The Human Capital Initiative (HCI) is delivering an investment targeted towards increasing capacity in higher education in skills-focused programmes designed to meet priority skills needs.

These needs were identified though the detailed and comprehensive framework now in place under the National Skills Council, including  publications from the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU), the work of the Regional Skills Fora, the NTF Advisory Group, and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, and direct involvement of employers. The HCI also responded to the targets outlined in the National Skills Strategy, Technology Skills 2022, and other government strategies. It seeks to promote innovative and responsive models of programme delivery, and to enable the higher education system to respond rapidly to changes in both skills requirements and technology.

The key HCI objectives are to:

Increase provision in areas of identified skills need
Future proof graduates with industry relevant skills for emerging technologies
Ensure that there is a greater focus across the whole spectrum of higher education course provision on promoting and embedding transversal skills
Incentivise continued reform and innovation in higher education provision building on best practice available nationally and internationally.

The key areas of focus for actions under the initiative are:

  • Priority skills needs for the economy, particularly in high productivity growth sectors
  • Mitigating Brexit risks
  • Promoting regional development and NDP/Project 2040 objectives
  • Innovation and reform in programme provision
  • Responding to digitalisation and the future world of work
  • Strengthening relationships with enterprise and addressing identified future skills needs
  • Provision of upskilling and reskilling through lifelong learning

The HCI consists of 3 main pillars. The funding under each was awarded through a series of challenge based competitive call models. The three Pillars are as follows:

  • Pillar 1 – Full-Time Graduate Conversion Courses
  • Pillar 2 – Additional Places on Existing Full-Time Undergraduate Provision
  • Pillar 3 – Innovation and Agility

All funding calls for the HCI are now closed.


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