to do things differently and take risk.  Ufi aims to share the risk inherent in innovative approaches.  Ufi’s project management processes are designed to be agile and flexible to adapt to changing circumstances. 

Projects must

  • Provide an innovative digital solution to a defined issue for vocational learning
  • Offer a high quality digital learning solution, which makes full use of the potential of technology to provide new approaches to learning for work
  • Have a well-developed, tested proposal, ready to be rolled out to a significant number of vocational learners, with access to a population of learners who will develop new vocational skills during the project duration
  • Include realistic plans for ongoing tests with relevant users/learners and incorporating feedback from testing into product development
  • Have a clear vision and ambition for the further growth of the project and its potential to be scaled up to impact on more learners and change how UK vocational learning happens
  • Be able to show how the project can provide a cost effective and efficient learning solution and meet business needs
  • Clearly show how Ufi support is needed to enable digital learning innovations to happen that could not otherwise happen, make them happen more quickly or at a greater scale.    

What kinds of organisations can apply? 

For the VocTech Impact call, Ufi is looking for projects which will impact on large numbers of learners, with the potential for further roll out to an even greater number. We therefore anticipate working with larger, more established organisations, including employers, colleges and other existing learning providers, charities and trade bodies. 

Applicants may benefit from working in collaboration with others to ensure that the idea is addressing a recognised learning need, has access to relevant learners and benefits from expertise in digital learning.  We are flexible about the structure of collaborative projects but expect to see this clearly described in project management arrangements and for all partners to be active project participants. Where a project is a collaboration, please note that Ufi will only enter into a funding agreement with a single lead applicant who will be responsible for project management and any supplier or collaboration agreements, which may need to be put in place.

Whenever Ufi funds an organisation which is not a charity, we have a legal obligation to ensure that any private benefit that arises is not more than is necessary to deliver the public benefit that is the stated purpose of the project.  (See the additional explanation below) 

The majority of organisations we fund are UK-based.  We will consider applications from outside the UK if they can clearly demonstrate how they will address vocational learning challenges faced in the UK.  We only fund projects that can demonstrate their impact in the UK.

If your organisation is not a charity: 

Ufi funds projects involving charities, private companies, community interest companies and other not for profit organisations.  As a charity itself, Ufi must ensure that any grant given to any organisation that is not also a charity demonstrates public benefit. The questions we ask in our application forms help us understand how your proposal can have a beneficial public outcome, both immediately and in the longer term. 

We don't fund: 

  • Generic ‘access to work’ skills eg CV writing
  • Basic digital skills
  • Projects which simply digitise existing content
  • HE or schools projects
  • Generic enterprise or entrepreneurship skills to support people to set up or run a business.  

We are not currently looking for further projects for:

  • Standard brokerage or matching employees (including apprentices) with employers or training opportunities for employment or work experience.
  • Standard learning management systems

Please read the FAQs for more details about what Ufi will fund.



Download slides

Workshops have now finished but you can download the presentation slides 


6th June – 0930  - register

12th June – 1400  - register

20th June – 1000 - register



Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about the application process and more technical advice regarding what is needed,
please visit our Frequently Asked Questions