In Nottingham and across the East Midlands region, the outbreak of Coronavirus has had a significant economic impact – especially on those who are now unemployed, and those who own or work for local small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

Working alongside Nottingham City Council’s established Nottingham Jobs service and partners in the D2N2 Growth Hub, the D2N2 Skills Access Hub is a new three-year project. It aims to unlock the potential for sustainable growth and economic prosperity by creating bespoke skills training and development programmes for local businesses, their current employees and people looking for work.

The D2N2 Skills Access Hub will provide additional and complementary support to further strengthen the wide range already available through Nottingham City Council and local partners.

Central to its goals is the provision of greater access for small and medium-sized businesses to the local labour market, plus targeted skills development and support for existing and prospective employees. The D2N2 Skills Access Hub will achieve this by engaging with and listening to the skills needs and concerns of local employers, providing them with opportunities to share their training needs with business advisers within the Hub, and to allow them to influence the type of training programs available locally – to reflect the real-world needs of their business now and in the coming years.

The D2N2 Skills Access Hub will enable SMEs to navigate the complex skills and training provision landscape available in the region, by acting as both a trusted adviser to local businesses and as the first point-of-call for local businesses regarding information and access to bespoke skills and development support. This will increase the local SMEs sustainability and growth potential, as well as benefitting existing employees.

Involving local businesses in the skills development process will provide greater clarity on the training available in the region and make this available to businesses quickly and efficiently, enabling them to concentrate on developing and running their businesses.

The D2N2 Skills Access Hub will work alongside six established local and regional partners, utilising their networks and expertise to deliver the training which SMEs need: The Futures Group, Nottingham City Council, Direct Advice & Help (based in Derby), Vision West Nottinghamshire College, Nottingham College and the University of Nottingham.

Businesses which come to the Hub for support can expect to receive an in-depth skills assessment and a Skills Action Plan based on their individual needs. Advisers will then put the SME in touch with the appropriate training provider to meet these needs (and if necessary, signpost to additional partner resources such as the D2N2 Growth Hub), to provide them with the best possible support. Once the training project is agreed, the local business will receive ongoing skills support and guidance to ensure their needs are being met.

Councillor Neghat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Employment said,“At a time when employers across Nottingham and the local area are feeling the economic effects of COVID-19, it’s vital that Nottingham City Council and its economic regional development partners work together to provide additional support.

“Using the effective and trusted partnerships with Nottingham Jobs and the D2N2 Growth Hub, the D2N2 Skills Access Hub will work closely with local business of all sizes to understand their needs. This will enable them to access the employee training they need to grow and build a strong local economy, and increase the skills and opportunities most-needed by unemployed people locally.

To find out more about how to access skills support and training, please visit or email