WorkerTech newsletter: January 2022

The latest update from Resolution Ventures


Did you know that more than one in three people working in hospitality and retail would consider switching careers after the pandemic? According to a poll conducted by Learning and Work Institute for their 2021 report, Fast Forward, workers in these sectors are thinking about a new career path. This type of career switching is likely to increase due to longer term labour market trends and disruption caused by the crisis. However, to achieve this, workers are going to need to learn new skills in new ways.

Luckily for us, one of our WorkerTech partners is an expert in putting tech to work in the name of skills and training for jobs. This month Ufi VocTech Trust has guest authored a piece to tell us about why it matters, recent innovation in the sector, and their current VocTech Seed Fund, offering up to £50,000.

As always, if you’re working on innovation in the skills and training sector and we haven’t been in touch yet, please drop us an email.

Emma Selinger
Ventures Manager
Resolution Ventures

P.S. Next month we’ll be talking about the gig economy. Content suggestions welcome!

Supporting new ideas to develop skills for work
from Thomas Heiser, Head of Communications at Ufi VocTech Trust

At Ufi VocTech Trust we’re firm believers that access to effective, flexible and ongoing skills development is essential for us all to prosper at work, especially with an evolving labour market and cost of living crisis.

We also believe that digital technology has an essential role to play in helping develop new tools and approaches to learning for work.

At Ufi we call these digital tools Vocational Technologies (VocTech), and we support their development through grant fundinginvestment and advocacy. To date we’ve helped more than 200 organisations develop their ideas and provided more than £20m in grant funding.

From artificial intelligence helping students get to grips with studying at college to game-based apps for teaching dentistry, and AR to support engineers, vocational technology is helping people obtain skills and knowledge for work more effectively and with greater access.

To give you an idea about what we fund, here are some skills and training solutions from both Ufi’s and Resolution Ventures’ portfolio:

  • Game based learning – a game based digital learning tool developed by the British Hospitality Industry to train workers on key health and safety procedures.
  • Learnerbly – a platform that encourages self-directed learning by empowering employees with personal learning budgets and a personal development plan, guiding them to resources based on what and how they want to learn.
  • SonicJobs – a mobile app that helps jobseekers recognise the skills that they have, find and apply for relevant high-quality jobs, and develop new skills to improve their employability and career progression.
  • Upskill Me –  an app that allows young people to earn points towards digital-skills badges and showcase their achievements, helping them to develop life skills that will set them apart for their future careers

While we’ve seen the huge impact digital tech can have on transforming skills for work, we also understand that developing these new tools can be hard. That’s where our VocTech Seed grant fund comes in. Designed specifically to support early-stage ideas, VocTech Seed provides grants of between £15,000 and £50,000 and a supportive environment where the first spark of an idea can be scoped and tested, helping prototype ideas and work out the next steps necessary on the journey to long term success

Applications for the current grant funding round close on the 9th February and our pre-application workshops are filling up fast. So if you’ve been quietly cultivating an idea, why not see if VocTech Seed could help you bring it to life?

To find out more about the grant fund, visit

Latest insights from the Resolution Foundation

  • Changing jobs? – A report on the nature and speed of change in the UK’s labour market, highlighting workers’ experiences as they have lived through these changes. Young workers and lower paid workers are the most mobile. However, labour market change brings both positives (greater pay growth) and downsides (higher rates of involuntary job loss) for these workers.
  • Labour Market Outlook Q4 2021 – Although unemployment has remained close to pre-crisis level, stagnant wages and a cost of living crisis due to rising energy prices and tax rises are causes for concern in the coming year. The Government has two options: provide some relief via the tax or benefit system; or directly limit the increase in energy bills on a temporary basis.
  • Social insecurity – How well is the UK’s social security system for working-age households equipped to meet the challenges of slow growth in living standards and high inequality? This report finds it struggling to support workers adequately, and in need of much reform to meet the scale and nature of the challenges ahead.

Workertech stories

ShareAction’s Workforce Disclosure Initiative now has half of the FTSE 100 responding to investor calls for workforce data. The initiative provides investors with details of companies’ working conditions, including pay, job security and diversity practices. It’s positive to see increasing investor interest in workforce practices as another way to influence employers to improve conditions, especially for such large employers with global reputations.

Co-operatives UK explores how cooperatives can offer young people better job security, mental health, control over their working lives and peace of mind about their personal data. Platform co-ops – co-ops that are run digitally – are springing up to provide people with more fulfilling jobs and better working conditions. Successes include InFact Digital Co-op, an agency creating apps, websites and digital tools, and Wings, an ethical food delivery app.

Nesta’s Future Signals covers the future of funding diverse talent, finding that there are an increasing number of VCs founded by diverse teams, who are in turn funding diverse founders, especially in the US. However, there is still a long way to go in the UK with 68% of VC funding in the past decade having gone to all-male founding teams. Our own September 2021 newsletter on WorkerTech and diversity covered pioneering funds and WorkerTech solutions which tackle some of these issues.

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