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.

CareerTech Challenge: GI-CAST

CareerTech Challenge is an ambitious innovation programme led by Nesta and Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Department for Education.

The programme focuses on stimulating new solutions for precarious workers, such as workers in low-paid, insecure work that's susceptible to change, to upskill and retrain online. It also focuses on improving access to accurate data-driven information, advice and guidance to help these people find work. In this project update, we hear from The Open University one of the innovations shortlisted for the £5.75 million CareerTech Challenge.

The Open University is an expert in distance and online learning. Combining this with its industry and academic experience in cyber security education, this project will demystify cybersecurity, giving learners confidence to engage with the digital world and gain further skills to enhance their career options in the changing economy.

This project will adapt a current OpenLearn cyber-security course to a Gamified Intelligent Cyber Aptitude and Skills Training Course (GI-CAST). Alongside gamification, GI-CAST will use learner behaviour analytics to personalise learning and increase learner motivation. The course is accredited by the National Cyber Security Centre and is supported by Cisco Networking Academy.

GI-CAST pre-registration

Pre-register for the course now

Citizen Literacy App

Open University has conducted initial user testing on the minecraft style game elements of their cyber security course and are now in the final development and testing stages for the course. Feedback from the initial testing process was positive, with useful suggestions about how to improve UI and content display.

“The game flow was organic and was easier. Felt comfortable to use.”

Course user tester

Open University has also secured the support of key stakeholders DWP, Stay Nimble and Shaw Trust. They will support OU to recruit learners across England to take part in the course through a coordinated marketing campaign.

As distance learning experts, OU and OpenLearn have been in high demand as remote learning became the norm this year. OU has successfully rearranged project timelines and user testing cycles, and capitalised on its partnership with Stay Nimble, to accommodate for project staff being involved in other COVID-related workstreams.

Between now and the end of March, OU will be bringing together the games and content, running final user testing sessions in December, and then launching the finished platform on OpenLearn in January.

OU and their partners will also be recruiting learners onto the platform, and analysing learner behaviour in order to assess the effectiveness of the course in improving learner motivation and career adaptability.

For more information, email [email protected].


Chitra Balakrishna

Programme Leader, Cyber Security, Open University

Emma Selinger

Emma Selinger

Emma Selinger

Assistant Programme Manager

Emma was an Assistant Programme Manager for the CareerTech Challenge.

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