Visa is working alongside the UK government to help fund the next generation of artificial intelligence talent and data science by co-funding underrepresented students in selected universities.
Both Visa and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) will provide scholarships to students in postgraduate courses at the University of Leeds and Loughborough University.
This collaboration comes as part of the UK Government’s AI skills scheme, launched by DSIT and implemented by the Office for Students (OfS), aimed at tackling the shortage of skilled technology professionals and helping the UK prepare for a sustained demand for digital expertise.
Working closely with the government, Visa will contribute to three scholarships and the government will match this investment fund with an additional nine scholarships, together enabling 12 underrepresented students to complete an AI postgraduate course and enter the tech workforce.
This new partnership is designed to enable more women, black students, disabled students, and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to enter the technology sector, equipping them with the skills they need to succeed while also benefiting the wider UK economy.
Mandy Lamb, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Visa, commented: “Visa has harnessed the power of AI to fight fraud for over 30 years now. We believe that it can fundamentally transform financial services for the better, improving the financial lives and well-being of individuals, businesses, and the UK economy.
“As a result, it’s of paramount importance that we do all we can to nurture and develop skills and talent across topics such as coding, programming, and practical AI data science.”
Visa’s participation in the Government’s AI sponsorship initiative builds on the payment firm’s Scholarship Programme, a collaborative effort with the Windsor Fellowship launched in 2021.
The initiative aims to support the development of diverse talent by providing tuition fee contributions for successful applicants from underrepresented and socially disadvantaged backgrounds.
Louise Banahene, Director of Educational Engagement at the University of Leeds, added: “These scholarships offer a really exciting opportunity to increase diversity in an industry which will see only more demand for skills and expertise in the future.
“We believe that financial constraints shouldn’t hold excellent students from studying with us and contributing to solving the global challenges of tomorrow.
“We’re committed to addressing under-representation and are delighted to be partnering to address under-representation through our growing package of scholarships.”