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GRADS for D2N2

This project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).

If you're an SME based in Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire, you can access advice, support and funding to grow your business through graduate and apprenticeship talent.

The GRADS for D2N2 project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).

About the programme

The GRADS for D2N2 project provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a comprehensive package of free and subsidised support to help you connect with students, graduates and apprentices.

This project can help you plug skills gaps, achieve more, and grow your business. Whether you're an SME looking to recruit local graduates, or you're keen to see how graduate talent could support your business in different ways, get in touch with us today.

Our project support

Organisational needs analysis

After enrolling on the project, you'll receive a free, full review of your business' current organisational set-up. Using this, we can help to identify your future needs and goals to explore how graduate and high-level skills could boost your business productivity now and in the future.

Skills and talent action plans

Based on the findings of the organisational needs assessment, we then support with the production of an action plan. This will help us to set some concrete objectives to help get past your existing barriers to growth and productivity and help link you with the support that is available to you.

Talent grants

Please note: The grants associated with this project are no longer available.

Talent grants can be used to support work experience and graduates placements that are meaningful for you. We are able to offer £1,000 to support six-week graduate placements that support your business, while also giving our graduates highly valuable experience in industry.

Employability advice & workshops

Our Employability team can work with you to provide expert advice on everything from attracting, selecting and retaining new employees, to raising your brand awareness on campus. With a comprehensive programme of events throughout the year to connect with the NTU talent pool.

Higher and degree apprenticeships

Up-skill your existing workforce or give a chance to promising new talent by working with our Apprenticeships team. A higher or degree apprenticeship could be the key to your organisations' professional development, and you could be entitled to 95% funding of the full cost of an apprenticeship programme. Therefore, your organisation will only need to pay the remaining 5%.

Co-designing our curriculum

Through co-design we aim to continually put SME needs, insight and experience at the core of developing and delivering our courses. We want to hear from you about what you need from your staff; whether it's a particular skill, knowledge or behaviour, you can influence our curriculum to help us make sure our graduates are ready to hit the ground running.

"Since joining the business, our apprentice has made a really positive contribution and it's now down to us both to make the most of the opportunity. It's still early days but our experience to date of working with NTU has been overwhelmingly positive."

Graeme Blakey from Realm Projects on the apprenticeships support provided to his business.


This project is available to SMEs that are based in the D2N2 area (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire). SMEs are defined as having:

  • less than 250 employees
  • an annual turnover under EUR 50 million or;
  • an annual balance sheet less than EUR 43 million.

This project is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).


Sam Evans explains how Gather Social have centred their business around recruiting graduates

Sam Evans, Managing Director of Gather Social

High Level Skills Partners

NTU work as part of the High Level Skills consortium to deliver this programme which also includes our partners, University of Derby, Derby College, Nottingham College, Vision West Nottinghamshire College, East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, B-Global, Enable and Inspire.

Contact our team

If you are interested in accessing any of the above support or would like to know more, contact our team at