Need help developing your people? The StayAhead Project may be able to help.

StayAhead Project

StayAhead will assist employed individuals across the D2N2 area (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire) to overcome barriers, which prevent them from undertaking in work training, and increasing their skills levels. Individuals must work in one of five target sectors: Construction, Creative & Digital Industries, Health & Social Care, Low Carbon and Transport Equipment Manufacturing.

StayAhead will support SME’s to access high quality innovative in work training solutions for their existing workforce. The project will enable SME’s to:

  • Undertake a skills based needs assessments
  • Identify current skills gaps and opportunities for skills growth within the workforce
  • Identify a suitable training provider that will deliver level 2 and level 3 training for employees (including basic skills where needed)
  • Access StayAhead Training Incentives to offset training costs

The StayAhead Project is part-financed by Nottingham City Council and the European Union through the European Social Fund (ESF).

Which employers are eligible?

Eligible employers must be:

i. Located in the D2N2

ii. SMEs

  • Has fewer than 250 employees
  • Not more than 25% of the enterprise is owned by an organisation that in itself is not an SME
  • Sole traders and micro businesses are classed as SME’s
  • Annual turnover does not exceed €50 million
  • Annual balance sheet does not exceed €43 million

iii. Operating in one of the five priority key sectors: Construction, Creative & Digital Industries, Health & Social Care, Low Carbon and Transport Equipment Manufacturing.

What Training Qualifications are eligible?

Training Qualifications should be:

  • Registered on OFQUAL register
  • Basic/Functional Skills qualification
  • Either full or unit of level 2
  • Either full or unit of level 3

*Qualifications below level 2 can be funded in exceptional circumstances
*Qualifications above level 3 can be funded in exceptional circumstances

What would the benefits for my business be?

Increasing skills within the workforce improves productivity, competitiveness and workforce retention.

Training Incentives

StayAhead can make a financial contribution to SME training costs, paying up to 40% of any eligible training, up to a maximum of £2,500.

This is in addition to basic skills and apprenticeships where there are significant government subsidies available which employers will be supported to access.

Who are the delivery partners?

Delivery partners are spread throughout the D2N2 region enabling eligible participants to access StayAhead provision. The Delivery Partners include:

Futures – supporting SME’s located in Greater Nottingham and Mansfield & Ashfield

Rushcliffe Borough Council – supporting SME’s located in the borough of Rushcliffe

Trent Bridge Community Trust – also supporting SME’s located in the borough of Rushcliffe

Academy Transformation Trust – supporting SME’s located in Ollerton, Newark & Sherwood

Derby College – supporting SME’s located in Derby City and Derbyshire

When is the closing date for StayAhead Project?

The StayAhead Project will run from 1st September 2017 till 30th September 2019

Will the information provided be used for any other purpose?

The Council reserves the right to report the number of people supported and the amount of funding awarded and paid to each recipient company to relevant City Council Committees, the full Council and The Department for Work & Pensions in line with the requirements of Nottingham City Council’s agreement with the ESF Managing Authority and in any publicity about StayAhead Project. This information may also be subject to freedom of information requests.

How do I express an interest in participating in this programme?

If you are interested in finding out more about the programme or wish to create an opportunity please email

Alternatively, you can write to

StayAhead Project
Economic Development
Nottingham City Council
4th Floor, Loxley House
Station Street