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Enterprising Ashfield

Supported by the Government’s Towns Fund, NTU has been awarded £3.8m to deliver the Enterprising Ashfield project, a comprehensive Start-up to Scale-up business support programme across the Kirby-in-Ashfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield areas.

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Skills in Ashfield

Skills support will focus on the training and upskilling of the Ashfield workforce through flexibly delivered short courses.

Our courses are developed in response to local skills needs and will continue to be developed to ensure they remain relevant to you.

Our first set of courses relate to high demand areas such as marketing and communications, working with clients, and digital skills. The following options are now available to book below:

Digital Skills for Fashion and Textiles

On this practical design course, you'll learn how to use 2D CAD sketches, whilst learning the essential functions of the software that will make your life as a designer simpler and more efficient.

Digital Skills for Marketing and Communications

On this practical course, you'll develop your understanding of design principles and effective visual communication skills for marketing on the PC. Aimed at the beginner with limited or no knowledge of design software, this introductory course will take you from the basics and quickly develop your ability to design professional-looking documents.

Introduction to Marketing and Public Relations

On this course you'll consider and manage how you are represented in the media (both online and in printed material), and how you are perceived by your stakeholders and the wider public.This course is ideal for business owners or managers and for anyone that needs to understand how you and your business are perceived.

Social Media and Digital Marketing for Professionals

This course will provide you with an understanding of how the main social media platforms work; from Facebook to Twitter, and from Instagram to LinkedIn, you'll consider how to create a digital and social media strategy.

Understanding Client Needs

This course will help you understand the needs of external clients, organisations and other stakeholders, to harness commercial opportunities for business.

Writing Skills for Professionals

On this course, you'll learn how to win over your audience with the right words. It's ideal for anyone that would like to write more confidently, instead of fearing it!

Ashfield Skills Survey

If you'd like a say on what courses are on offer in the Ashfield area in the future, you can complete our skills survey.

Talent in Ashfield

Graduate placements

Businesses based in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield can receive £1,250 towards the salary of a recent graduate for a placement that lasts at least 6 weeks.

Digital Academy

Delivered by local industry professionals, our Digital Academy will focus on the development of skills in areas such as website design, social media marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).


Local businesses can receive advice to understand and implement higher and degree apprenticeships in areas such as healthcare and science, construction, leadership and management, and digital skills.

Enterprise in Ashfield

Through our enterprise offer we can work with pre-starts and entrepreneurs to help establish new businesses, and support existing businesses to grow and scale. We can also support specific R&D activities by making connections with NTU experts and facilities.

HeadStart programme

Want to set up and grow your own business?

Whether you want to be your own boss, get that side-hustle off the ground, start generating some passive income, or just get a better work-life balance, we can help.

You'll receive:

  • Free 1-2-1 advice and coaching
  • Free workshops and training on how to set-up your own business
  • £1,000 grant to help get you started.

Breakthrough programme

The ‘Breakthrough’ programme will support early stage businesses to increase their growth potential, grow new markets, and enhance job creation opportunities through a series of expert workshops, and peer-to-peer learning.

Early-stage (minimum of one year trading) and micro-businesses will be supported through the Breakthrough programme which offers training in strategic leadership and management capabilities.

Accelerator programme

The ‘Accelerator’ stage will offer an intensive programme of support for businesses undergoing rapid growth, or who have high potential for growth. Cohorts of similar businesses will come together on a bespoke programme to be designed around the needs of companies preparing to take the next step in their growth journey.

Businesses within the Accelerator stage will participate in workshops and roundtables led by industry and academic specialists in business growth, and receive one-to-one mentoring to support their growth aspirations. In addition, the cohort of businesses will provide the ability for peer-to-peer networking and sharing of experience and best practice.

Growth programme

Through the Growth Programme stage, high potential businesses will have access to a co-ordinated range of business support, including an intense diagnostic, leadership and management development workshops and access to a part-funded grant of £1.5k (match funded by the company).

Businesses will receive a critical review of their operations, scale-up challenges and opportunities, enabling the programme to target their needs directly.

Activities within the programme include leadership and management development programmes to enhance skills, tailored workshops focusing on innovation and business growth, access to an executive peer-to-peer network enabling businesses to learn from each other, and coaching to help identify and achieve growth opportunities.

R&D collaboration

Many organisations do not have access to the facilities and expertise required to innovate, limiting their ability to grow. Through the Enterprising Ashfield project, businesses will be able to collaborate with NTU to undertake specific R&D activities that will assist them in developing innovative new products, processes, and facilitate access to new markets.

Facilities which can be utilised include (but are not limited to) manufacturing, engineering, and renewable energy laboratories; VR suites; chemical analysis and microscopy suites; MRI suites; 3D printing and laser cutting facilities; and product design facilities.

Get in touch

To enquire about accessing support or for further information, please contact


This project is funded by the Government's Towns Fund and will specifically benefit businesses and individuals based in the towns of Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Sutton-in-Ashfield.

All support provided will be subject to a check to confirm geographic eligibility.

For information about the data we collect on this project, how we manage it, and your rights to access any information we hold about you, please read our privacy notice.