Business - education links

High skills, great collaborative opportunities with leading institutions and a solid foundation of knowledge make Dorset a recipe for a successful business venture. 

Our Local Skills Report highlighted that alignment of business and skills agendas across Dorset is essential for closing the skills gaps and supporting local businesses to develop resilience for the future and grow. If you are a business willing to collaborate for skills in Dorset, the below provides an overview of what is on offer.


Further Education Colleges

FE colleges offer education and training across industries with a range of opportunities from apprenticeships to vocational and higher skills courses. Many of them offer training needs analysis and tailored learning to meet individual business needs. 

  • Bournemouth and Poole College is the largest provider of further education and apprenticeships in Dorset, catering for around 11,000 students. The College collaborates with over 2,000 businesses to deliver an ambitious apprenticeships programme. The College has a focus on engineering, computing, digital, construction, healthcare and business subjects in line with he identified growth and established sectors. It is also working towards the provision of higher skills with around 600 students studying towards degree level qualifications. Fruitful partnerships with a range of universities allow the College to open up opportunities and give access to specialist facilities. Contact Bournemouth and Poole College.
  • Weymouth College is based in the West Dorset Coast with many of its 3,000 students travelling from the surrounding rural areas, specialises in Level 3 and industry-relevant vocational courses and apprenticeships. Key specialist areas include engineering, automotive, manufacturing and construction as well as creative and visual arts. The College also includes the Dorset Centre for the Creative Arts and the Dorset Training Academy working directly with businesses to support their growth needs. Contact the Employer Services team at Weymouth College.
  • Kingston Maurward College is a specialist land-based college offering 750 acres of gardens and practical teaching facilities in the heart of Dorset and is one of the few institutions nationally specialising in applying digital technologies to aquatic and land management. The college offers its 2,000 students work-related training and study, up to and including degree-level, in its specialist areas of agriculture, aquaculture, horticulture and farming. New investments on the estate include the Dorset Studio School offering practical land-based studies, an agri-tech centre and a state-of-the-art Animal Science centre supporting the regional training hub for the Royal Veterinary College, currently the world’s leading vet school. Contact Kingston Maurward College.
  • While outside of Dorset’s geographical boundaries Brockenhurst College and Yeovil College are also in close proximity, expanding the talent pool and collaborative opportunities for employers. The colleges offer access to a collective student body of over 29,000. 


  • Ferndown Upper School is the first in Dorset to offer (from 2022) the digital T-level course – a technical alternative to A Levels, designed with industry experts to make sure students have the skills they need to thrive in the workplace and give businesses the workforce they need to succeed. Find more information and contacts.
  • Yeovil College also offers T-Levels in Digital, Construction, Education and Childcare, Health, Business and Engineering. 
  • Bournemouth & Poole College offer a wide range of T-Levels.
  • For a full list of T-Level providers visit


  • Bournemouth University – a large generalist university with over 19,000 students, offers a wide range of specialisms aligned with the demand of the local economy - from business to subjects allied to medicine and computing. Graduate employment and retention are high on the agenda with 23% of graduates employed in Dorset. BU also offers a range of services to connect employers with graduates, graduands and students, including opportunities to promote employment and professional development opportunities, exhibit at numerous careers fairs and employability-focused workshops. Bournemouth University is in the top three universities in Great Britain for the most undergraduate students on work placements. Collaborate with Bournemouth University
  • Arts University Bournemouth is a leading specialist arts, design, media and performance institution with more than 3,400 students, well known for preparing graduates for direct career entry in the creative industries. It engages with the local employers, community and economy and has an embedded culture of collaboration and entrepreneurialism. The University investments in the latest technology, equipment and facilities has attracted funding to support research and innovation projects with Dorset industry and develop an Innovation Studio to support local start-ups. AUB offers a range of engagement opportunities, including ‘Live Briefs’, staff-led research projects, industry secondments, internships and EU funded innovation projects. Collaborate with Arts University Bournemouth and find out how it supports Dorset businesses.
  • AECC University College - a specialist health sciences institution dedicated to offering world-renowned courses, AECC enrols over 800 students on courses ranging from chiropractic, psychology, sport, exercise and health-science and medical-imaging including: ultrasound and radiology. Collaborate with AECC University College.

Adult community education and independent training providers

  • Adult community education, charity, not-for-profit and commercial independent training and employer providers account for significant proportions of learning for those aged 25+ (30%) as well as over 40% of all the apprenticeships starts in Dorset. They are also key education and skills providers for businesses, but also deliver information advice and guidance, pre-employment support, coaching, Special Educational Needs support, internships, study programmes, traineeships, apprenticeships, community learning, and skills support for the workforce.
  • Collaborate with Skills & Learning Adult Community Education
  • Collaborate with Independent Training Providers


Want to collaborate but don’t know where to start? 

  • Our case studies offer some creative ideas to make the most of Dorset’s talent pool. 
  • Discuss your needs with an independent advisor by making an enquiry and Dorset LEP’s specialist skills brokerage service will be in touch and help put together an action plan to support you.

Contact us if you are already working in collaboration and would like your case study or event featured.