employment and skills support

If you’re looking for a job, returning to work, considering your next career move, or upgrading your skills and qualifications, this collection of local and national employment and skills support is aimed to help you along the way.

We recognise these are very challenging times for employers and job seekers. Economic uncertainty has caused employers to pause new recruitment, while many workers are on furlough or facing redundancy with particular concerns for young people entering the workplace for the first time.

Yet, there are jobs, learning opportunities and support available in Dorset and Dorset LEP is working with local authorities, government and businesses to enable economic recovery. Our Skills Advisory Panel & Board – a group of local employers, educators, and policy makers will play a crucial role in ensuring the skills agenda is part of the recovery plans in the region.


Employer: need help with employment and redundancy?

Coronavirus has meant that employers have had to rapidly adapt their practices to ensure business continuity and safety of their staff. Here you can find guidance and support so that your business benefits from diverse and talented workforce in Dorset, and responds effectively to the coronavirus measures. Part of this response for some businesses unfortunately might involve redundancies to maintain business viability and you can find ways to adjust your procedures below.

Managing employment and working conditions

Recruiting, employing and developing your staff

Considering redundancies

  • Understand how the Job Retention Scheme impacts on redundancy procedures with this Covid-19 redundancy guide from CIPD
  • Manage staff redundancy - Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
  • Help your employees get straight back into work with the Jobcentre Plus ‘Rapid Response Service’- email rrs.enquiries@dwp.gov.uk and include your contact details, town and postcode of your business and the location of the redundancies
  • Contact Jobcentre Plus on matters regarding redundancy – Jobcentre Plus contacts  

Skills support for redundancy - funded support if you are facing the prospect of making hard decisions about staff redundancy - Serco Skills Support for Redundancy


Employee: Uncertain about my job future and getting back to work

To respond to the challenges of coronavirus, we all have started adapting to new ways of living and working. Many have continued working from home while juggling home schooling and caring responsibilities, while workplaces have remained closed with employees on furlough or facing redundancy. The below guidance and support has been collected to help you consider you options.

  • Guidance is you are working or on furlough during coronavirus pandemic-guidance from  gov.uk
  • Concerned about possible redundancy – advice on your rights, benefits and mid-life MOT-Useful information from Jobcentre Plus
  • Advice if you lose your job - National Careers Service Advice
  • Employment benefits and support - Department for Work & Pensions
  • Help with next steps after redundancy gov.uk
  • Gain new skills – go to the section Want to build up my confidence, retrain or gain new skills
  • Start your job search – go to the section Looking for work, apprenticeship or work experience

Upskill: Want to build up confidence, retrain or gain new skills?

Whatever your situation, maintaining your work readiness and gaining new skills in line with what local employers are looking for is critical to safeguard your own future and help with the economic recovery. Start with a careers and skills self-assessment and choose from a wide range of virtual and classroom courses below.

Careers and skills self-assessment

Develop your digital and general skills

The digital innovation seen as a result of the lockdown has been a stark example of how important even basic digital skills are to provide access to learning, remote working opportunities, and allow staying in touch and connect with others. Moreover, in our recent skills survey of Dorset employers, 56% identified at least one skills gap within their existing workforce and the most commonly reported gaps were largely in digital, technical and/or complex analytical skills. The following virtual learning resources offer a flexible opportunity to develop and demonstrate the skills and attributes local employers need.

  • Access free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses from the comfort of your home with The Skills Toolkit
  • Join short courses covering a spectrum of industries and subject areas from data science or programming to entrepreneurship and a broad range of cross-sector soft skills such as building resilience, communication skills as well as digital literacy – Person Education UK Learns
  • Assess and build up your employability skills, explore careers, training and work options with a range of resources tailored to you - Virtual tools for students, teachers, parents

Take your career to the next level with a new course

Choose from hundreds of high quality courses from the excellent universities, colleges and adult training providers in Dorset. They offer world-leading expertise in areas such as health sciences, arts, design, software, tourism, environment, engineering, visual effects, computer animation, fashion, architecture, graphics and many more.

Get help with your digital skills and inquiries

The following local services can help with your digital enquiries:

Digital Hotline in Dorset - for any digital enquiry, wherever you are in Dorset, ring 01305 221000 and select option 2 between 10:00 and 12:00 or leave a message and your phone number and one of the 75 volunteer Digital Champions will get back to you and help with any digital enquiry you might have. 

Opportunity: Looking for work, apprenticeship or work experience?

There are hundreds of high quality job opportunities advertised in Dorset. Start by searching the current vacancies online, find out what tailored support might be available to you and consider starting an apprenticeship or becoming self-employed. While looking for a job is always stressful, My Dorset Mind is a wonderful way to take a breath and relax while enjoying our beautiful countryside virtually.

Start your job search

Get additional employment support

Kick-start your new career with an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship allows you to work & earn while you learn - if you are 16+, an apprenticeship offers you a direct entry into a career. Despite the uncertainty, many companies in Dorset still offer apprenticeship opportunities.

Consider self-employment

Make your project or business idea a reality – support if you are 15+, unemployed and have the right to work in the UK from Inspire Dorset