About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

This event has now taken place, and you can view the recordings below. Please note, we will be adding subtitles soon.

More than six million people in the UK are currently employed in occupations that are likely to change radically or disappear entirely by 2030. Even before the pandemic hit, the development of new technologies, demographic shifts, and an increasingly globalised economy were already driving changes in the demand for different types of skills. How can we harness technology to ensure workers can adapt to and navigate an ever-changing labour market over the coming decades?

This event was an interactive half-day to unpack the ways in which innovation can help people to navigate the changing world of work. Based on learnings from CareerTech Challenge - a funding initiative to support organisations to test and develop online adult learning and career advice for those at risk of losing their jobs due to automation - we showcased our platforms and research, inviting experts to discuss key issues facing workers in the future, and announcing the winner and runner-up of the CareerTech Challenge Prize.

This event was open to anyone who wanted to explore ways in which innovation can help solve a piece of the labour market puzzle:

  • Policymakers who are looking for new approaches that can inform the design of employment and skills policy.
  • Employers who are interested in the different ways they can support their employees who may be at risk of role changes.
  • Adult learning and career guidance providers who are interested in gaining insights into new ways to read the labour market and provide targeted information to customers.
  • Investors looking for new products and ideas that support workers to navigate the labour market.
  • Subject matter experts who want to find out about our research findings, and gain a deeper understanding of the practical implications.

09.30 - 09.50 | Welcome from Nesta & Gillian Keegan MP

Hear from Tris Dyson, Managing Director of Nesta Challenges, alongside a short video welcome from Gillian Keegan Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills.

09.50 - 10.15 | Why radical change is needed to support precarious workers. Nesta Talks to Tracy Fishwick OBE

Tracy is a passionate advocate for putting people and communities at the heart of policy, having helped over 8,000 young people into work and receiving her OBE for services to unemployed people in the North-West. In this session, Tracy will discuss the future of employment and skills in the UK for precarious workers, and key policy asks, technology and digital platforms to aid this.


Tracy Fishwick OBE

10.15 - 10.55 | 1A: Learning remotely: evidencing what works for adult online learning

Hear from a range of speakers about how to evidence the difference online learning makes for adult learners, including what we have learned so far about what motivates adults to learn. The session will offer practical advice on how to approach the evaluation of online interventions, drawing from the direct experiences of innovators.


Fay Sadro - Head of Evidence and Evaluation, Learning & Work Institute

Diane Gardiner, Head of Applied Research in Adult Literacy - City of Glasgow College

10:15 - 10:55 | 1B: Designing tech for the future of work: how to apply human-led service design into your digital solution

Service design agency Livework has spent the past nine months working with CareerTech Challenge innovators to apply a human-led service design approach in their projects. In this session, they will share their reflections on designing services for diverse groups of users, and learnings for engaging with users in the context of COVID-19.


Clara Llamas - Senior Service Design Consultant, Livework Studio

Anna van der Togt - Senior Service Design Consultant, Livework Studio

11.10 - 11.50 | 2A: Skills to thrive: designing online learning that builds people’s confidence

The CareerTech Challenge set out to increase individuals' motivation to learn and their career adaptability - their concern, curiosity, commitment, control and confidence to thrive. How important are these skills? What other skills are needed to navigate today's labour market? How can online learning be designed to capitalise on people's capabilities and give them agency?


Olivia Chapman - Senior Programme Manager, Nesta

Alice Mathers - Head of Research, Good Things Foundation

Nick Bennet - Head of Business Transformation, Hyper Island

Nick Dalton - Consultant and former Executive Vice President H.R. Business

Transformation, Unilever

11:10 - 11:50 | 2B: Career Transitions: innovating with labour market data

To help workers at risk navigate their way to better jobs, it’s crucial we open up and share relevant data. Join us to discuss the latest developments in the world of labour market data. What are the next opportunities, and how can we make the most of them? What are the barriers to innovation, and what can governments, researchers and innovators be doing to overcome them?


Dr Cath Sleeman - Head of Data Discovery, Nesta

Danil Mikhailov - Executive Director, Data.org

Dr Fiona Aldridge - Director for Policy and Research, Learning & work Institute

11.50 - 12.00 | CareerTech Challenge Prize: Winner & Runner-up announcement

Ravi Gurumurthy, Nesta’s CEO, will announce the winner and runner-up for the CareerTech Challenge Prize, which seeks to award the digital solution that best uses labour market information to support people to make better-informed decisions about their future careers.