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.

Help us to get online courses to people who need them

The country is now in recession. It’s the deepest recession on record and the outlook is bleak. Protecting employment is necessary, with some individuals moving jobs and others changing careers entirely. To do so, some will need to upskill.

Nesta recently declared that a Lifetime Skills Guarantee is the right long-term aspiration, but more needs to be done in the short term to help adults to find out what their skills are, and how to use them to find different jobs or even careers.

More than six million people in the UK are currently employed in occupations that are likely to change radically or disappear entirely by 2030.

Precarious to Prepared, Nesta 2019

This is where the CareerTech Challenge comes in. Since April 2020, we have been working with innovators to test, develop and launch exciting new digital learning platforms. These platforms use innovative technology to keep learners engaged and build career resilience, for example using machine learning to predict where a learner might get stuck, or gamification to keep a learner engaged and rewarded in the learning journey.

It’s now time to open up these platforms to get more people learning and we need your help! Do you have employees, members, friends and/or relatives who are interested in exploring a new career or upskilling themselves?

  • Individual learners can sign up to nine of the eleven learning platforms via the links below.
  • Organisations with groups or cohorts of learners (such as employees, union members, adult students) can get in touch with us to discuss partnering to trial platforms.

We are particularly looking for learners who are over the age of 25, in England, who do not have a degree and are employed, furloughed or recently made redundant from a role that could be replaced by automation.

A snapshot of the platforms

Looking to improve your Maths or English skills?

  • The Citizen Literacy App uses high technology for low literacy learners, with short lessons and interactive speaking, listening and writing tools to help the learner form words. The learner can go from low literacy to forming short sentences within hours!
  • Century for Professionals offers short bursts of courses and games in English and Maths.

Need to improve your CV and brush up on the skills for the digital workplace?

  • Career Skills for the 2020s is a four-week, self-paced course that helps learners to identify and build their skills to navigate the online world of work.

Want to understand what skills you already have and how to take them a step further?

  • Create Your Own Future, developed by Saffron Interactive with the TUC and unionlearn, uses the Value My Skills card game to help an individual understand their current skills, attributes and goals, before suggesting career options and training in a personalised learning pathway.
  • Game Academy's new platform, launching in December, helps individuals understand the skills they have built through video gameplay, and how these can be translated and upskilled in real life.

Or want to change career entirely?

  • Leap by Agent Academy is an interactive platform which teaches digital skills for the marketing profession. Learners can work through real-world inspired client briefs and challenges, which translate into a portfolio to be added to the learner's CV.
  • Digital Mums is an award winning bootcamp and collaborative learning service teaching social marketing and digital skills for the workplace.
  • GI-CAST from The Open University, launching in January 2021, teaches cybersecurity skills in eight interactive games to adults.

Businesses can benefit from any of the above solutions for employees, or may be interested in our innovators specifically designed for workplace use:

  • DigiLearn from Sopra Steria and ELATT is a new platform designed to teach workplace skills through personalised learning.
  • Connectr is MyKindaFuture’s employee business skills and mentoring platforms available to businesses to deploy to their staff.
  • Wizardly, delivered by Wizenoze with Cell-Ed, provides a wrap-around support and learning platform for employees to start their learning journey.

To find out more, please email us at [email protected].

Nesta is also leading the Rapid Recovery Challenge, and will announce the twelve financial and job recovery finalists in December. These will contribute further to improving employment opportunities by providing pathways to responsible financial assistance and jobs.

Of course, in times of hardship it is even more important to look after yourself and others. Mental Health at Work provides a wealth of links to resources that can help.


Liz North

Liz North

Liz North

Programme Manager

Liz was the Programme Manager for the CareerTech Challenge Fund.

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Emma Selinger

Emma Selinger

Emma Selinger

Assistant Programme Manager

Emma was an Assistant Programme Manager for the CareerTech Challenge.

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Sarah Mcloughlin

Sarah Mcloughlin

Sarah Mcloughlin

Senior Programme Manager

Sarah was a Senior Programme Manager.

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