Career and workforce skills

Our ambition for Dorset is that by 2038, Dorset’s workforce will be highly productive, aspirational and agile so that the talents of all contribute to prosperity, well-being and innovation.

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Our vision is for a high-skilled workforce, meeting the needs of Dorset’s growing economy and priority sectors. We want our working-age population to become better skilled and more productive so that our future economic growth is driven by greater worker productivity rather than relying on workforce growth.

Dorset 2020 Employer Skills Survey

At the start of 2020, we reached out to employers to understand their skills and workforce needs and identify any gaps that are setting back their ambitions to grow and innovate in Dorset. In total, 242 Dorset Employers from a range of sectors and sizes responded to the survey. Read the full story: Dorset LEP identify local skills gaps

Find the full Dorset 2020 Employer Skills Survey Report and Dashboard on our Labour Market and Skills Research page.

How we help

We are helping businesses to work closely with education and training providers to:

  • Ensure that residents have the right skills to fill the jobs that are available
  • Ensure that businesses identify the skills that they need
  • Ensure that residents can access training opportunities
  • Support the growth of higher and further education institutions, to provide the skills that businesses need


Achieving world-beating productivity is one of the UK Government’s main economic priorities and involves:

  • A highly skilled workforce
  • Leading universities
  • High-quality science and innovation
  • Increased pay
  • Increased workforce participation

Dorset currently has below average productivity and most parts of Dorset are less competitive than the national average. In general, earnings are below the national average. 

Demographic of Dorset

Dorset already has high levels of employment and a high economic activity rate within the working age population. However, the area’s working age population (those aged 16 to 64), forms a smaller proportion of the population than the national average.

The overall population is projected to grow in the future, but with little growth in the working age population. There will be future demand for workers to replace those who are leaving the workforce (e.g. through retirement), as well as workers to satisfy the growth needs.

Dorset has three further education institutions, Bournemouth & Poole CollegeKingston Maurward College and Weymouth College and three higher education institutions, Arts University BournemouthBournemouth University and AECC University College. 

Our work in this area includes:

The Skills Board and Skills Advisory Panel is one of Dorset LEP's strategic committees responsible for planning for skills' demands and needs and influencing appropriate responses.  

Dorset LEP is working with Career and Enterprise Company to develop a Dorset wide Enterprise Adviser Network. Its purpose is to create powerful, lasting connections between local businesses and the schools and colleges in their area. The network is intended to inspire and motivate young people and support them to make informed choices about their future. More info…

Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW)

Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) is a programme developed to up-skill employees within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Dorset. More info...