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About Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

Hertfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), one of 38 such organisations in the UK, works in partnership with the public and private sector to develop investment and strategies for growing the regional economy.

In 2019 PDMS  tendered a successful bid to help Hertfordshire develop digital services which could support their aims to transform the skills and employability landscape in the county.

Circular illustration with Hertfordshire LEP logo and aerial image of Herts County

What challenges are Hertfordshire LEP trying to address?

Skilled workers are one of the biggest contributors to local GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Across the country generally, there is currently a shortage of local skilled people to fill local vacancies, and people often move or commute long distances to find relevant opportunities or training. 

Another challenge is the wealth of careers and training information available to young people, parents, carers and teachers: however much of it may be irrelevant, out of date or just disparate. This is sometimes termed 'information overload'.

For local employers, the challenges are around finding, recruiting and retaining suitably qualified, skilled staff.

Circular illustration with people commuting and information icon

Research phase

PDMS’ unique proposition was to implement our skills and employability platform, SignedUp Skills, which brought the added value of existing tools and resources to the portal.

Alongside the configuration of the platform, we conducted user research and fact-finding sessions with a number of stakeholder groups who collectively hold the key to understanding local skills and employability challenges.

These groups included:

  • Senior managers and teachers from a number of colleges and schools
  • Professionals from recruitment agencies and vocational training provider            
  • CEOs and managers from major regional employers
  • Specialists from YC Herts, a youth services organisation
  • Students and staff at Higher Education Colleges

The user-centred insight gathered in these sessions combined with further discussions with Hertfordshire LEP put us in a great position to focus and plan all aspects of the project including visual design, custom configuration, content strategy, tools and resources.

User research participants in Hertfordshire

The solution

A central aspect of the project was to develop a new brand for the portal and during sessions with local students, the project group hit on the concept of HOP which embodies the original concept (Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal) and also suggests movement and progression.

Our design team went on to develop assets to bring the HOP brand to life alongside the technical configuration of the SignedUp Skills platform.

HOP is a central repository for content and tools, bringing together disparate resources for employers, training providers and jobseekers.

Some of the key features include:

  • Search for opportunities on a county map
  • Discover proven career paths
  • 'Favourite' opportunities
  • Save searches
  • Spotlighting employers who are engaged with recruitment and training

In addition to delivering the portal and dedicated website, we created a brand identity and tone of voice for HOP. Four social media accounts were created to help support the platform and drive awareness in the local area.

Macbook with HOP website homepage


HOP was officially launched in November 2019

  • Within 1 month of launch, brand new social media accounts were delivering 5.5% of all website traffic 
  • Almost 1,200 page views in one week alone on website which has been supported by social media
  • Most popular pages tie into initial objectives supported by social media

4 Social media channels launched

5,000+ visits to website

50 Placements made in the first month