Skills Support for the Workforce

Skin Deep sets sail for success with fully funded training from Skills Support for the Workforce

Skin Deep Boat

Skin Deep is a long standing scuba diving charter company offering all-inclusive diving holidays and experiences for club divers across the UK. 

The company manager Ian Taylor focuses on the commercial side of the business, while Diving and Leisure Manager Oona Spencer runs the front of office and leisure side, including dive bookings, payments, trip organisation and accounts. With a long list of diving achievements, Ian Taylor skippers the company’s 11m catamaran dive boat which operates out of Portland Marina in Dorset. 

The team of two was approached by Weymouth College to inform them about fully funded training available through the Skills Support for the Workplace programme. Ian and Oona immediately saw the opportunity this training offered in allowing them to streamline their business and to develop their online services including sales, payments and booking systems.

Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) is a programme developed to upskill employees within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SSW provides recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses to enhance employees’ skills, increase the competitiveness of businesses and boost local economies. Serco delivers the programme through a network of skills training providers, including Weymouth College, on behalf of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). SSW is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. 

Following a Training Needs Analysis it was identified that digital marketing could be taken to the next level to support the business grow. Competitor research revealed that no other dive company in the South West was utilising an app for marketing and it was identified as important in giving Skin Deep a competitive edge.

Ian and Oona completed the Level 1 Mobile Phone App Award to assist with developing their own mobile application. Oona also completed the Level 2 Digital Promotion for Business course. The training was a computer-based distant learning package supported by an assessor, allowing them to work at their own pace and fit in with the demands of their work and commitments. 

Oona Spencer, Diving and Leisure Manager, Skin Deep Ltd, said:

“The training has improved my confidence greatly and has given me not only the skills to understand effective marketing but also provided the company with a working app that has significantly contributed to our business expansion planning. I have been able to take on more responsibility in a constructive and meaningful way which fits in with the company’s vision for the future. 

“The changes and developments over the coming year are exciting and I look forward to streamlining and consolidating what this company delivers based on what we are good at. With the closure of our shop and the development of our online sales and digital presence, we can really sell the Skin Deep brand. We can also improve the service offered to our customers, both new ones and long standing loyal ones through a better booking system and better diving information.”

Debra Pattinson, Weymouth College said: 

“I am so proud Skin Deep and Oona in particular. Oona has very clearly understood the value of the training and how it can make her life easier. She fully understands that change is positive when you have a clear vision of where you want to go. Despite the difficulties Oona has with her dyslexia she does not use it as an excuse. She is always positive and has very keenly taken advice and support.

“The computer based learning was a big help in that she could take her time to understand what was being asked for without the pressure of other learners. Plus, the training is based on small bite size chunks of information on many pages all interactively linked so Oona was never faced with pages and pages of words and confusing paragraphs. When Oona passed the whole office cheered.” 

To find out about accessing fully funded training for employees through the Skills Support for the Workforce programme, businesses can contact


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