Public Sector

Published: October 30, 2020 | Updated: October 31, 2020

BCP Council unveil plans to site new Skills Shop campus in six units at Poole’s Dolphin Centre

By Andrew Diprose, editor

A Skills Shop campus could be housed in Poole’s main shopping centre.

Plans to relocate Oakdale Learning Centre to six units in the Dolphin Centre are to be discussed at a meeting of BCP Council’s Cabinet on November 11.

The Adult Skills and Learning service currently use the Oakdale Learning Centre, pictured right.

It is one of 60 Skills and Learning sites across Dorset which provide employability, vocational, well-being and leisure learning opportunities for more than 5,600 learners and 130 employers.

But the buildings at Oakdale are in need of essential maintenance works and a replacement has been recommended to ensure the service is provided in a safe environment.

According to the council, the new location will create more sustainable and efficient operations in a newly adapted town centre building.

The existing land in Oakdale will be considered for development of residential homes.

BCP Council say the Skills Shop campus in Dolphin Centre will enhance the vibrancy of Poole town centre by increasing footfall and offer local residents access to employability and enterprise skills.

They include retraining opportunities for those who may have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis in a convenient and accessible location with good public transport links.

Residents will be able to access courses including Maths, English, vocational and digital skills, a Job Club, well-being and professional development training for un/underemployed people and those with the greatest barriers to learning and work.

The proposed Skills shop campus will occupy six units in the Dolphin Centre.

It will comprise eight classrooms with IT equipment for employability, Job Club, vocational qualifications, digital, professional development, English, maths and well-being courses including two large specialist rooms for beauty, massage, nail technologies, hairdressing and barbering.

Cllr Philip Broadhead, Portfolio holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning, pictured left, said: “I’m extremely excited that we’re bringing the new Adult Skills and Learning site to the Dolphin Centre.

“By relocating this excellent service right into the heart of the high street, we hope that this will enhance opportunities for links with local businesses which will help learners into jobs, work placements or volunteering.

“Furthermore, we anticipate that the central location will continue the work to energise Poole town centre with a dynamic and vibrant Skills Shop campus, adding another piece in the jigsaw of the regeneration of Poole.”

Cllr Nicola Greene, Portfolio holder for Covid Resilience, Public Health and Education said: “The effects of Covid-19 on employment in the area has been experienced by many local residents.

“The new Skills Shop campus will be a valuable asset to those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs and will provide exciting opportunities to all residents who want to access learning or retrain.”