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All Systems Go For Adult Learning Merger

Adult learning services across Dorset are merging and will give learners a greater choice of courses across the county.

Bournemouth and Poole's Skills and Learning Service will join forces with Dorset County Council to create a single service from 1 May.

The joint service will offer an enhanced provision to all Dorset residents and by sharing best practice across the service, high quality levels will be maintained and the potential for improvement will be maximised. Administration for the service will be centralised meaning that learners will be able to access courses in all areas of Dorset through a single Customer Service team, giving a wider choice for all.

There will be associated annual savings of at least £700k, but the seven main learning centres will be maintained across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole in addition to the other regular adult learning venues including schools and community centres.

Cllr Judy Butt, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Public Engagement and Participation, Borough of Poole, said: "Following the success of the adult learning merger with Bournemouth Borough Council, we are delighted that the service is being expanded to include Dorset County Council's Adult Learning Service. I am pleased that Borough of Poole are able to sustain important services for our residents by working with our neighbouring partners resulting in wider benefits for all.

"The merger contributes to the aim of all three councils to help to build strong communities for all and to provide innovative and value for money services. The merger will also protect and enrich the health and well-being of the county’s most vulnerable adults and support and encourage the county’s young people to reach their potential and protect those who are most vulnerable."

The management of the new Skills and Learning Service Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole will be carried out by Borough of Poole. Anyone wishing to sign up for a course or find out more about the service should contact 01202 262300 or visit the Skills and Learning website

Cllr Nicola Greene, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services Bournemouth Borough Council, said: "Following the success of Bournemouth and Poole’s merger in 2011, inviting Dorset to join us and share their best practice is the next step to ensure this valuable resource is able to continue."

Paul Leivers, Head of Community Services, Dorset County Council, said: "This is an exciting time. The new merged service will give us the opportunity to work together and provide a more comprehensive, value for money programme of learning across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

"It will also help vulnerable adults, unemployed people or those who need to improve their basic skills and reach their full potential."

The new brochure for the county wide Skills and Learning service will be available from 1 July.