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High Level Skills

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

The High Level Skills programme offers dedicated support, advice and funding to help you up-skill your employees and access the wealth of graduate talent in the area.

All support delivered through the High Level Skills programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).

About the programme

ESF High Level Skills launch event

The High Level Skills programme is the umbrella term for a collection of projects that offers dedicated support, advice and funding to help you up-skill your employees and access the wealth of graduate talent in the area.

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

This programme aims to help you grow as a business by creating a more diverse, creative and productive workforce through our five complementary projects, which are outlined below.

GRADS for D2N2

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.

Whether you're an SME looking to recruit local graduates, or you're keen to see how graduate and high-level skills could support your business in different ways, this project can help you plug skills gaps, achieve more, and grow your business.

Find out more about GRADS for D2N2.

Smart and Inclusive Leadership

The Smart and Inclusive Leadership (SAIL) project provides employees of SMEs with training opportunities to develop into future leaders, from basic skills and Level 1 bespoke learning, through to high-level accredited qualifications.

Helping to drive productivity, growth and competitiveness, our fully funded courses are delivered at no cost to your business and are structured in a way that is flexible to your needs and is accessible to all.

Find out more about Smart and Inclusive Leadership.

Branch out in STEM

The Branch out in STEM project supports employees of SMEs operating in the STEM sectors to develop their capability in areas relevant to their specific roles, as well as those areas that also provide a direct benefit to the business as a whole.

At NTU, we offer a number of courses that are fully funded (delivered at no cost) for employees of eligible SMEs including women in leadership courses specifically tailored to those working in, or aspiring to work in the STEM sectors.

Find out more about Branch out in STEM.

Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs

If you work for an SME based in Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire, you can access free bespoke, employer-led training, career coaching and advice to up-skill in vocational and high-level technical skills.

Courses are available in areas such as leadership, sustainability, marketing or change management at no cost to your employer.

Find out more about Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs.

Reskill & Recover

The Reskill & Recover project aims to upskill and reskill employees of D2N2 SMEs to ensure businesses have the skills needed to access future and emerging markets, post-pandemic and post-Brexit.

Driving productivity and innovation, this ESF-funded project will cover diverse recruitment and leadership, sector-specific sustainability training, and digital upskilling.

Find out more about Reskill & Recover


This project is available to SMEs, or employees of SMEs, that are based in the D2N2 area (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire). SMEs are defined by 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).

Contact us about support

Support is available to businesses until June 2023.

If you are interested in accessing these services or would like to know more, contact our team at