Strategy & Research

Strategy & Research

D2N2 has a clear strategy to support economic growth. We have identified four high-level strategic priorities that are relevant to all business in our area but are also particularly significant to the high growth businesses that research suggests are responsible for the bulk of private sector job creation. More

Skills for Growth Strategy

Find out all about local employment and skills support for 2015- 18 by clicking here


Did you know that D2N2 Skills also has its own website? Go to


Reports and Research Commissioned by D2N2

Centre for Progressive Capitalism - D2N2 Final Report June 2017 Cover

Skills Mismatch in D2N2 - June 2017

D2N2 Provider Charter

Apprenticeship Growth Plan

D2N2 Apprenticeship Growth Plan 2013-2018

Skills for Growth Pic

D2N2’s Skills for Growth Strategy 2013-2015

Skills for Growth Pic

D2N2's Skills for Growth Strategy 2013-2015 (Summary document)

Report 4 - D2N2 Employment and Skills FINAL Dec 2011 Cover

D2N2 Employment & Skills

Report 5 - D2N2 Education and Training FINAL Dec 2011 Cover

Education and Training


D2N2’s Strategic Priorities and Areas of Economic Focus

The D2N2 ‘Skills for Growth Strategy’ will inform and support those with a keen interest and determination to go faster in improving the competitiveness of their business and sector growth area and seek to combat poverty and worklessness through early intervention and new flagship initiatives.

Raising ambition and aspiration are both vital to the success of our local economy. 

To achieve this, six key priorities for action have been identified, set within the context of the D2N2 'Skills for Growth Strategy’.

  • Priority 1:Develop sector growth agreements to make explicit ownership and shared responsibilities for investment, ICT, labour market intelligence and impact measures.
  • Priority 2: Improve business leadership, management skills and training needs analysis to help increase productivity and performance.
  • Priority 3: Promote and develop apprenticeships and traineeships to achieve higher level skills and improve social mobility.
  • Priority 4: Foster enterprise and the characteristics of entrepreneurial behaviour, career adaptability and resilience.
  • Priority 5: Raise the visibility of and access to career insights and specialist careers support for young people and adults to raise aspirations, participation, retention and achievement in learning and work.
  • Priority 6: Promote graduate recruitment and facilitate graduate retention in the region

The D2N2 LEP, with the Skills & Employment Board's support, is positioned to enable and leverage efficient provision of national, regional and local resources. Making the most of resources means having trusted information and effective partnerships. Most importantly, our future success will be determined by the enthusiasm and joint effort of a wide range of people and organisations - including employers, schools, colleges, universities, private providers and not-for-profit organisations - working to address problems of skills mismatch, and driving up social and economic prosperity in local businesses and communities. 

Solutions highlighted from the Skills for Growth Strategy

  • Successful employer-led partnerships will be instrumental in bringing about new jobs, skills and growth.
  • There is the need to build a coherent set of requirements and possible solutions to skills shortages and job creation.
  • A boost to enterprise, entrepreneurship and business creation is needed.
  • Repositioning the careers service, particularly for young people.
  • Consolidating knowledge, activities, expertise and capability within the area.
  • Employers to step up and take a lead on shaping investment in demand-led provision and supply-side goods within their localities and sectors
  • To achieve progression into employment training guided by employers rather than college / provider-led linked directly to the needs of the sector
  • Business and sector clustering to enable the exchange of experiences and good practices, shared learning, continued networking, more affordable and focused on business needs.
  • Greater alignment of strategy and investment.

Local Challenges

  • A mismatch between career aspirations of young people and the reality of the jobs market.
  • 16-23 year olds struggle to compete with older workers (3 times more than 24+).
  • Aging population and people working longer.
  • Lack of experience of young people into work.
  • Only a quarter of businesses offer work experience to young people in education.
  • A link between high levels of youth unemployment and low take-up of vocational courses.

Facts and Figures 


  • 23% of D2N2 businesses face difficulty in getting experienced staff with expertise in STEM
  • 41% of D2N2 businesses don’t invest in skills development
  • SMEs make up 99% of the overall employer numbers in the D2N2 area. 

There is a rise in:

  • female unemployment
  • under-employment (was full time now part time)
  • part time work
  • youth unemployment has increased more in D2N2 than elsewhere
  • the latest unemployment rate for D2N2 is 9%
  • latest rate of unemployment for 16-24 in D2N2 sits at 22.6% which exceeds the regional (20.5%) and national (21.3%) averages


  • 70% of SMEs don't recruit graduates
  • 81% of SMEs aren’t confident that school leavers at 16 have the right employability skills
  • 32% of 14 to 18 year olds in the UK were undertaking some vocational study – compared with an average of 50% across the EU
  • internet usage has grown by 65% over past 3 years
  • 19million of 26million households now have an internet connection.

If you wish to discuss the Skills for Growth Strategy with the D2N2 LEP, please contact our Careers, Employability & Inclusion Manager, Rachel Quinn, on 0115 9578757 ext 3162 or email