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Government sets out AI training framework for business

The Alan Turing Institute’s AI Skills for Business Competency Guidance for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is now live

The government hopes new guidance from the Alan Turing Institute will provide useful information to help businesses upskill employees so they can use artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out tasks in the workplace, boosting productivity.

AI skills for business competency guidelines covers areas such as the use of AI to evaluate the performance of projects, and how to build the skills and techniques needed to solve issues as people work with AI. The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology said employees will be helped by employers and training providers to develop a deeper understanding of how their organisation works with AI, how they can further incorporate its use, and in turn what tools they need to tackle a particular task.

“From admin to accounting and a range of other aspects in a worker’s day-to-day role, the guidance will support employees to propose solutions and build a strong knowledge base to go from strength to strength as they work increasingly with AI.”

Minister for AI Viscount Camrose said: “Making sure workers up and down the country have the skills they need for their jobs with and in AI is a key part of our strategy in making the UK an AI powerhouse and ensuring the skills of our workforce keep pace with this rapidly developing technology.

“Having a workforce which is equipped to work alongside AI will drive growth for businesses and allow us to realise the enormous opportunities AI presents in every sector of our economy.”

Funded by the Innovate UK BridgeAI programme and developed by the Alan Turing Institute, the document provides a framework for businesses to work out what training staff will require to use AI in their job.

The framework sets out competencies that identify employees’ knowledge, skills and personal qualities required to navigate practical challenges and exhibit competency in life and their profession. It’s split across five dimensions, covering data privacy and stewardship; specification and engineering; problem definition; problem solving; and evaluation.

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According to the Alan Turing Institute, the framework’s objective is to cultivate and empower “T-shaped” professionals who are flexible, agile and possess the “depth of knowledge in a particular expertise, as well as have the ability to work and communicate across disciplines”. This relates to system-thinking.

The framework includes cognitive competence for work-related knowledge; theoretical and technical knowledge; and functional competence, which covers the ability of an employee to perform a range of work-based tasks effectively to produce specific outcomes.

Other areas include the ability to adopt appropriate behaviours in work-related situations, such as self-confidence, control of emotions, listening, objectivity, collegiality and sensitivity to peers. Competency around ethics is also included, which assesses employees’ professional values and their ability to make sound judgements, such as adherence to laws, social and moral sensitivity, and confidentiality.

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