Engaging with stakeholders across D2N2 on High Level Skills

The ESF High Level Skills programme is looking for business support organisations to become strategic partners.

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The top high-level skills needs as voted for by event attendees

On Thursday 27 May, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) hosted an event to engage with existing and new stakeholders from across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) to share information about how they can work with us to support the work of the High Level Skills programme.

The event, which was held in the prestigious Courtroom in 50 Shakespeare Street, targeted organisations that work with SMEs in the D2N2 area – some of whom we already work with closely, and some we are now forging a new relationship with.

Attendees included representatives from the D2N2 Growth Hub and local enterprise partnership (LEP), the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, and many local authorities including Nottingham City Council, Mansfield District Council and Rushcliffe Borough Council.

On the agenda were details about the High Level Skills (HLS) programme, its aims and targets, the offers from each of the High Level Skills consortium members, and how organisations can become an HLS strategic partner.

Becoming an HLS strategic partner means developing a relationship with the programme to work together on a two-way referral process.

Attendees were also given more information on the context of the High Level Skills programme within the wider NTU support for SMEs, and details of the projects that some of our delivery partners are currently working on.

Andria Birch, High Level Skills Programme Manager said: "This event was a chance for us to update existing stakeholders and start a conversation with potential new partners.

"The event was a great opportunity for us to raise the awareness of the programme among attendees and hear more from them, but that's not where it stops. We have an open invitation to business support organisations to get in touch about working with us.

"We're particularly keen to hear from organisations that support specific communities to help us in our ambition to make a positive impact on the high level skills and social mobility of staff in SMEs across the D2N2 area."

What is the High Level Skills programme?

NTU is a member of the High Level Skills consortium that also counts Derby College, Nottingham College, University of Derby, Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Nottingham City Council as members.

The consortium is working collaboratively to deliver the High Level Skills programme that is made up of two complementary projects that aim to provide support, advice and funding to small and medium-sized enterprises across D2N2, allowing them to upskill their staff and recruit local talent.

The Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project is focused on upskilling existing employees. Support from the consortium ranges from bespoke courses at levels 3 and 4, specialist level 6 technical courses, and courses focusing on management and leadership for women. Many of these courses are part or fully-funded.

The GRADS for D2N2 project is all about helping SMEs connect with the wealth of local skills and talent coming out of our colleges and universities to help them grow in the future. It offers SMEs a package of support which includes FREE organisational needs assessments and action plans, employability and apprenticeship support and workshops, talent grants, and the opportunity to put their voice at the heart of our curriculum through co-design.

We're keen to hear from organisations that support specific communities to help us in our ambition to make a positive impact on the high level skills and social mobility of staff in SMEs.

Andria Birch, High Level Skills Programme Manager

How to become an HLS strategic partner

To enquire about getting involved in the programme, please email esf@ntu.ac.uk with some details about your organisation, the work you do with SMEs, and how you would like to contribute.

A member of our team will then be in touch to discuss the next steps.

You can also get in touch by calling 0115 878 8899.

For more information on the programme, visit our website.

ESF and DWP logos

The High Level Skills programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418