European Social FundHigher Level Skills Match

About the project

HLSM will help you define, obtain and retain the skills and talent your business needs to grow.

There is a growing gap, locally and across the UK, between the skills SMEs need and the skills job applicants have. HLSM will work with local SMEs to find short and long term solutions to their specific business skills requirements, and those of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Area.

Who has created the Higher Level Skills Match?

Birmingham City University, Aston University and Newman University have partnered to create HLSM, with the support of Cannock Chase, Lichfield and Tamworth local authorities.

This partnership enables your search for the right skill-set to reach a broader range of graduate talent, with access co-ordinated and simplified by your HLSM Account Manager.

How can we help you?

How will you benefit from Higher Level Skills Match?

Collaborate with HLSM and you will have access to an Account Manager who will help you define the skill-set your SME requires. Your HLSM Account Manager will then work with you to match your needs to work-ready and highly skilled local graduates, ensuring you obtain the talent you need to drive your business forward.

Your HLSM collaboration will also give you access to a range of training and development opportunities for you and your employees, enabling you to boost your company’s skills and maximise growth potential.

Your Account Manager will co-ordinate your HLSM collaboration from start to finish, simplifying your search and saving you time.

Your HLSM Account Manager will help you:

  • Define the skill-set your SME needs to grow
  • Match your needs to highly-skilled graduates
  • Ensure your SME obtains the talent it requires
  • Find training for you and your employees
  • Co-ordinate your HLSM collaboration

Is there a fee for using HLSM?

Just a small amount of your time. HLSM is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) to support SME growth and employability within the GBSLEP area. As an eligible SME operating within this area, there is no financial cost to your business.


The partner universities working on HLSM are keen to hear from any businesses that would like to discuss their skills needs. This project has certain eligibility criteria set out below, however, if you don’t meet the criteria, please get in touch to discuss your needs and how we can support you.

HLSM Project Eligibility:

In order to eligible for the HLSM project, a business must:

1) Be based in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP area;

2) Be classed as an SME, as defined by the European Union*;

3) Meet the de minimis state aid criteria (no more than 200,000** euro state aid in the last 3 years).

*The business employs less than 250 people and have an annual turnover of less than 50 million euro and/or a balance sheet asset total of less than 43 million euro.

**This amount varies for certain industries such as Transport, Fisheries and Agriculture.

Contact us

Want to find out more? Get in touch with our HLSM team or call 0121 204 5299. We'd love to hear from you!

HLSM Partners:

HLSM partners