Bob UK the AI-powered job counsellor: ACH named a finalist in the Career Tech Challenge

Richard Thickpenny

Bob UK the AI-powered job counsellor: ACH named a finalist in the Career Tech Challenge

We are extremely excited and proud to announce that ACH has become one of the 20 finalists in the Career Tech Challenge after submitting Bob, an AI-driven careers advice platform, into the prestigious national competition. 

This prestigious nomination from Career Tech Challenges includes a grant of £50,000 to develop and test Bob-UK, before a winner is announced in March 2021. The Career Tech Challenge Prize is a national competition run by Nesta Challenges and the Department of Education, and aims to innovate careers provision in the UK. 

Bob, a free open source AI-powered platform, has been developed by Bayes Impact in France. We have partnered with Bayes Impact to bring Bob to a UK market. By leveraging ACH’s expertise in providing in-person career advice and training to over 2,500 individuals annually, Bayes Impact will adapt Bob to the UK labour market, prototyping within an established careers provision. 

Richard Thickpenny, ACH’s Deputy CEO says: 

‘This is a great opportunity to bring the future of work into the way we work today. It provides a catalyst for a step change in the way we link guidance to well-paid employment, provides a direct link with our digital training provision and creates an opportunity to innovate with an inspirational partner’  

Why Bob?

Over the past 11 of working with marginalised groups, we have identified an inequality in access to careers advice. Whilst skills training and careers advice is 'widely available', in practice it is not accessible to people without significant social capital, and many habitually miss out on opportunities. 

With Bob-UK we will harness the power of AI to analyse the UK labour market to identify career and skills trends, to provide users with tailored advice that links them to opportunities for well-paid employment. Bob is an unbiased, well-informed job counsellor, available anytime to help people navigate their job search. It provides guidance, making it easy for people from all backgrounds to access information. 

Bob links the information provided by the user to practical advice and concrete career resources and guidance.  To develop Bob, Bayes Impact worked with an expert in cognitive psychology to understand the mechanisms through which individuals turn a piece of information into an action.  

The future of work in the UK is changing rapidly. Nesta research estimate around 6 million jobs will change or become irrelevant by 2030, as a result of urbanisation, an ageing population, automation and the rise of green economy. This will undoubtably hit already marginalized groups hardest. We want to ensure no one is left behind, and everyone has access to impartial, data-driven careers advice.  

The Career Tech Challenge

As part of the CareerTech Challenge Prize, finalists will receive support and coaching, as well as networking opportunities with other innovators. The CareerTech Challenge Prize aims to find and support new digital solutions that use labour market data to help workers in the UK navigate the job market.

This nomination secures our ability to bring Bob to the UK context, to adapt its algorithms and undertake a pilot to test Bob in a UK context. We hope this will be a step change in the way impartial and unbiased careers advice can make a real change to the lives and prospects of people in all communities.