CareerChat enters new R&D partnership with Exeter University Impact Lab

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CareerChat enters new R&D partnership with Exeter University Impact Lab

Development of updated artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language programming (NLP) model, with customised application programming interfaces taking forward ‘CiCi’ the 24:7 powerhouse that supports your career.

CareerChat Ltd, the lead developer of CiCi the innovative careers chabot, powered by AI and machine learning, is pleased to announce a successful research and development (R&D) grant funding Award from the University of Exeter ‘Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab’. This new Award will support extended research and development (R&D) activities to improve the programming and innovative development of CiCi. For further information email: [email protected]

The partnership will include the development of updated AI and natural language processing (NLP) to power CiCi, the new and highly responsive careers chatbot that CareerChat Ltd launched with Nesta and Department for Education prize funding in 2020/21. The partnership will also lead to new dashboards and customised application programme interfaces (APIs) increasing the amount of data that CiCi can show to clients searching for jobs, careers or courses, as well as sharing aggregate, anonymised insights on job search needs to local stakeholders. Additional technical developments included a new registration module, skills assessment and database integration, including a new Geolocation module and customised APIs on Standard Occupational Classification and (SOC) and vice versa).

A targeted social media campaign will be launched shortly generating new real user data. The R&D work will be underpinned by a literature review on skills assessment options and an in-depth critique of the NESTA algorithm.


CareerChat (UK) is a micro-business based in Exeter, formally established in January 2021. It was one of 20 national Prize Finalists in the Nesta CareerTech Challenge, highly commended for its business plan. During the last year, the team of leading UK and European careers and technology specialists have collaborated with careers and employability practitioners, student services staff, local councils, local enterprise partnerships (LEP) and professional bodies on the design and development of the friendly bot to help students and adults find the right jobs, courses, and careers for them.

Andy Coates, bot programme developer, joined the team in January 2022, followed by Kainan Gardner, research assistant, in February 2022. CiCi is currently being embedded in further, higher and vocational education settings in the UK. Managers, practitioners and digital leads are currently ‘stress testing’ brand new functionalities and dashboard developments.

Education, vocational training and careers providers are each contributing to new 2022 ‘test beds’ involving young people and adults. If you would like further information: email: [email protected]

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, co-founder and lead director of CareerChat commented:

As CareerChat (UK) continues its expansions, with Associate and new test bed partners, we are very pleased to be adding a new university partnership in Exeter. We are delighted to be partnering with such an esteemed international institution. As the world continues to emerge from the pandemic, we are seeing a marked increase in young people and adults undertaking new forms of 24:7 career exploration.  For example, imagine someone sitting in a comfy seat, watching TV and thinking about their career options whilst exploring their ideas using CiCi on their mobile phone, tablet or laptop. We are seeing an increase in enquiries for embedding CiCi in education, training and careers websites in the UK. Exeter University has an outstanding reputation and we are excited about the level of support received and affirmation from the external scrutiny panel. We are looking forward to growing our presence in the UK and beyond.”