DORSET will have one of 20 new “careers hubs” aimed at better linking young people with the world of work.

Forty schools and colleges will work with the county’s universities, training providers, careers experts and employers to improve careers support.

Dorset Careers Hub will be managed by a full-time lead officer working with a team of enterprise coordinators – including a designated coordinator for Weymouth and Portland, which is deemed Dorset’s most deprived area.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) led the bid to create a careers hub and will match-fund the money set aside for a Weymouth and Portland coordinator.

The county will receive £150,000 a year plus training bursaries to run the hub.

Jim Stewart, the chair of Dorset LEP, said: “We worked closely with stakeholders on this bid, including our delivery partners BCP Council and Dorset Council.

“Research shows that providing young people with gold standard careers advice and employer encounters helps them ‘touch their future’.

“The Dorset Careers Hub will fast-track this support to 40,000 young people.”

There will be a central fund to support activities which engage young people with employers, including money ring-fenced for Weymouth and Portland.

There will also be training for existing careers leaders in schools and colleges.

The Wimborne-based manufacturer Superior is Dorset Careers Hub’s first ‘cornerstone’ employer, joining more than 100 across the UK which have committed to championing connections between education and the working world.

Expressions of interest are being sought from other local employers interested in becoming cornerstone employers.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “It is so important that young people get to know about a range of different jobs and careers so they can see the possible opportunities out there.

“Good careers education is such a valuable asset that helps children to explore future possibilities and go on to lead happy rewarding lives. Careers hubs bring together schools, colleges, universities and employers to share their expertise and improve the careers education on offer to make sure young people have the information they need to make the most of their talents.

“Today’s investment will give thousands more young people access to expert careers support as they take those first exciting steps into their future.”

Martin McLeman, head teacher of Queen Elizabeth’s School, Wimborne, said: “We are delighted to be part of Dorset Careers Hub and look forward to Queen Elizabeth’s School supporting colleagues in its deployment.

“We value the input of employers in all aspects of education and the Careers Hub will deepen that engagement across Dorset,” he added.

Ben Clarke, quality manager at Superior Seals, said: “We are looking forward to working with our local network and the wider business community to ensure that young people across Dorset have the opportunities they need to be prepared and inspired for the world of work.”