New Skills Shop campus planned for Poole town centre

Plans for the relocation of the Oakdale Learning Centre to a Skills Shop campus in the town centre of Poole will be discussed at Cabinet on Wednesday 11 November.

The Adult Skills and Learning service currently use the Oakdale Learning Centre. It is one of 60 Skills and Learning sites across Dorset which provide employability, vocational, well-being and leisure learning opportunities for over 5,600 learners and 130 employers.

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


The Skills Shop campus in Dolphin Centre will enhance the vibrancy of Poole town centre by increasing footfall and offering local residents access to employability and enterprise skills, including retraining opportunities for those who may have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis in a convenient and accessible location with excellent 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. These valuable training opportunities for those who may have recently lost their jobs, low skilled adults and people in jobs without training will reduce unemployment, increase progression into well paid jobs and improve health & wellbeing.

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

Councillor Philip Broadhead, Portfolio holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning 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.”

Councillor 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.”

The new location will contribute towards the council’s ongoing commitment to the promotion of lifelong learning by maintaining the delivery of adult community education in Poole.