High Level Skills for SMEs

As an SME, are you experiencing skills shortages or skills gaps in your organisation?

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.

It is the only ESF-funded programme in D2N2 (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) dedicated to addressing high level skills needs in small or medium-sized businesses.

NTU and the High Level Skills consortium can help you grow as a business by creating a more diverse, creative and productive workforce through our two complementary projects – Priority Skills for D2N2 and GRADS for D2N2.

Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs

The Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project aims to support SMEs across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to access free bespoke, employer-led training, career coaching and advice to up-skill their employees in vocational and high-level technical skills.

NTU offer a free, 3-day course which is designed to help women in SMEs to develop their careers and their capability to manage and lead within their organisations.

Find out more about Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs

GRADS for D2N2

The GRADS for D2N2 project provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire a complete package of free and subsidised support to help you benefit from graduate talent in the region.

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 access the support, advice and funding to plug skills gaps, achieve more, and grow your business.

Find out more about GRADS for D2N2

Case studies and news articles

Market Intelligence: Talent in Creative

GRADS for D2N2 | 13 August 2019

This workshop explores the graduate labour market in the UK and locally and the implications for creative businesses around recruitment and future growth.


Market Intelligence: Talent in Advertising, Marketing and PR

GRADS for D2N2 | 5 July 2019

The second session in our 'Market Intelligence: Talent in ...?' series looks at the opportunities and challenges of the local and national labour market, with a specific focus on AMPR.

Read more


Engaging with stakeholders across D2N2 on High Level Skills

28 June 2019

The High Level Skills programme has an open invitation for organisations working with SMEs to get in touch and discuss how we can work together.

Read more


Market Intelligence: Talent in Tech

GRADS for D2N2 | 10 June 2019

In May, NTU's Employability team delivered the first in a series of sector-focused market intelligence workshops looking at industry-specific opportunities and challenges with a focus on future-proofing the talent needs of local businesses.

Read more


From a graduate placement to a graduate job: connecting SMEs to NTU's talent pool

GRADS for D2N2 | 20 May 2019

The High Level Skills programme supported V Formation to take on a six-week placement which became a permanent position for an NTU graduate.

Read more


Nottingham Business School deliver first management and leadership course for women in SMEs

Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs | 29 March 2019

In March, NBS delivered the first in a series of 3-day management, innovation and leadership courses specifically for women in SMEs. Read more about the course and get the verdict from some of the attendees.

Read more


View all stories about the ESF High Level Skills programme

Who is eligible?

Most small and medium organisations in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are eligible for support.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are defined as:

  • Less than 250 employees
  • Annual turnover under EUR 50 million or;
  • Annual balance sheet less than EUR 43 million

Companies must be based in the D2N2 area to qualify for support. D2N2 is the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

Contact us

Support is available to businesses until 2020.

If you are interested in accessing these services or would like to know more, contact our team at esf@ntu.ac.uk or by calling +44 (0)115 848 8899.

Further information

Still need help?

High Level Skills Central Team
+44 (0)115 848 8899