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SMEs in the professional and business services sector are being encouraged to apply for match-funding to provide AI skills training for their employees.

Evidence shows that businesses who adopt AI are more likely to be successful, yet digital and data skills gaps are recorded to cost UK businesses up to 8.5% of revenue.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has allocated a £6.4 million funding pot to subsidise the cost of AI skills training for SMEs in the professional business services sector.

Eligible businesses can apply for funding for up to 50% of the cost of AI skills training and other AI upskilling activities. 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.

Successful applicants must be able to complete delivery of training and submit invoices for reimbursement via grant funding by February 2025. The deadline for applications is May 31.

Applicants can apply for a maximum amount of funding depending on the size of their business. 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.

Funding is for the delivery of AI skills training and will not cover the cost of buying AI technologies, consulting, recruitment, work placement or internship salaries or capital expenditure.

More information can be found online on the gov.uk webpage.