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Flexible AI Upskilling Fund

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What is the grant available for?

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) recently announced a £7.4 million pilot scheme to subsidise the cost of AI skills training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Professional Business Services (PBS) sector. £6.4 million of grant funding is available.

Through this pilot programme, eligible businesses can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of AI skills training. This refers to training which supports employees to develop their technical skills and/or understanding of AI to be able to develop, deploy, or use AI in their role.


Evidence shows that a lack of AI skills in businesses is hindering AI adoption, in part due to low investment in AI upskilling by UK businesses. This is particularly true in smaller companies. The Flexible AI Upskilling Fund pilot scheme aims to increase AI adoption and productivity by incentivising greater employer-led investment in skills and training.  

Specifically, the pilot has the following objectives: 

  1. To stimulate employer investment in AI training
  2. To address AI skills gaps in the UK workforce limiting AI adoption
  3. To measure the impact of AI upskilling on business productivity and outcomes

Percentage of project cost


Any eligibility criteria

Please note that applications from consortiums will not be accepted. Each application must be submitted by an applicant representing an individual business. Only accept one application per business. 

To be eligible to apply, a business must meet all of the following criteria: 

  • be registered and operate in the UK
  • be in existence for at least one year
  • employ between 1-249 employees in the UK
  • be defined as an SME per the BEIS SME action plan: 2022 to 2025
  • have been operating for at least 1 year at the time of application
  • operate in the Professional and Business Services sector as defined by the following Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. Where a business has multiple SIC codes, they are eligible as long as at least one of the SIC codes is included in the table found on this page

What grant amounts are available?

Applicants can apply for a maximum amount of funding depending on the size of their business, set out in the table below. The aim of the scheme is to subsidize the cost of AI skills training up to a ratio of 1:1. For example, a small-sized business can apply for up to £5,000 of grant funding to pay for 50% of AI skills training which costs £10,000. If the training cost £8,000, the applicant could only apply for £4,000 of grant funding.

Business size Headcount Turnover Balance sheet total Maximum grant funding available (per applicant)
Micro Under 10 Under €2 million Under €2 million £2,500
Small Under 50 Under €10 million Under €10 million £5,000
Medium Under 250 Under €50 million Under €43 million £10,000

To ensure a robust evaluation, our aim is to fund a range of businesses across the micro, small and medium-sized business categories, so DSIT may limit the total number of businesses that can be awarded funding in each size category. The maximum amount of funding available per individual applicant will remain as stated above. If, over the course of the pilot, there are not sufficient businesses applying in one or another category, we will look to reallocate funding to the other categories.

Who provides the grant?

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

How to apply for the grant?

To find out more or to submit your application, click here.

Additional information

Closing Date: 18/08/2024

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