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NTU launch programme to boost high level skills across D2N2

Nottingham Trent University and a consortium of partners have launched the ESF High Level Skills programme.

ESF High Level Skills launch event
Attendees at the ESF High Level Skills launch event

This support is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund

On Monday 28 January 2019, a consortium of universities and colleges across D2N2 (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) launched the European Social Fund (ESF) High Level Skills programme to tackle high level skills shortages and skills gaps in the region.

The launch event at the Nottingham Conference Centre enabled 29 representatives from local small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to discover what support is available.

Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Derby College, Nottingham College, the University of Derby, Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Nottingham City Council are working together to deliver the project which will support hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses by providing high level skills training, and ensuring their employees are equipped with the skills that SMEs really need.

The programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund, is made up of two complementary projects: 'Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs' and 'GRADS for D2N2'.

Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs will provide bespoke training, career coaching and advice to up-skill and support people working in local SMEs. The focus will be on eqipping employees with high-level technical and job-specific skills that are relevant to today's industries.

The project will support staff that may face barriers to accessing high level skills and pathways, including women, people aged 50+, people with disabilities, people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and those who have missed out on traditional educational opportunities.

The GRADS for D2N2 project will work with local SMEs to ensure education and training is relevant to employer needs and that students graduate 'work-ready'. In addition, it will part-fund SMEs to employ graduates through grants to work on specific projects, work experience and internship placements, and higher and degree apprenticeships.

We are delighted to launch this programme in collaboration with our higher and further education consortium partners across the D2N2 area. By working together in this innovative and unique way, we will be helping over 700 local businesses, and in particular developing new skills pathways to raise skill levels in the local economy.

Professor Nigel Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Find out more about the High Level Skills programme

The ESF High Level Skills programme is due to run until 2020. If you are interested in finding out more about the programme, you can do so on our website.

To enquire about enrolling on the programme, please email or call +44 (0)115 848 8899.

  • Notes for editors

    For press enquiries, please contact Joe Boultby-Ward, ESF Marketing Manager by email or on +44 (0)115 878 8899.

    • The High Level Skills programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and is made up of two complementary projects – Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs, and GRADS for D2N2.
    • The projects have received £2,201,163 (Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs) and £7,360,994 (GRADS for D2N2) of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.
    • The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the English European Social Fund programme.
    • Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.
    • For more information, visit

NTU launch programme to boost high level skills across D2N2

Published on 1 February 2019
  • Category: Business

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