Digital Skills for the Employed CLOSED


This call will support our businesses to access the skills they need for productivity growth by providing employees with the skills to adapt to the digitalisation of the workplace and better engage with the knowledge and assets in our higher and further educational institutions and increase the take up of apprenticeships, particularly at higher and graduate levels.

Activities within this priority will ensure a joined-up pipeline for digital skills to meet the needs of businesses and citizens across the breadth of digital skills including;

  • Basic skills- ensuring everyone has basic digital capability so that no one is excluded from opportunities because of a lack of skills and can operate in the digital society and economy.

  • Inclusion - ensuring individuals who have basic digital skills but lack the confidence and knowledge to make the most of the digital economy can be given the skills support they need

  • Advanced – ensure D2N2 develops, attracts and retains the talent needed for higher skilled roles to support the use of digital technologies to drive up business productivity.

The services must deliver highly responsive skills provision to meet business and industry needs. Employers must be engaged to shape and direct the services. In D2N2, the services must be aligned with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) projects Digital Business Growth Programme and D2N2 Growth Hub which aim to develop ICT products and services, ecommerce, enhancing demand for ICT, supporting the capacity of SMEs to grow in regional, national and international markets and to engage in innovation processes and maximise SME competitiveness through increased uptake of superfast broadband and more efficient use of digital technologies.


Activities undertaken by projects must primarily focus on support to individual participants and be responsive to address individual needs. Activities should address some or all of the following;

  • Practical support through coaching, advice, consultancy and mentoring to individuals seeking to improve digital skills in order to support SMEs utilise digital technologies to improve their productivity and competitiveness

  • Assessment of the current skills profile of the individual, with a bespoke training plan which relates to the sector in which they are employed, and the employer’s ICT needs and develop the appropriate training option or provide access to it

  • Drive up skills levels, focusing on the skills being sought by employers

  • Deliver skills provision which offers both accredited and non-accredited skills training which is innovative, responsive to local skills needs. Provision will normally be accredited but where suitable accredited provision does not exist, bespoke packages may be delivered (applicants will need to evidence qualifications delivered are full or units of level 2 or 3, as identified on the learning aims hub, to meet required outputs)

  • Encouraging more women to engage in Digital Skills and help address the gender employment and wage gap

  • Close partnership working with established training providers, business support providers and networks particularly the D2N2 Growth Hub Service

  • Applicants are encouraged to develop innovative approaches, backed by evidence, to support the value of the proposed activities, the effectiveness of the proposed delivery approach and the rationale for specific targeting.


Some of the outcomes expected will be:

  • Broker opportunities with local SMES and employers in targeted priority and growth sectors to support existing employees as well as new staff to access additional qualifications in digital skills through the form of NVQs, work experience, internships etc.

  • Accredited units of learning at Level 2 or 3 and above may be funded where these do not lead to a full qualification.

  • Work related learning and experience, developed and delivered in partnership with employers

  • Increase participation in traineeships and apprenticeships as well as opportunities to link learning to work experience. Exploring and secure progression opportunities

  • Work with colleges and independent training providers to revise provision to meet the future needs of SMEs in the Digital Age

  • Foster an aspirational, digital and enterprising culture in SMEs

For more information, download the call specification.

Workshops took place in May to support organisations wishing to apply.  Visit the workshop post-event page.

Closing date is July 18th 2019.

Investment Priority

Priority Axis 2.1: Enhancing equal access to lifelong learning

ESF investment

Approximately £2,000,000 of ESF is available.

Applications to this call should cover the entire D2N2 area.



Link to call documentation

For more information, download the call specification.

Call-specific strategic documents

ESF Operational Programme 2014-2020

D2N2 ESIF Strategy

Digital Skills Strategic Overview

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