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Learning and Development – North Dorset District Council


North Dorset District Council is committed to realising the potential of all its employees through a range of learning opportunities which includes a range of blended learning approaches such as the use of e-learning; workshops; career development programmes and distance learning.

Our induction and probation programme, which includes health and safety, and valuing diversity amongst others, is designed with the support of the line manager, to welcome and support new employees into the organisation and confidently be introduced into their role and the work in the council over the first six months.

The programme provides an in depth understanding of how the organisation works; what North Dorset District Council’s culture and values are; our Economic growth Access to Services, quality of life priorities; our policies and procedures and how these can support employees as they take on their new roles and responsibilities.

Skills, resilience and capacity building

Providing people who are trained, equipped and employed in roles for modern delilvery.


Our appraisal system is called the “Staff Performance Review” (SPR).

A formal SPR is held formally with the line manager once a year, however informal reviews are an ongoing part of the job. The purpose of the SPR is to review performance, highlight successes, explore any areas of concern, set achievable targets in line with Service Business Plans and enable employees to identify their learning and development needs.

Work related learning and development

Following the SPR process each service collates their learning & development needs for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and for the development of individuals within existing or for future roles. These needs, alongside other priority learning needs identified to meet changes in the law or national and local priorities, are collated and expressed in the Annual Learning and Development programme which sets out how the training budget will be used to further develop employees.

Investors in People standards

The council is committed to and implements the Investors in People (IIP) standards as a method of improving the council's business through investing in its most valuable resource - its people - and has been recognised as an IIP organisation for ten years.

Fair Train – Gold Standard

North Dorset District Council has gained the Fair Train Gold Quality Standard for Apprentices and Work placements.

  • NDDC as a training provider and employer committed to providing high quality work experience to develop young people, the unemployed and our workforce for the future
  • It provides independent evidence, to the public funding bodies and main contractors of the quality of work experience NDDC organise and offer
  • It is applicable to all ages, including school work experience
  • It contributes to the Council’s position as an ethical employer who aims to help the local community
  • This provides reassurance for customers who use the Council’s services and potential customer
  • It is supported by a Framework for the Council to evaluate our current arrangements
  • It is a quality benchmark that can be referred to in inspections

Apprenticeships schemes, trainee posts and career development programmes

We look to develop employees' potential and will use a number of different methods, work place seconments such as apprenticeships, career development programmes to support individual learning and development at all levels within the organisation.

The new national apprenticeship model provides a consistent and coherent apprenticeship offer to young individuals and businesses.  The apprenticeship programme is a proven method of attracting,  developing and recruiting young employees into the Council.  We are committed to producing a diverse and representative workforce with the necessary skills to deliver high-quality services. 

As a matter of local policy, NDDC has for a number of years provided a number of apprenticeship opportunities on one/two year fixed term contracts and strive to secure employment opportunities (both internally and externally) for the young people who have completed their apprenticeships with the  Council.

On joining the council all apprentices are given a full induction, provided with a mentor, an individual development plan and learning log.  They then embark on distance learning in NVQ level 2 business studies with an external training provider.  They have full access to a range of learning and development opportunities within the council which include E-learning modules like Health & Safety, Diversity & Equalities.

Learning and development agreements

Because of the significant investment made by the council, employees undertaking agreed qualification training will be required to sign a learning and development agreement. This commits them to repay a proportion of the costs incurred in the event they leave within a specified period.