The Flexible AI Upskilling Fund pilot aims to increase AI adoption and productivity by incentivising greater employer-led investment in skills and training.

Evidence shows that a lack of AI skills in businesses is hindering AI adoption, in part due to low investment in AI upskilling in UK businesses, particularly in smaller companies. The scheme will, therefore, support small and medium-sized enterprises in the Professional and Business Services sector by match-funding AI skills training for their employees.

This pilot will test whether training SMEs in AI maximises the value of AI adoption. Specifically, whether government support in the form of match-funding is an effective way of increasing employer-led upskilling in AI, and whether increased skills translate into AI adoption and firm-level productivity benefits.

£6.4 million of grant funding is available in the financial year 2024-2025. Eligible business can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of AI skills training. This is training which supports employees to develop their technical skills and/or understanding of AI to be able to develop, deploy, or use AI in their role.

Applicants can bid for different funding amounts depending on the size of their business. 

  • Micro businesses with fewer than ten employees can access a maximum grant of £2,500.
  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees can access a maximum grant of £5,000.
  • Medium businesses with fewer than 250 employees can access a maximum grant of £10,000.

To be eligible to apply, SMEs must be registered and operating in the UK, employing between 1 and 249 employees. Businesses must have been operating for at least one year in the Professional and Business Services sector.

More details here.