Member News & Events

Dorset LEP invests in education

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (Dorset LEP) has allocated just over £1.3 million of Local Growth Funding to three local colleges and a university in Dorset – a significant local investment in our young people.

Dorset LEP’s investment will work to address key skills gaps and unlock talent and ambition across our local communities, supporting valued economic activity, as outlined in our emerging Local Industrial Strategy<>.

Lorna Carver, Dorset LEP Director, said: “Increasing the local education skills offering and competitiveness is of great importance in consolidating Dorset as a great place to learn, and then work. In particular, these four projects demonstrate investment in    the areas of arts, land-based studies and engineering & manufacturing.”

Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) will receive £51,000 for the purchase of new laptops and a bespoke locker unit from which further education students will be able to loan the computers, giving students free access to specialist Mac laptops fitted with the latest creative industry standard software. This project is expected to be operational in March 2020, it will upskill AUB students as well as support local creative industry businesses seeking skilled employees.

Kingston Maurward College (KMC), Dorchester, have been allocated £111,000 to build an Outdoor Education Centre and undertake college refurbishment works. The new centre will include a bouldering climbing wall which is a teaching resource and commercial asset. By late 2020, the land-based education college will have this new centre, a refurbished commercial kitchen and improved access roads.

Weymouth College will introduce an Engineering Centre of Excellence to Dorset thanks to a £605,000 investment, which will vastly improve advanced engineering teaching capabilities by paying for state-of-the-art equipment. Plans include a new digital media suite, allowing students to develop computer-aided-design and modelling skills. There are also plans to advance the College’s Electrical Engineering Centre at their Poundbury Campus, as well as the machinery and IT equipment available within the Centre of Excellence for Motor Vehicle Technology project recently completed, also supported by Dorset LEP.

Finally, £610,000 of skills funding from Dorset LEP will support Bournemouth & Poole College (BPC) in further establishing an Engineering Centre of Excellence in Dorset by increasing their engineering & manufacturing offering. This will involve the refurbishment of an existing building on Fulcrum Business Park for engineering and advanced manufacturing skills training and the creation of a workspace construction hub at BCP College’s North Road campus.

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Have your say in shaping Dorset’s economic future

Dorset LEP

Businesses across Dorset are being encouraged to get involved in shaping the future of the County by attending a series of consultation events.

The Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is working on a Local Industrial Strategy, which will set out how Dorset can achieve its ambition for economic growth.
Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is hosting its first round of consultation events on the county’s new Local Industrial Strategy (LIS). The strategy will outline how Dorset LEP will work in partnership with the local business community and anchor institutions to deliver economic growth, prosperity and productivity in Dorset.

Dorset LEP is actively seeking the views of all Dorset business and industry leaders or groups that represent industry sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, tourism, creative technology, finance or agriculture to inform the LIS.

The consultation events take place next month in North, West and South East Dorset and will outline Dorset LEP’s work on the Local Industrial Strategy to date and the opportunities it brings for the local economy.

Event participants will have the opportunity to help shape Dorset’s economic future by identifying how the county can maximise its opportunities and address its challenges. The overarching aim of the LIS is to ensure that economic growth and prosperity are accelerated and benefit all Dorset’s businesses and people.

The consultation events take place on:

Light breakfast refreshments will be provided at each of the events. Bookings can be made through Eventbrite or Dorset LEP website.

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Dorset LEP is working collaboratively with government to develop our Local Industrial Strategy. It will be our joint plan for creating exciting, well-paid jobs in new industries, and up-skilling and increasing competitiveness in our key employment sectors. It will set out how we will build on our unique strengths and opportunities, and capitalise on the creativity of our people, to create a more productive, innovative, inclusive and sustainable economy.”

Lorna Carver ,Director Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Dorset’s Local Industrial Strategy will be our local response to government’s National Industrial Strategy. It will be a framework for aligning local and national decision-making and investment to create a more inclusive economy where all residents and businesses can contribute to, and benefit from, growth.”

Dorset LEP will be working very closely with central Government on the Local Industrial Strategy, helping to drive investment to Dorset, create long-term jobs and support continued economic growth.

Further opportunities for engagement will follow ahead of the strategy launch in autumn 2019.

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South West Local Enterprise Partnerships’ new Rural Productivity Commission seeks views from rural businesses.


The South West Rural Productivity Commission has been established as a partnership by four LEPs in the south west of England: The Heart of the South West (HotSW LEP), Dorset LEP, Swindon & Wiltshire (SWLEP), Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly (CIoS LEP) to explore the issues around rural productivity and growth.

Today launches the open call for written evidence with the deadline of 12 May, and for expressions of interest to take part one of a series of evidence hearings in June.

These south west LEPs recognise the importance of rural growth, productivity and prosperity being tackled alongside urban growth, to ensure that improvements impact on all parts of the economy.

The commission is set up to hear and review evidence from a range of sources and stakeholders, and aims to:

–        Frame the south west response to the Industrial Strategy and forthcoming DEFRA 25 year plans for ‘food, farming and fisheries’ and ‘environment’

–        Draw out the opportunities for the south west and individual LEPs to drive rural productivity improvements

–        Understand the wider economic functioning between rural and urban to identify opportunities to drive growth across the whole area

–        Secure Government support for specific initiatives in the 2017 autumn statement

–        Influence national and local policies where appropriate to improve rural productivity

The commission will report to the chairs of the four LEPs that have committed to the process, and it will be chaired by David Fursdon, Chair of the SW Rural and Farming Network and supported by nominated representatives from each LEP area.

The commission will collect and review evidence through the current call for written evidence by 12 May, followed by a series of evidence hearings in June across the four LEP areas (which will be open to the public and further announcements will be made on dates and venues) and a final report at the end of July.


Businesses and interested stakeholders can submit written evidence to the secretariat of the commission, Emma Buckman at: by the 12 May.

More information about the scope of the commission and key lines of enquiry can be found at the following website

Those wishing to present evidence in person at the evidence hearings are asked to complete this short on-line expression of interest form:

Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“Building on our distinctive assets and valuing the rural economy as a driver for growth is key to the Heart of the South West’s Strategic Economic Plan. As we define our new Productivity Plan over the coming months, we need to gather evidence from rural communities to ensure that our future plans fully recognise the opportunities in this sector.

“I urge businesses and organisations involved in the rural economy to take part in the South West Rural Productivity Commission’s call for evidence.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly LEP said:

“The rural economy is extremely important to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and we value our natural assets which contribute to the area’s success as a leading tourism destination.

“Our local businesses create an economy that balances growth with the preservation of the landscape alongside development of our natural capital, and I hope that many of them will take part in this review so that our joint LEP partnership can address the real issues and opportunities that these businesses face.”

Gordon Page, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“Rural enterprise makes a significant contribution to the Dorset economy both in specific localities and to the county as a whole. A key part of our vision is for strong growth across rural Dorset therefore it is important for us to be alert to opportunity, need and aspiration as well as some of the barriers to growth.

“By providing evidence, rural businesses can help us to better understand and address some of the issues around rural productivity across the south west region.”

John Mortimer, Chairman of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) said:

“Swindon and Wiltshire has a vast rural landscape, with an UNESCO world heritage site and Areas of Natural Beauty that offer a great opportunity for rural business growth. The rural economy is vibrant with businesses in agriculture, tourism, food and drink processing to name a few who create skilled jobs, innovative products and also export abroad.

“Through the South West Rural Productivity Commission’s call for evidence, we look forward to hearing from these businesses on the challenges and opportunities they recognise would shape the future of the rural economy in the area and the South West region.”

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Major economic boost for Dorset as Enterprise Zone opens for business


  • Site renamed as Dorset Innovation Park
  • Aims to create 2,000 new jobs and dozens of new businesses for Dorset over the next 25 years
  • Joint partnership between Dorset LEP, Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council to create new cluster of excellence in advanced engineering
  • Announcement comes during national launch of 12 new enterprise zone sites that are going live across the UK today

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is pleased to announce Dorset’s new Enterprise Zone as open and ready for business.

Dorset Innovation Park in Winfrith is the second largest employment site in the Dorset LEP area. The site already hosts two world leaders in defence technology – QinetiQ and Atlas Elektronik UK – and will now become a major focus for the economic regeneration of South Dorset and a vital stimulus for employment.

Dorset Innovation Park is a single site, accommodating 56 hectares of employment land. It follows major public sector redevelopment of the former Dorset Green Technology Park by Purbeck District Council, Dorset County Council and Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Having undertaken enabling investment, the HCA is now transferring the site to the local Councils who, working with Dorset LEP will take forward the delivery of the Enterprise Zone.

Dorset Innovation Park is being marketed internationally, nationally and locally as an advanced engineering cluster of excellence for the South West, building on strengths in marine, defence and energy. It is expected to facilitate 2,000 new jobs and attract dozens of new businesses to the area.

Enterprise Zones are part of the Government’s strategy to help businesses grow. Hosted by Local Enterprise Partnerships, they provide commercial and industrial businesses with incentives to set up or expand.

Having Enterprise Zone status means that businesses who locate to Dorset Innovation Park will be able to benefit from up to five years of business rate reductions and access to new ultrafast broadband within 12 months. Any business rates collected on the new development will be reinvested in the site over a 25 year period. It is envisioned there will be in the region of £30m of retained business rates to be invested in improving the site and local infrastructure.

The construction of 20 new employment units on the site is already underway as part of a £2.8m project by Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council, including £600,000 secured by Dorset LEP via the Government’s Local Growth Fund. These are due for completion in October 2017 and will be fully serviced and let to businesses on ‘easy in, easy out’ terms.

Local Growth Minister Andrew Percy said “Our modern Industrial Strategy is about creating the right environment for businesses to grow. The 12 new Enterprise Zones will help make sure this happens across the country.

“The new Dorset Enterprise Zone will build on the area’s expertise to establish a hub for advanced engineering. The zone is a key part of our Plan for Britain to create a stronger economy.”

Gordon Page, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Dorset Innovation Park is a key strategic employment site for Dorset LEP and its success is an important element in working towards the objectives set out in our strategic economic vision for Dorset.

“Achieving Enterprise Zone status has enabled much needed extra employment land to be freed up, both for existing companies on the site which are actively looking to expand and for companies across Dorset which are struggling to find space. Dorset LEP is very pleased to launch Dorset Innovation Park as an attractive place to come and do business.”

John Sutcliffe, Dorset LEP Board Member and Business Development Director for Atlas Elektronik UK, which plans to expand its current operations at the site, said: “The investment in the Winfrith site is an exciting opportunity for the continued growth and sustainability of advanced engineering in Dorset. Winfrith is already a centre of excellence for innovation with good communication links and a very attractive work life balance. This investment will give other likeminded companies the opportunity to experience the same international success as Atlas Elektronik UK. 

Steve Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Purbeck District Council, said: “Securing the future of Dorset Innovation Park is our number one economic development priority, so I am delighted that Enterprise Zone status has been secured for the site, which will help realise its significant potential.”

For further information please contact Charlotte Knight, Dorset LEP Communications Manager at or call 01202 962719.

Businesses looking to invest in the site should contact:

Jonathan Sibbett

Jayne Sharman

Tel: 01202 661177

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£19.5 million cash boost for Dorset to help create local jobs and growth

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today announced a government cash boost of £19.5 million for Dorset to help create jobs, support businesses and encourage growth.

Some of the locally-chosen projects likely to benefit over the next few years include:

  • A new business district in Lansdowne;
  • Transport improvements in Gillingham to unlock further housing developments; and
  • A new housing development at Holes Bay in Poole.

These, alongside other projects, will improve skills, create jobs, build homes and improve infrastructure.

This latest award of Local Growth Funding is on top of £79 million of Growth Deals funding already awarded to Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. This will see jobs created, homes built and extra investment.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“As part of efforts to deliver an economy that works for everyone, the government is equipping local people with the resources they need to drive forward local growth.”

“That’s why we’re giving £19.5 million of new money to Dorset to give businesses the support and opportunities they need to achieve their potential. This is on top of the £79 million we have already awarded.”

Local Growth Minister Andrew Percy said:

“Today’s £19.5 million investment will support the delivery of new homes and jobs right across the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership.”

“These growth deals are a crucial part of our efforts to create an economy that works for everyone, and will ensure every region of the country has the chance to realise its full potential.”


Gordon Page, Chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“We submitted an ambitious business plan to accelerate economic growth across Dorset and are pleased to have been awarded £19.5 million to deliver a range of projects to fuel long-term growth across the county. This vote of confidence by the Government reflects our county’s economic potential and firmly places Dorset on the world map as an outstanding place to do business.”

“We now look forward to focusing on the important task of implementing these projects for Dorset and creating new jobs, stimulating private sector investment, driving business expansion and creating a better skilled workforce.”


Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, said:

“I am thrilled with this announcement. Having made the case for Bournemouth, this funding means my constituency will get a major boost as a result of these projects. The Lansdowne is a major opportunity for commercial revival and growth, whilst every driver will welcome work to ease the nightmare that is the Wallisdown Road. And the support for Bournemouth University will further lock in its role as a major driver in the economy of Dorset and a critical asset to Bournemouth which is the economic powerhouse of the county.”


Creating an economy that works for everyone

The £12 billion Local Growth Fund provides local leaders with the cash they need to support locally determined projects.  Under the fund, England’s 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships – made up of council leaders and business representatives – bid for investments based on local priorities.

Bids are highly competitive and to be successful, Local Enterprise Partnerships need to work with partners to agree strong and accountable governance and put forward proposals that boost growth and bring in private sector funding.

Over £9 billion of the Local Growth Fund has now been awarded to LEPs through three rounds of Growth Deals, helping more than 1,000 projects get started across England already – this is supporting vital infrastructure, improving skills and creating thousands of jobs. Together with money for unlocking housing sites to support home building and investment in very large transport schemes – both announced in 2016 – we have fulfilled our commitment to a £12 billion Local Growth Fund.

In Dorset this has already:

  • Supported the major rebuild of the A338, a nine-month long £22 million project. Dorset County Council was responsible for delivering the A338 project on time and on budget. It was one of the greenest road maintenance projects in the country;
  • Delivered £900,000 of Growth Deal funding at Kingston Maurward College to build a purpose-built facility comprising an agricultural classroom, an IT suite, a high spec workshop and machinery facilities including a fleet of tractors, plough, sprayer and variable rate drill; and
  • Enhanced Bournemouth University’s Orthopaedic Research Institute with £700,000 of Growth Deal funding to purchase a range of equipment, such as the new world-class orthopaedic gait analysis laboratory – the ‘GRAIL’ (gait real-time analysis interactive laboratory) – and state-of-the-art virtual reality training equipment.

Now this latest award will help do even more to benefit the lives of local people across the area.  New projects include:

  • Work to increase international investment in, and business at, the ground-breaking Orthopaedic Research Institute at Bournemouth University;
  • Providing match funding for key capital enhancements to Dorset tourist attractions, boosting productivity by increasing visitor numbers, stay and spend;
  • Wallisdown Connectivity, a significant upgrade to the major Bournemouth-Poole commuter road which connects the two University Campuses to Poole, and suffers from congestion at peak times;
  • Transforming the Lansdowne area of Bournemouth into a major new business district through a package of infrastructure and urban realm improvements;
  • Gillingham Access to Growth – transport infrastructure improvements to unlock housing and employment developments; and
  • Holes Bay, enabling the release of a major housing site in Poole, delivering up to 1,350 new homes.


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Supporting Dorset’s Economic Growth – Future Housing Provision

In the same week that the UK government has announced its ambitious proposals to help fix the UK’s housing market, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) today launches an independent study into future housing provision in Dorset.

Set against the backdrop of the housing white paper released earlier this week, Dorset LEP’s study ‘Supporting Dorset’s Economic Growth – Future Housing Provision’ investigates housing provision, key Issues and future options from a local perspective. The report outlines a number of recommendations to help accelerate housing delivery across Dorset such as greater public sector intervention, promoting the private rented sector and increasing the capacity of the construction industry.

Download Dorset LEP’s report ‘Support Dorset’s Economic Growth – Future Housing Provision’.

The provision of housing is an important enabler of local economic growth by helping to attract and retain a skilled workforce. Dorset’s economic growth relies on being able to provide housing across the full price range and of different size and type.  However, housing affordability and availability continue to act as key barriers for local employers.

House prices in Dorset are exceptionally high in proportion to wages. In a recent study the town of Bournemouth was found to be one of the least affordable places to live in the world, with the price of a home ranking 8.9 times higher than the median annual household income of the area.

Responding to these challenges, Dorset LEP commissioned an independent study to conduct further investigation into housing provision in Dorset and to help identify opportunities both for funding and accelerating delivery.

This is in line with one of the LEP’s strategic priorities in helping to better understand the impact of housing on growth potential in Dorset.

Dorset LEP board member Andrea Smith, who sits on the Dorset LEP Housing Sub-group, said: “We were really interested in looking at the links between housing and economic growth, particularly its effect on attracting and retaining staff. We hope this study and the opportunities described by the government’s white paper this week, will enable developers, planners, land owners and policy holders to work together with the LEP to achieve Dorset’s vision for a sufficient supply of affordable housing. “

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Dorset LEP supports careers advice initiative

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership has signed a £100k grant agreement with the Careers & Enterprise Company to deliver an ‘Enterprise Adviser Network’ for 40 schools and colleges across Dorset.

The Enterprise Adviser Network inspires and motivates young people about potential career choices and supports them to make informed choices about their future.

40 schools and colleges across Dorset will receive their own ‘Enterprise Adviser1’ who will work directly with the school’s leadership team to develop employer engagement plans and work with local businesses to equip young people with the skills they need for the future.

Dorset’s Enterprise Adviser Network will be facilitated by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership. It will be delivered in partnership with Dorset County Council and Bournemouth and Poole Borough Councils, who have contributed and gained additional investment from partners across Dorset.

Geoffrey Smith, chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s Employment and Skills Board said:

“Education and skills are crucial to not only supporting economic growth but also promoting career choices and opportunities.  We are committed to reducing Dorset’s skills gap – one way to achieve this is by improving careers education, information, advice and guidance at schools. Young people embarking on their careers need to know what skills are needed to match those required by future employees.  The Enterprise Adviser Network will ensure that Dorset’s students receive high quality advice about the skills, qualifications and training they need to achieve their career ambitions.”

Dorset LEP has started a recruitment drive for Enterprise Advisers (EAs) for the network.  Business people interested in this voluntary position should email Katherine May

To read more information about Dorset’s Enterprise Advisor Network visit

More information about Careers & Enterprise Company’s Enterprise Advisor Network here.


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Bournemouth & Poole College’s new Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing facilities unveiled

14 October 2016: Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership officially opened Bournemouth & Poole College’s newly refurbished Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing facilities which received a major upgrade thanks to a £565,150 investment secured by Dorset LEP through the Dorset Growth Deal*1.

The works, which significantly enhance the quality of the facilities and learning environment as well as reduce the building’s carbon footprint and increase its energy efficiency, included:

–          cladding of external walls, replacements of windows (UPVC double glazed energy efficient units), roof repairs and new lighting

–          classroom renovations including upgrades to the:

o   welding bay facility with the addition of 16 new welding bays

o   motor vehicle practical teaching area including tyre changing facilities

o   motorcycle maintenance practical area

–          investment in the lathe and milling areas, AutoCAD classrooms and 3D printing facilities.

Gordon Page, chairman of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership said, “We are delighted to launch these excellent facilities, funding for which has been secured by Dorset LEP through the Dorset Growth Deal.  It is paramount that our educational establishments are able to respond to the increasing demand from local employers for highly skilled engineering and advanced manufacturing personnel.  Bournemouth and Poole College’s newly refurbished Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing block will help to improve Dorset’s education and training, creating a more highly skilled and educated workforce, which in turn will boost productivity and employment in the region.”

Diane Grannell, Principal of Bournemouth & Poole College said, “Over the last couple of years, we have spent around £1.3m on buildings and equipment for Engineering.  We are particularly grateful to Dorset LEP for providing the capital funding to cover almost half of that amount.  This has enabled the external refurbishment of this entire building and the internal refurbishment of the main Engineering workshop.

“I feel proud of this project which is another public demonstration of our college’s commitment to supporting not only the Engineering sector, but the whole STEM agenda in Dorset.”

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership anticipates the funding at Bournemouth & Poole College’s advanced manufacturing and engineering facilities will lead to:

–          the creation of 30 direct jobs, 120 indirect and 20 construction jobs.

–          training 354 engineering apprentices and 227 full time students annually.

Local council and board members, educational providers and leading businesses were invited to attend the official opening and to look around the facilities. They were given an interactive tour which included a Pit Stop Challenge, Model Robotics Demonstration, Display of Marine Navigation and a Computer Numerical Control Presentation.


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