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The government has announced a £17 million fund to create 2000 scholarships which will focus on AI and data science conversion courses to help support diverse students entering the tech sector.
The scholarships aim to help underrepresented groups, including women, black people, individuals with disabilities and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. The goal is to provide opportunities for individuals with no previous experience in the tech industry to pursue AI and data science careers.
The government will encourage companies to play their role in supporting the development of future AI talent by co-funding the scholarships. The funding will create two scholarships, worth £10,00 each, for masters AI and data science conversion coursers and will allows graduates to pursue further study in this field, even if their undergraduate background is not directly related
This announcement follows the first stage of the AI and data science conversion courses launched in 2019 which supported 28 universities in England to provide degree conversion courses in AI and data science and was delivered by the Office for Students.
Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer of FDM Group said: “It is fantastic to see the government invest into the development of skills in such a vital area and businesses must now follow suit. The skills gap prevails and as technology, such as AI, develops at an increasingly rapid pace we must work harder to produce workforces equip with the skills needed to operate and utilise the new offerings.”
“Support must be shown from education level and all the way through an individual’s career, including returners who are rejoining the workplace after a career break. An inclusive approach must also be prioritised, ensuring diverse pools of individuals who hold a multitude of different skills are welcomed into the industry.”
Dr Yi Ding, Assistant Professor of Information Systems at the Gillmore Centre for Financial Technology at WBS:
“A renewed focus towards educating the individuals who will power our workforces in the future is vital so it is great to see the government provide funding into building necessary tech skills. As they UK attempts to cement itself as a leader in tech, key industries such as the FinTech sector will play key roles in in achieving this.”
“As we head towards global leading status, we must ensure individuals have the relevant knowledge to build tech-powered businesses. A collaboration between government, industry and academia is needed to ensure a pipeline of talent is created, promoting innovation while allowing our businesses and economy to grow.”
Chris Philp, DCMS Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, said: The UK is already a world leader in AI. Today we’re investing millions to ensure people from all parts of society can access the opportunities and benefits AI is creating in this country.
We are doubling the number of AI scholarships previously available to underrepresented groups to build a diverse and inclusive workforce fit for the future of tech.