EMPLOYERS including Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Julia’s House and Brewhouse & Kitchen have committed to finding new ways to support people with special educational needs and disabilities.

One boss replaced printed adverts with a video tour of his offices in order to show potential employees around.

Twelve companies have signed up to the year-long Removing Barriers project launched by Dorset Careers Hub, declaring their aim of achieving “leader” status under the government’s Disability Confident scheme.

Eighteen people met recently at Merley House in Wimborne to learn more about how best to support a more diverse workforce.

Businesses there also included Bournemouth’s Marsham Court Hotel, Weymouth College, the catering and hospitality business the Crumbs Project and motor manufacturer Parvalux.

Andrew Holland, director of the consultancy sendme2work, is running the project in partnership with the careers hub.

He said: “When we first launched the project back in October 2022, we were looking for 10 local companies to sign up to the scheme. We’ve surpassed that goal now and I’m delighted to say that we now have 12 organisations on board and each one is keen to learn and adapt their workplace in order to attract and nurture a diverse and inclusive workforce.

“This was the first of several events that will be taking place throughout the year and we’re very excited to see how they all progress in order to achieve that leader status.”

Gordon Fong, director for 5G and future networks capability for Kimcell, later made a video showing potential applicants the offices at Dorset Innovation Park, Winfrith Newburgh.

“We had more than 30 reshares on LinkedIn and more than 100 likes and reactions,” he said.

He said some people would respond better to video than a printed job ad with long passages of text.

“You can have a job description listing responsibilities hours and benefits but then it doesn’t really say much,” he said.

“It’s a way to provide context and show people what the job’s about.”

He said five people locally had applied.

Lee Whalley, head of operations at the Crumbs Project, where half the staff have special educational needs and disabilities, said: “Our environment has to be fully inclusive for us to be able to operate. But there are still so many aspects we need to improve on and we continue to learn all the time.”

Rebecca Phillips, Dorset Careers Hub strategic lead, said: “It's amazing to see these wonderful companies in Dorset committing to this much needed and hugely exciting programme, which is scalable, sustainable and provides highly tangible results.”

Dorset Careers Hub is funded by Dorset Local Enterprise Project and the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) in partnership with BCP Council and Dorset Council.

Removing Barriers is a one year Hub Innovation Project.