Innovations to pave the way for future employment

Nesta and England’s Department for Education support innovations to pave the way for future employment in a changing workforce. Skilllab’s proposal selected as a finalist.

In a joint proposal, the Heart of the South West LEP and Skilllab B.V. were selected as one of the 20 finalists in the NESTA CareerTechChallenge Prize. The partners bring Skilllab’s technology into the hands of individuals in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay, in the Heart of the South West of England

To better tackle the threat posed to the workforce by an increasing degree of automation and the economic circumstances following the Corona crisis, individual skill profiles generated by Skilllab’s technology will be automatically linked to the most suitable training offerings from the region.

The CareerTech Challenge

The solutions being funded through the CareerTech Challenge are designed to support people who will be hit the hardest by an insecure job market over the coming years. This includes those without a degree, and working in sectors such as retail, manufacturing, construction and transport.

Nesta research 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 ageing, urbanisation and the rise of the green economy. 

In the nearer-term, 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. (Source: Nesta Challenges via

The joint work over the next 9 months

A particular focus in the joint work over the next 9 month lies on the upskilling of the mature workforce.

“By 2046, 1 in 4 people in the UK will be 65 years old and over. The Heart of the South West has almost reached this ratio. Coupled with this we know that 20% of our mature workforce (50 to 64-year-olds) have a low level of formally accredited, and 12% of this age range have no accredited skills. What these individuals do have however is a vast amount of practical experience and a rich set of soft skills which we can support to access new roles through skills identification, recognition of comparable experiences and digital upskilling.“ says Charlotte Collyer, the Heart of the South West LEP’s Digital Skills Partnership lead.

Selected learners will be able to trial the Skilllab mobile app to explore which jobs match their experiences, create automatic CV’s and link their skills gap to an  individual skill-profile which will automatically be matched to available course offering.

“We are excited to work together with The Heart of the South West LEP over the next months. We are united in the ambition to bring the greatest value to those individuals who need our support and service the most. The learnings and insights generated shall serve numerous individuals beyond the scope of the challenge. Never have technological solutions been needed more” adds Christoph Bretgeld, Skilllab’s Director of Strategy.

All finalist teams in the CareerTech Challenge profit from funding, intense support and various services made available by Nesta.

About the Heart of the Southwest:

The Heart of the South West LEP Digital Skills Partnership is one of six trailblazing pilots sponsored by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport. The Digital Skills Partnership is responsible for coordinating and delivering a digital strategy that raises digital skills for the community, working to eradicate social and geographical imbalances to ensure everyone has access to digital services. The partnership also focuses on workplace mobility; ensuring the right digital training is available for young people, those outside of the workforce, work returners, employees looking to retrain and supports a workplace where the regions highly skilled digital employees can continue to learn.

About Skilllab:

With Skilllab’s mobile application, users identify and document their skills fast and explore occupations they could pursue as well as educational options available. Through the granularity of the skill assessment (building on taxonomies like the ESCO framework), it is possible to capture a users’ experience in detail, match their skills to every occupation and show missing skills that would increase employability.

The detailed skill assessment is enabled through Skilllab’s award-winning AI-based assessment engine, which guides the user through an interview process to capture all skills performed and knowledge used in prior experiences. Through its deep learning ability, the AI-based assessment engine naturally improves and further adapts itself to the situation. 

On the basis of their skill profiles, users can explore their occupation matches and further understand their fit into the local labour market. To further empower users to pursue employment, the mobile application can generate CVs as well as job application materials as PDF files.

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash