EU Funding - 25 November 2016

More than £7m to tackle skills and jobs needs in D2N2 LEP area

Projects to help people find work, to enable employers to plug skills gaps and for the area to retain highly-skilled graduates can now bid for more than £7million in funding, through the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

The financing is being provided through D2N2’s European Social Fund (ESF) allocation; itself part of the LEP’s wider € 250milion in European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), which is being used to support a wide variety of business and economic growth activities over six years (up to 2020).

D2N2 is the private-sector led partnership of business, local authorities, skills and training providers, community and voluntary organisations, and others which promotes economic growth and creates job across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

Amounts from D2N2’s € 250m in ESIF funding are being released at regular intervals, with ‘calls’ for potential projects run by organisations to bid for the money.

ESF Logo 2014-2020

This project is part-funded by the European Social Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 in England.

This latest ‘call’ is to support three projects – all three funded through D2N2’s ESF allocation of funding – which are entitled as follows:

*Higher Skills Development – £4.7m to help the D2N2 LEP area retain more of its graduate talent, and create more business-based programmes to retain and develop them.

Project bids must be for at least £100,000 in ESF monies, with the bidder providing match (half) funding.

The Higher Skills Development programme will provide:

  • Support for SMEs (small and medium-sized employers) and micro businesses to create career pathways of higher and degree apprenticeships for their workforce.
  • Incentives for SMEs and micro businesses to support an undergraduate or postgraduate student to gain work experience, and to offer a job with a career pathway on study completion.
  • Disadvantaged students with support onto higher level programmes to access employability skills, work experience and advice, to increase their job prospects locally within six months of leaving education.
  • The promotion and development of better links between SMEs and micro businesses, and education institutions.
  • A flexible approach to meet the needs of different businesses.

Targets – For 742 employees to have benefited from the programme and 376 SMEs to have grown their business, thanks to the impact of taking on higher skilled employees.

Deadline for projects to apply for funding – Sunday January 15, 2017.

*Enterprise, Innovation and Pathways – £1.4m to raise awareness of career opportunities and access to careers support, particularly for more disadvantaged groups who are not already covered by other European Social Fund-supported programmes; such as Building Better Opportunities, INSPIRE Local, CAREERS Local, EMPLOY Local and SKILLS Local.

Project bids must be for at least £200,000 in ESF funding. Bidders must provide match (half) funding for their projects.

  • The programme will provide extra support for people unemployed long-term, including those who have completed the Work Programme and where a person is still unemployed after many efforts to help them.
  • The programme will provide:
  • Support to fill existing and future gaps in provision for people, and activities within existing infrastructures and organisations, where there is a demonstrable evidence of need, linked to and aligned with local strategies.
  • Complementary activities and resources to support other (opt-in) D2N2 programmes such as EMPLOY Local and SKILLS Local.
  • Solutions to meet the requirements of the D2N2 key priority sectors, employment growth sectors, and emerging sectors based on evidence of need
  • Additional and innovative approaches to pre-employment training, to ensure individuals have the core work-related skills which employers require, including preparation for apprenticeships.

Targets – 1,933 people provided with additional support.

Deadline for project applications – Sunday January 15, 2017.

*Develop Sector Growth (focused support for SMEs in D2N2 LEP area growth sectors) – £1.1million for projects enhancing employers’ role in creating skills and training programmes in the D2N2 LEP area, which meet the needs of ‘skills gaps’ in companies’ workforces and help create new employment opportunities.

This is a basic principle of D2N2’s Skills for Growth Strategy, aiming to particularly support the area’s key sectors and the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Project bids should be for a minimum of £100,000 in ESF funding. Bidders will need to provide 50% matched funding.

The programme will provide:

  • Employer and sector led initiatives which harness and enable a cultural change to the skills system across the D2N2 area.
  • An opportunity for employers in D2N2’s key economic sectors to own and develop a skills system responsive to their needs.
  • Solutions to meet the requirements of the D2N2 key priority sectors, employment growth sectors and emerging sectors based on evidence of need.
  • Promotion of role models, either employers or individuals, who reflect the need to help, promote or inspire young people into various sectors, especially key sectors.

Targets – 1,091 people to be supported through this programme, 423 unemployed people to be supported through employer-led activities.

Deadline for project applications is – Sunday January 15, 2017.

In each case, once the deadline has closed the project bids received will be assessed by the D2N2 LEP and the Department for Work and Pensions. The strongest bids, most relevant to the three initiatives’ aims, will be invited to make a more in-depth application and successful bidders will then be announced.

It is assumed that projects which receive funding must be completed by April 2020. They will be assessed as they progress, to ensure they are meeting their targets.

D2N2 will be hosting two Technical Assistance workshops in Derby and Nottingham next week, to support organisations interested in applying to these ESF ‘open calls’. The free workshops, funded by the D2N2 Technical Assistance programme, will include a networking lunch. They will be held on:

  • Next Monday (November 28, 2016) – From 10am to 3pm at the Park Inn Hotel on Mansfield Road, Nottingham (NG5 2BT).
  • Next Wednesday (November 30) – From 10am to 3pm at the Derby Silk Mill, Full Street, Derby (DE1 3AF).

To book to attend either of these free workshops, visit 

Organisations wishing to submit applications to any of the three funding calls above can find more information at the following website link

David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Skills development lies at the heart of the D2N2 LEP’s Growth Strategy.

“Helping people gain skills which get them into work and then to develop knowledge which progresses their career is good for individuals, and the resulting pool of potential employees with the skills needed to plug gaps in their workforce is good for businesses.

“These three new initiatives, backed by £7.3million from D2N2’s European funding allocation, show the LEP’s commitment to skills development in its area and in getting business more involved with that.”

In 2013, Government asked each of England’s 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships to draw up a six year strategy for how they would spend a European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) allocation. D2N2’s innovative strategy saw it awarded one of the largest allocations of any LEP, receiving € 250million for projects in its area up to 2020.

The three main EU funds within the ESIF are the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

For more information on how D2N2 is using its ESIF monies to support business growth and economic development see its web pages at

For More Information on the above release, please contact:

Sean Kirby

D2N2 Communications Manager

01159 578749

 D2N2 logo CMYK

Sam Burbage

D2N2 Social Media and Marketing Officer

01159 578254

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