Skills Support for the Workforce

Dorset Skills Survey 2020

16th Jun 2020 Skills Support for the Workforce

Research Identifies the Skills needs of Dorset businesses. 

A research report has been published for Dorset setting out the recommendations for delivering training that meets the needs of local employers.

The research has been commissioned as part of the Skills Support for the Workforce Programme which Serco’s Employment, Skills & Enterprise business manage in Dorset and which is co-financed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and the European Social Fund. The ESFA commissioned Serco to conduct research to understand employers’ skills needs in Dorset as part of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) skills planning.


The findings of the research provided recommendations for training providers and others working in the skills environment to consider as part of their future planning for skills delivery in Dorset in order that it meet current employer needs.  


The report makes the following recommendations for training providers in Dorset to consider:

  • Tailoring training offers to the areas that employers recognise their current and / or future skills gaps lie, and those felt to be having the biggest impact on performance e.g. digital skills, complex analytical, sales and marketing and leadership / managerial.
  • Linked to this, consideration from training providers as to how multiple skills gaps can be tackled simultaneously, which could have benefits for both the employer and the training provider in terms of being more efficient and cost effective. This could mean several training providers working together / collaborating.
  • Some small employers felt that training should be more relevant to them, with some citing their Growth Hub / other business support organisations as good sources of advice and opportunity to develop skills e.g. through their bitesize sessions. Rather than duplicating such activity, training providers could signpost it where appropriate.
  • Many employers reported that training on digital skills isn’t currently appropriate for their needs, though did not elaborate as to why / in what way(s). Given the large proportion of employers citing digital skills as a gap, it may be worth exploring how this training provision could be improved.
  • This research ascertained employers’ views on skills gaps and needs within their organisation, yet organisations (in particular those that do not recognise any skills gaps) may benefit from a skills diagnostic to obtain an external perspective.
  • Survey responses indicated that employers would value more accessible training, whether that be more regional or online versions of existing training. A comprehensive online offer would seem to be essential in the current climate.

Rob Matts, Head of Skills Support for the Workforce said “this is a very important piece of research that we are pleased to have been able to deliver for the LEP on behalf of the ESFA. The findings provide first-hand insights from employers that can guide the skills sector in order it meet the training needs of the diverse business community in Dorset. I would like to personally thank the businesses, training providers and stakeholders that have taken time to contribute to this important piece of work.

The full report for Dorset can be downloaded here


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