Birmingham universities offer free talent, training and support services to local SMEs

06/10/2017 by Charlotte Knowles

European Union - European Social FundA new £3.3 million business skills and growth project, which includes Newman University, launches next month, providing local companies with access to graduate recruits, interns and project staff with the skills businesses need to grow.

The Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM) Project, part-funded by the European Social Fund, is designed with and for businesses, to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) area, and is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).

HLSM is a collaborative venture between Newman, Birmingham City and Aston universities, along with Cannock Chase, Lichfield and Tamworth local authorities, who have come together in partnership to tackle the growing rift between the skills businesses will need in the future and the skills that job applicants and the current workforce actually have.

This is the first time that local companies have been able to access the graduate talent pool and business support services of all three Birmingham-based universities through one, easy to navigate and free of charge, service.

In turn, local companies will be actively encouraged to contribute to the design of Higher Education (HE) skills provision, to ensure it responds effectively to business needs, and to share their insights on the current and future demand for higher skills with the GBSLEP’s Employment and Skills Board.

Launching at iCentrum on Wednesday 11 October, the HLSM project will provide bespoke graduate level skills development, recruitment and advice services, drawn from an extensive portfolio of HE skills provision. The range of support offered to SMEs in the GBSLEP area will include:

  • developing the leadership, decision making, business development, enterprise and sustainable growth skills companies require to grow their business, and share fully in the economic growth opportunities forecast for the GBSLEP areas between 2017 and 2022;
  • accessing the range of higher level skills that are essential to the future prosperity of local businesses, and which only graduates and postgraduates can offer;
  • contributing to the GBSLEP’s vision to ensure local skill provision is designed with and for business, to better meet current and future skills demand;
  • contributing to, and benefitting directly from, tailored employability and enterprise skills support offered to local undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates.

HLSM will offer local SMEs a single point of contact through which they can access a range of different skills and business support services delivered by Newman University, Birmingham City University and Aston University. SMEs will receive 1-2-1 account management support, to ensure they can access the most appropriate skills and business support services, in the shortest possible time.

For more information and to book a place at the launch, visit Eventbrite.