About artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is a powerful tool we use in our lives every day. From helping us set reminders to telling us the weather, providing GCSE results, or scanning vast amounts of customer data, it’s applied by both consumers and businesses to manage increasingly complex operations with ultimate speed, efficiency, precision and insight.

But in such a fast-moving and complex field, the challenge we all face is understanding the evolving impact of AI and its far-reaching ethical implications. The reality is that AI is currently being implemented by organisations that won’t fully comprehend its uses and potential. By the same token, consumers are using AI technology without knowing the true impact it could be having on their lives.

The AI Foundation Pathway provides bite-size learning for professionals and consumers enabling them to develop their knowledge, as and when needed, so they can work with and use AI confidently, competently and responsibly.

You may have candidates who are just starting out in an AI role looking for a core understanding. Or they’re business analysts or one of the many roles across industry impacted by AI developments who mustn’t get left behind. Perhaps they’re simply tech consumers interested in this exciting and innovative field. The Foundation Pathway offers a learning route for everyone.

What are the benefits of the AI Foundation Pathway?

BCS has created this unique pathway of bite-size awards to deliver efficient, convenient learning for candidates that’s highly relevant to their specific career or user journey.

According to the UK government, AI could add up to £630 billion to the UK economy by 2035, but there’s a substantial skills gap and therefore a huge market for skilled and qualified individuals. The government has invested in university qualifications in AI, but not everyone is able to go to university. This BCS pathway offers a practical alternative and a fantastic opportunity to develop a career at the cutting edge.

The portfolio promotes a holistic approach to AI encompassing the different ways of working and thinking in the field. Candidates achieve foundation awards in the areas that support their role and career, without having to sit a full certification.

£630 billion

to be added to the UK economy from AI by 2035


of people in Europe do not have the required AI skills (estimated)


bitesize learning is 17% more efficient (Journal of Applied Psychology)

About the AI Foundation Pathway Awards

Who is this for?

The breadth of the pathway makes it accessible to a wide range of individuals, including:

  • candidates who are just beginning their career in AI
  • business leaders and managers who need to know how AI affects their business and how they manage it effectively and in an ethical manner
  • IT professionals, especially in areas like business analysis, agile and DevOps, software testing and many others - to support their decision-making across projects, identify wider potential for AI innovation, understand data ethics and their own impact in the organisation
  • career movers looking to dip their toe into the world of AI, without committing too much time and money
  • tech consumers who want to become more informed about AI developments.

How does the pathway work?

There are 12 awards set within four key areas of AI:

  • business innovation
  • data
  • ethics
  • machine learning and other AI techniques

Each of the 12 awards is a qualification in its own right, carrying between 3 and 5 credits.

By taking four awards (20 credits), one in each key area, candidates will gain a Foundation Certificate in AI and they can achieve a Foundation Diploma in AI by taking eight awards (36 credits).

The pathway is also aligned with the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Data Specialist Apprenticeship at level 7.

The AI Foundation Pathway portfolio

Business innovation

Candidates will explore different types of organisations and their uses of AI, the challenges and opportunities they might face, and whether AI can offer the right solutions.


Candidates learn how data enables AI to perform, how it’s cleaned, structured and stored - and specifically focusing on machine learning how to use data in the right way, work with security protocols and tackle issues around ethics.


AI’s ability to learn, replicate and predict means it will have a considerable impact on society and our environment if we don’t approach it ethically, sustainably and with clear governance. This set of awards explores the impact of decision-making and is vital learning for any forward-thinking IT professional.

Machine learning and other AI techniques

Big data, patterns, smart products, robotics, automation, knowledge-based systems and more - a firm understanding of these aspects, their role and how they affect business, products and services is crucial. Candidates learn which techniques are required to help businesses make the right decisions, and how they need to be implemented to be successful.

Start delivering

Already accredited?

Get in touch to discuss the benefits of the AI Foundation Pathway for your training portfolio.

Discuss with us

Become accredited

Find out how you can start offering the BCS AI Foundation Pathway to your candidates.

Find out about accreditation