The UK government will fund up to £23 million in AI and data conversion courses to help create more opportunities for disadvantaged communities.
In an effort to help young people from underrepresented communities, such as women, people of color, and people with disabilities, the UK government will create up to 2,000 scholarships specifically for masters AI conversion courses.
This initiative aims to encourage young people to boost their skills in order to enter the AI industry that is shaping the future of work. By creating these scholarships, new jobs within AI can lead to the development of more businesses, thus boosting the country’s economy.
The UK ranks third in private venture capital investment into AI firms and also hosts one-third of Europe’s AI companies.
“The UK is one of the world’s most advanced AI economies, with AI already playing a key role in everything from climate science and medical diagnostics to factory robotics and smart cities,” said George Freeman, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. “It is therefore essential that we continue to equip our workforce with the skills they need in this important technology, while also making the industry accessible to talented people from all backgrounds.”
The initial round of AI conversion courses was launched in 2019 and supported by 28 universities across England.
Among the diverse students that gained access to AI and data science courses, 76% were women, while 45% of scholarship recipients were Black and 24% had disabilities.
The industry has rarely consisted of diverse voices and perspectives, and the UK’s focus on providing underrepresented groups to this type of education will inevitably help enhance the country’s AI and data science development.