Flexible AI upskilling fund pilot – open for applications

Melanie Richardson


The flexible AI upskilling fund pilot scheme is designed to support SMEs in the professional and business services sector by match funding AI skills training for their employees. The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology recently announced a £7.4 million pilot scheme, which aims to subsidise the cost of AI skills training for small and medium sized enterprises in the professional business services sector.


Eligible businesses can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of AI skills training. This covers 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.

Funding will be provided by DSIT in the financial year of April 2024 to March 2025. Successful applicants must be able to complete delivery of training and submit invoices for reimbursement via grant funding by February 2025.

How much is 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 subsidise 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.

Eligibility criteria

Applications will not be accepted from consortiums. Each application must be submitted by an applicant representing an individual business. Only 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 below. This list is exhaustive

Action required

Applications should be submitted HERE by 23:59 on 18 August 2024

For more information on how the grants must be spent please see the link


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