Work starts on new ‘Skills and Learning’ campus within Poole’s Dolphin Centre

A brand-new dedicated Adult Skills and Learning Campus in Poole is a step closer to reality as work is due to begin in the next few days on the new facility. 

BCP Council in partnership with L&G’s Dolphin Centre have joined forces to create the £1.3million campus in the upper floor of the centre, providing a dedicated resource to support local people improve their skills and increase their employment opportunities. 

The Adult Skills and Learning Service, which currently use the Oakdale Learning Centre, 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 new campus is expected to be available for courses from next spring but a phased approach will be taken so some courses will continue to be delivered from Oakdale as needed, until the end of the academic year. 

Councillor Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for Education, said: “It is really pleasing to see work on the new campus begin offering vital opportunities for all adults wishing to retrain, improve their skills and increase their employment opportunities locally. This dedicated campus offers even more people the chance to learn something new in a vibrant and modern setting in the heart of Poole and contributes to our Big Plan objectives to rejuvenate and energise the town centre.” 

The move has come about as a result of the buildings at Oakdale approaching end of life use and needing extensive maintenance.  The new location will create more sustainable and efficient operations across six former retail units of the Dolphin Shopping Centre. It comprises of seven classrooms with IT equipment for employability, Employability Hub, vocational qualifications, digital, professional development, English, maths and well-being courses including two large specialist rooms for beauty, massage, nail technologies, hairdressing and barbering. 

Greg Westover, Fund Head of Retail and Leisure at LGIM Real Assets, which owns the Dolphin Centre, said: “We are pleased to be working with BCP Council to deliver a new adult skills and learning campus in the heart of Poole. The new campus will benefit from being in close proximity to a variety of public transport links and the Dolphin’s diverse retail offering. 

“The opening of the campus is a significant step in LGIM’s wider plans to reimagine the Dolphin Centre, making it a future ready space. We are committed to making great places for people and delivering a retail centre that will further enhance Poole town centre, to create a place of great importance for our local communities. The new campus will sit alongside a multitude of new environments that are already in progress at the Dolphin that focus on coworking, health and wellbeing.” 

Once the move has been completed the existing land in Oakdale will be considered for development of residential homes.