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Future of Work in Post-16 Education

29 January 2024

The pandemic extended the role of technology in FE and HE, facilitating learning even when human interaction was restricted. Despite the difficulties of learning how to use these platforms, they have helped our members to innovate in the education and support they provide to students and can make our lives easier. However, they are also repositories for large amounts of personal data, both ours and the students we support, and for the intellectual property our members generate.

It is crucial that we shape the future of education in a way that works for both staff and students, with technology enabling our work, not acting as a barrier to it.

The Future of Work in Post-16 Education project will consider the threats and opportunities of the technology being used in the sector now and in the future, and how UCU should support members and branches to respond. To support this work, we will be establishing a working group of UCU members from all the sectors of the union and all levels of knowledge of the technology.

Terms of reference for Future of Work in Post-16 Education Working Group

The working group will be made up of up 12 UCU members who respond to a request for expressions of interest. The group should be composed of people from across FE, HE, prison and adult education, covering the different UK nations and ensuring that the different equality groups in UCU are represented and can input via the equality committee. We are looking for users of systems and those concerned about the impacts of such technology to participate in the group, as well as experts in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and those supporting these systems currently. We want the group to be diverse in experience with varying degrees of knowledge and experience.

The working group should:

  1. identify threats and opportunities to UCU members of AI and datafication in the HE and FE sectors, including prison and adult education
  2. consider what data we have collected already, and how we might collect data on the current and future intended uses of AI in colleges and universities
  3. make recommendations to the NEC on what should be in UCU's policy on AI
  4. consider and advise on guidance for branches on negotiating on AI and datafication
  5. agree a description for the role of Data Rep
  6. advise on the content for an AI policy for negotiation with HE and FE employers which takes a rights-based approach to the issues.

The group will seek to meet at least 6 times during 2024, with a view to informing the policy making process of Congress 2024. If it cannot meet this timetable, then recommendations will be considered in time for Congress 2025.

Please complete this form to express an interest in joining the working group.

Last updated: 29 January 2024