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<https://www.dorsetlep.co.uk/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.
Business leaders from across Dorset joined forces for the county’s first Town Chamber Conference in Dorchester.
Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) staged the event at Kingston Maurward College as bonds continue to grow between the business groups.
DCCI, the voice of business in Dorset, welcomed speakers from the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Dorset Councils Partnership (DCP) at the conference.
DCCI chief executive Ian Girling said: “It was an incredibly worthwhile event which showed the strength of the chamber movement and business across the whole of Dorset.
“We had some positive discussions, shared information and explored ways we could continue to work together for the benefit of the local economy and the community.
“As chambers we are stronger together, and working more closely in this way gives us a more influential voice locally, regionally and nationally.”
Chambers at the conference included Bournemouth, Bridport, Broadstone, Dorchester, Ferndown, Lyme Regis, Poole, Swanage, Verwood and Weymouth and Portland.
DCP chief executive Matt Prosser and strategic director Martin Hamilton outlined challenges and plans for the local economy.
LEP interim director Rob Dunford set out the organisation’s achievements and set out strategies for driving further investment in Dorset.
Other speakers included Donna Wilson from sponsors A-One Insurance Group, which includes PJ Aiken, and DCCI president Vincent Boni.
Mr Boni said: “The role of chambers is vitally important in pulling together the business community, giving them coherence and scale.
“Without chambers there is no voice for the business community and it was great to see the support for all business networks at the conference.”
DCCI, which is Dorset’s leading business support organisation, invited all county chambers to the conference, including those who are members of its affiliation programme.
It is the only chamber in the county accredited to the British Chambers of Commerce, which offers DCCI and local chambers influence in the corridors of power at Westminster.
DCCI has also formed the Dorset Business Alliance with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) to tackle issues at a strategic level.
Visit www.dcci.co.uk for more about joining a chamber of commerce.