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Government-industry deal to create thousands of AI graduates

A nationwide programme of industry-funded artificial intelligence training courses has been launched in the UK to drive up skills in next-generation industrial technologies.

Thousands of graduates will become qualified experts in AI as part of the package, which will see specialist Masters courses coupled with work-based placements.


The programme includes up to 200 new AI Masters places at UK universities funded by companies such as BAE Systems, Google’s DeepMind and tech giant Cisco. A further 1,000 students will have the opportunity to enhance their skills with new PhDs, and up to 5 AI research fellowships will be created to attract and retain the best research talent from around the world.


The move is part of the government’s drive to be a world-leader in harnessing the benefits of AI and the data revolution, as part of its AI and Data Grand Challenge.


According to BAE Systems, a number of AI-related roles will become prominent in the manufacturing sector over coming decades, such as:

  • ‘Systems Farmers’ capable of growing mechanical parts from chemical processes
  • ‘Human E-Sources Managers’ who can harness wearable technologies to measure employees’ wellbeing
  • ‘AI Translators’ who can mediate between human and robotic co-workers.


The manufacturer’s own research indicates that more than two thirds of Generation Z want to future-proof their careers by becoming familiar with these emerging technologies.


Dr Rhys Morgan, Director, Education and Engineering at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:


“It’s a really exciting time for emerging technologies in engineering. It’s crucial young people develop the skills that will be needed to accelerate this industry change in the coming decades.


“While working with AI and wearables [technologies] may not be commonplace at the moment, it’s fair to say that in 20 or 30 years’ time the UK will need engineers who are well-versed in these technologies.”


Nick Colosimo, Principal Technologist at BAE Systems, added:


“Technology and innovation are central to our business and we rely on the very best engineering talent to develop innovative and efficient solutions for our customers.


“We need to do more to help nurture young talent in the UK and highlight the future opportunities available to them. These young people are essential in ensuring that the UK remains a leader in technology, engineering and manufacturing for decades to come.”


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