WorkerTech newsletter: May 2024

The latest update from Resolution Ventures


I am bringing you this month’s newsletter, as Emma Selinger has now left the Resolution Ventures team and has headed off to join the brilliant folks at Fair4All Finance. We wish her well!

We’re also heading into a General Election, which means my colleagues at the Resolution Foundation are working hard to bring you lots of analysis of what’s really going on in the country. Keep an eye on all the Resolution Foundation’s Election 2024 information here, and do register for a pre-election discussion of jobs and the labour market on Tuesday 25th June.

Best wishes,
Louise Marston
Director of Ventures

Main story

We were delighted to get a great group of applications for our pre-investment support programme this month. After careful review, we’ve selected three applications to take forward. Each of them will receive a grant of £1000 and six hours of mentoring support:

  • Rebecca Udoh is developing her idea for career matching for apprenticeships with Empower Entry.
  • Sarah Hayford is developing Jornada to help organise work experience programmes in startups and scaleups for schools.
  • Isaac Akintaro is developing Lahab, an AI platform providing personalised career guidance and CV optimisation for underserved youth to access STEM careers.

Look out to hear more from them in the months to come. We also hope to run this programme again in the autumn, so will let you all know when applications open again.

Latest insights from the Resolution Foundation

Macroeconomic Policy Outlook Q2 2024 – One of the recent good news stories in the labour market has been the increase in real wages, which are up 2 per cent for the year to February. But these increases are despite worker productivity still falling. So how do we continue to pay for wage increases? This note assesses the challenges here, and finds that recent wage increases are affordable, but that we will need a return to productivity growth to continue this progress in the long term. And for the prescriptions for that, look no further than Ending Stagnation, the final report of the Economy 2030 Inquiry.

Paying the Price: The End of Inflation – What has the highest inflation in 40 years done to the UK economy? As the price of energy has risen 90% and food by 31% in the last 3 years, wages have also been affected in different ways. This report finds that the minimum wage has helped protect the lowest paid groups, and that real household incomes are down, but so is consumption – people are spending less and saving more in response to higher prices.

Upcoming Resolution Foundation events – The Resolution Foundation will be heading to Glasgow on Thursday 6th June to discuss how to boost prosperity across Scotland. Register here.

Our first election event, Is Britain Working? will take place on Tuesday 25th June – join us for a pre-election briefing on what’s happening with jobs and the labour market, either online or in person. Register here.

WorkerTech stories

Following their annual Jobs Frontier report earlier in the year, Ufi and Tyton Partners have published their latest quarterly look at technology and workforce development in their Q1 VocTech Market Activity report. This edition looks at the challenges of AI adoption and managing global remote workforces.

Impact and EdTech investors Ufi Ventures and BrightEye Ventures have collaborated on a new report looking at the need for green skills. Building a sustainable workforce: Greening the built environment outlines the roles and skills in demand, and the opportunities for venture businesses in this area.

Leading academic Darren Acemoglu has published a new article on the economic impacts of AI. While this is a pretty technical read, it’s worth looking back at his more accessible 2023 article for MIT’s Shaping the Future of Work initiative, ‘Can we have pro-worker AI?‘.

In this vein, the TUC has been hosting a series of workshops on how unions might use AI. Read the report of one of these sessions here.

Highlights from the Workertech portfolio:

Get involved

Apply for direct investment from Resolution Ventures. We accept applications from WorkerTech ventures on a rolling basis. Or you can book a slot in our office hours for an initial conversation.

Applications for the next Bethnal Green Ventures Tech for Good autumn programme will open on 10th June. Sign up now to get notified as soon as applications open, or book in a time to talk to the team about whether it’s right for you.

The Ufi VocTech Trust Challenge Impact Network + Grant Fund will open on 11 June 2024. This aims to fund technology-enabled solutions to three specific skills challenges: employer integration, pathways within and into work, and vocational language barriers. Successful applicants will receive between £200k and £250k. You can also register for their pre-application workshops.

Innovate UK are open for applications for their Women in Innovation award (£75,000) and Smart Awards. Both provide R&D funding grants to innovative companies. Those SMEs with existing investment commitments from approved investors can also seek grant funding through the Investor Partnerships awards.