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: Create your own future

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 Saffron Interactive one of the innovations shortlisted for the £5.75 million CareerTech Challenge.

Saffron Interactive’s passion is to create digital experiences which puts learners first, and in doing so, changes behaviour and increases performance. Our motto is “To transform; not inform”. From behaviour-changing games to game-changing behaviour, our digital learning experiences use the aesthetics and emotive power of great websites, movies and games that learners love. This is essential in creating a sense of ownership over new behaviours and new values.

We evaluate our own learning, both internally and independently by organisations such as the Learning and Work institute, Exeter University, Kings College London and the Brand Commission. We are regulated and accredited by the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), and we are ranked in the Top 15 Highest Performing Learning Technologies Providers globally.

We have used the funding from Career Tech Challenge to enhance a digital skills assessment diagnostic that we previously created for unionlearn, the training arm of the Trade Union Congress. Learners can choose one of four video bots to guide them through an understanding of their motivations and barriers. Learners complete a skills assessment that matches their strengths to job profiles. Personalised learning pathways and help building an action plan encourage completion and behavioural nudges along the way, form the overall journey together with reflection points. Softs skills as well as accredited qualifications are provided through the journey, which also takes account of learners that may have learning difficulties or learning disabilities. Voice and text recognition and AI power the video bot conversations to allow learners to have a mentor conversation but also seek human help through Union Learning Representatives and the National Careers Service.


Learn more about Create Your Own Future

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We have translated the original programme we developed for unionlearn into 10 European languages in addition to English, due to demand. This has increased reach to those that don't have English as their mother tongue and has had an amazing impact in relation to career adaptability with qualitative and quantitative data indicating changing of job roles by participants alongside motivation to take up and complete new courses.

“After the session I realised my job wasn’t right for me and my hopes for the future. 6 months on I’m in an amazing new role that is allowing me to grow in a new direction.”


The Create Your Own Future programme has been created with learners for learners. Over 200 focus group members have contributed to the design of the programme and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition, data analytics built into the platform will be able to analyse and aggregate learner journeys to give a true picture of motivation, challenges, behaviour and learning decisions. This enables real-time and detailed information in relation to the impact of this programme but also informs any new programme delivery with real evidence.


of reviewees said the platform results would lead to them doing things differently


of users said the tool helped them be more confident about the skills they had

COVID-19 has created a short time delay of a few weeks. The programme started late initially and filming for the video bots had to be extended to take account of travel restrictions, PPE and deep cleaning. Focus group sessions all had to be done by video call. However, the modifications have been minor, everyone involved has been resilient and we believe that the programme is better for it!

The platform officially launches on 6 November 2020 on the unionlearn website, and we will be able to monitor the real-time impact of the programme over the next six months and into the future, making necessary adjustments to increase impact through analysis of the learner journeys.

For more information on Create Your Own Future, please contact [email protected].

Website: www.saffroninteractive.com

Twitter: @SaffronInt


Noorie Sazen

Director, Saffron Interactive

Liz North

Liz North

Liz North

Programme Manager

Liz was the Programme Manager for the CareerTech Challenge Fund.

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