SMEs across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2 area) can access support in developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and leadership and management skills through two new projects, supported by the University of Derby.
The projects, part funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), will be bolstered by the same amount in match funding by delivery partners including the University of Derby and Nottingham Trent University, which is leading the project.
The new projects will form part of the High Level Skills programme which has provided support to over 700 businesses and 1,500 individuals working for SMEs since 2018 to access graduate talent, higher and degree apprenticeships, and high level vocational training and skills.
The Smart and Inclusive Leadership (SAIL) project will provide SMEs with the leadership and management skills needed to drive productivity, growth and competitiveness, through qualifications from basic skills through to advanced levels of accredited higher education.
The Branch out in STEM project will support the development of employees with the skills to thrive in their industry, helping to develop more productive and competitive businesses with the ability to take advantage of new and emerging technologies, such as data analytics and data science skills.
Courses range from Level 1, with bespoke learning developed to help meet specific business needs, through to accredited courses up to Level 7. Coaching and mentoring to support career development will also be available.
The projects will be delivered by a consortium of higher education, further education and third sector organisations, led by Nottingham Trent University, including the University of Derby, Derby College, Nottingham College, East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, Enable, and the Workers’ Educational Association.
The D2N2 Growth Hub, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors, and Nottingham City Council will continue to be strategic partners within the new extended High Level Skills programme, helping to promote the project and engage participants from eligible businesses.
Professor Warren Manning, Provost Innovation and Research at the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted to be part of these two new projects aimed at supporting SMEs and their employees with specific focus on the development of high level skills.
“Partnerships between business, universities and other education providers are essential for driving innovation in the region and we are pleased to be part of the consortium delivering this training.”
Both projects will encourage participation of people underrepresented in both leadership and management, and STEM. This includes but is not limited to; women, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) groups, disabled people, people living in a single adult household with dependent children, and people without basic skills qualifications.