CareerTech Challenge Prize

Supporting digital solutions that enable adults to plan their future careers

What was the CareerTech Challenge Prize?

The CareerTech Challenge Prize was a £1.2 million programme to develop data-driven solutions which help people understand the labour market and plan their future careers. It was part of the CareerTech Challenge, a £5.75 million partnership between Nesta, Nesta Challenges and the Department for Education to improve people’s working lives and unlock employment opportunities for the future.

The Prize sought digital solutions to improve access to the information and guidance people need to pursue fulfilling careers.

What did we do?

We provided £1.2 million and tailored packages of expert support for the development of digital solutions which improve career information, advice and guidance. Solutions combined innovative uses and sources of labour market information (LMI) to make high-quality, localised advice and guidance more accessible.

Why did we do this?

More than six million people in the UK are employed in occupations likely to change radically or disappear entirely by 2030. This trend is exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with changes felt more acutely by those already in low-paid, insecure work and disproportionately affecting women and Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.

Without urgent action we risk widening existing inequalities and people being trapped in insecure, low paid employment or forced out of work altogether.

By backing digital innovations that support workers to learn new skills or provide careers’ guidance, we wanted to learn more about what’s effective in online adult learning and how labour market information can be used in innovative ways.

An estimated 10-35% of UK jobs...

are at high risk of replacement in the next 20 years

More than six million people in the UK...

are employed in occupations likely to change radically or disappear entirely by 2030, a trend exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic

A prolonged lockdown could result in...

6.5 million people losing their jobs; of these workers, nearly 80% do not have a university degree

Winner & runner-up

Bob - Winner

Bob is an automated online coach that gets crucial, life-changing employment advice to people who need it, quickly, easily and for free. Developed by non-profit Bayes Impact, Bob helps users understand how their skills can fit with those required by employers.

Would You Rather Be - Runner-up

Would You Rather Be is an AI-power app to help people find career happiness. Users answer 10 minutes of quick-fire questions, and the platform calculates the careers they’d thrive in and presents them with hyper-personalised pathways into each.


Adzuna CareerPaths is a digital solution that helps job seekers explore new career development opportunities based on their current skill set. The tool identifies potential for upskilling and/or retraining into sectors that will likely flourish over the coming decades.

The Bob UK project wants to create an AI-powered platform to provide tailored careers advice. The platform will turn data from relevant sources into actionable insights for job seekers. It links the information provided by the individual with practical advice and concrete resources, making the information actionable and relevant to a person’s situation.

The CareerEar community-focused platform will be transformed into a data driven tool. Individuals will be able to explore tailored content, ask questions and access career opportunities from events and training programmes. Using big data, CareerEar will highlight to individuals if they are in or pursuing at-risk job functions and industries, assess individuals’ skills and enable them to understand the transferability of their skills. 

CiCi is a chatbot providing a personalised, guided career journey experience for adults aged 24-65 in ‘at risk’ or low skilled jobs in Bristol, Derby and Newcastle. It offers informed, local contextual and national labour market information, including specific course/training opportunities, and job vacancies. CareerChat incorporates advanced AI technologies, database applications and Natural Language Processing. It allows users to reflect, explore and access to new learning and work opportunities.

Digital Pathways will take career explorers through career pathways which bridge the disconnect between what skills people currently have, and what the labour market demands. Using a combination of automation and direct interactions, while monitoring progress, effectiveness and potentially generating new LMI, Digital Pathways will funnel people along pathways into the careers of the future.

Digital Skills Bursts (miFuture) will bring more skills learning to more people, more of the time. 49% of men and 48% of women regularly play mobile games, gaming suits our intuitive digital behaviour and requires minimal smartphone literacy to adopt.

FutureFit AI is the AI-powered GPS for your career in the age of AI and automation. Leveraging real-time labour market data and over 300 million talent profiles globally, it locates your starting point in terms of skills and strengths, recommends target careers, analyses your skill gap, maps potential pathways to get there, and guides you along the way. 

Learnisa is an AI-powered platform that makes personalised recommendations of online courses. By intelligently profiling a learner, Learnisa conducts a smart matching process to recommend the most suitable courses to learners. With Learnisa, learners can avoid lengthy and ambiguous searches for courses, and invest time and money on learning the right content. 

My Careers Journey (Grofar) is an accessible career exploration tool that provides tracking and planning of an individual’s careers journey. By producing an interactive financial roadmap, the thought-provoking app drives individuals to ‘play’ with their careers journey, exploring different career paths, aims and ambitions.

The Heart of the South West LEP Digital Skills Partnership and Skilllab B.V. are developing a solution to bring Skilllab’s mobile app to assist mature workers in Devon whose roles may be at risk through automation. Through the app, which links to supplementary learning, we hope to re-set and re-frame mature workers to access the increasingly digitised world of work.

Emsi is creating a set of ‘skills clusters’ defining different common job roles in skill terms bottom-up from job postings activity. The clusters will help individuals to identify their own skills, to see what career pathways those skills open up, and to identify the skills gap to achieve their career ambitions.

SkillsTree works out the best skills for those struggling to find a job to learn, and how to learn them to maximise their employment prospects. SkillsTree builds a personalised learning path based on an individual’s location, the skills they currently have, the time they have available to learn, and the sort of job they are after. Its skills recommendations are based on the latest data from jobs across the UK and personalised to each user. 

Sort/Switch provides an end-to-end service helping users understand the skills they already have, discover potential career paths that might be compatible with them now or with further training, understand which options are available in growth industries in their area, access advice, support, and training and finally, apply for relevant opportunities.

Sparq is a digital advice and guidance (IAG) platform accessible by two end users: information, advice and guidance providers; and beneficiaries. Using machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP), Sparq helps nudge people into new career pathways, break down barriers to accessing economic opportunities, and disrupt the job-seeking journey.

Stay Nimble is a tech social enterprise with the vision that everyone is empowered to find their purpose in the new world of work, equipped to escape in-work poverty and prepared for the 4th industrial revolution.

Wordnerds will use cutting-edge text analysis to help bridge the chasm of miscommunication between employers and their potential employees. Standard Labour Market Information (LMI) fails to capture the nuance of soft skill requirements, and yet this is the information that those with few qualifications need the most.   

Workerbird aims to help everyone find a happier working life. People use the platform to understand their working patterns, relationship to work and to be empowered with their own data.  It will develop features to support workers open to learning about other career options, provide workers with relevant information about the local labour market, training and upskilling so they can make informed decisions about their futures. 

Would You Rather Be is on mission is to help people discover, get into and flourish in their dream career. It will be improving the career discovery engine with AI, using labour market information to build personalised pathways to help people into their preferred career and exploring other support people need to land their dream job.

Yuno is a mobile app connecting a hugely underserved section of the UK workforce with upskilling opportunities. Workers create anonymous profiles by playing a simple card sorting game that tests for personality, interests, and values. This enables Yuno to provide highly personalized and locally relevant career recommendations as well as to connect workers with employers willing to train them. 

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The team

Rhys Herriott

Programme Manager

Nassin Watson

Assistant Programme Manager

Constance Agyeman

Director of International Development

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