North West-based, award-winning learning organisation, Agent Academy CIC, has been awarded £150,000 by innovation foundation, Nesta and the Department for Education, to expand its existing offer nationally, supporting those whose jobs are at risk across the UK through an innovative online platform.
Research by Nesta suggests that more than six million people in the UK are currently employed in occupations that are likely to radically change or entirely disappear by 2030 due to automation, population aging, urbanisation and the rise of the green economy. It has also been found that the coronavirus crisis has intensified the importance of this problem. Recent warnings suggest that a prolonged lockdown could result in 6.5 million people losing their jobs. Of these workers, nearly 80% do not have a university degree.
Agent Academy delivers industry-designed, action learning programmes for young people, aged between 18 and 25, who find themselves, post-further/higher education, without the skills to begin their careers in the digital, creative or tech industry. Alongside industry training, participants work on a real-life client brief, offering a practical approach to learning to ensure they are ready to hit the ground running and successfully kick-start their future careers.
This funding will allow Agent Academy to develop a dynamic online training platform, Switch, taking elements of its existing programme and translating them digitally with a range of new features, to support people over the age of 25 and without an existing degree throughout England. Agent Academy will design and develop unique personalised learning content delivered through a digital platform, using “real world” scenarios to increase employability of learners through automatically generated work portfolios that can be attached to the user’s CV.
Zoe Wallace, director of Agent Academy, said:
“The accelerating development of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, is expected to have a more dramatic impact on people’s jobs in almost every sector. We want to transform retraining and upskilling to prepare adults for the changing world of work.
“Over the past six years Agent Academy’s various programmes have served hundreds of learners to gain the skills and experience to move into the digital sector, generating over £2.7 million in annual salaries; it is individually empowering and transformational for the industry. Now, we are creating a platform to achieve these outcomes at scale.
“We want this to be the platform of choice nationally, for learners to get the skills and support needed to make the switch from an at-risk career into a digital and creative career.”
The funding has been awarded as part of the Department for Education and Nesta’s CareerTech Challenge, supporting the National Retraining Scheme, in which grants were offered to those who could devise innovative solutions to support people who will be hit the hardest by an insecure job market over the coming years.
Through the platform, users will have the opportunity to work on real client challenges set by high profile brands, which they will be able to add to their portfolio, helping improve their chances of employment.
Ksenia Zheltoukhova, Nesta’s Executive Director of People and Performance said
“In these unprecedented times we want to help people understand which skills will be in demand in the future, and learn new skills to secure employment. We are excited to work with Agent Academy who already have demonstrable track record in delivering quality courses for the marketing profession, and support them to provide their innovative programmes to a new audience.”
User engagement, consultation and design has begun, with the new digital platform set to launch this summer. To register for early access, visit http://www.agentacademy.org.uk/switch/.