Friday 25th November 


More help with the cost of living crisis


Hello everyone

I wanted to update you on a few initiatives that I mentioned in my last bulletin two weeks ago.

With all these initiatives, a key principle is to give the first opportunities to members of staff and help boost your earnings rather than the College paying for external agency staff or job advertising, for instance.


£500 for referring a friend (including family members)

We are running a pilot for 6 months (from December 2022 to the end of May 2023) for any member of staff that directly refers a friend to apply for a vacancy at Portland College. This will apply to any job (other than bank roles) we advertise externally.

We will pay you £250 when your friend starts work at the College.

We will pay you another £250 if your friend successfully completes probation.


Warm Places – staff room in Cedars building

Most of us are thinking very carefully about how much energy we are using at home and cutting back where we can.

We heat all our buildings on the campus and the thought we have had, is to keep one of the communal areas open through to early evening for any staff who would like to stay and keep warm. We lock all the buildings by 7.00pm, except for the residences and when we have functions/events.

There is a comfy but small staff room on the ground floor of Cedars Building. If there is a higher demand for this facility, we will look to open a larger area instead.


Blue Light Scheme

Blue Light is a charity offering a discount card for emergency service workers, armed forces, NHS and social care staff. We have checked with the Blue Light Charity and the scheme is available to all staff at Portland.

It costs £4.99 for a 2-year membership and you could easily save that up-front cost with the discount you make on your first purchase.

With Christmas coming there is a wide range of discounts both on-line and for many high street shops and Asda supermarket.

Welcome to Blue Light Card


A few reminders of existing initiatives

  • Our Christmas £50 gift cards are coming to you very soon.
  • We have lots of opportunities to boost your earnings. With the wide range of services we offer across Portland Charity we are always on the lookout for people to cover extra shifts in Care, Catering (for functions) and Education (to cover sickness absence and leavers). Keep checking Portland Connect for a weekly update on opportunities for extra shifts.
  • Our confidential Portland Pathways team is available to support you. We urge anyone experiencing difficulties to seek help and advice as quickly as possible. Pathways has strong community links and can refer to other local services if required to speed up access. For more information contact the Portland Pathways team, 01623 499193 or
  • There is a Money Helper button on the HR Hub on SharePoint, where you can access the information about resources and help with budgeting.   Get in touch directly with Money Helper via their website: or by telephone: 0800 011 3797. A selection of printed guides is available at reception, Cedars staff room and within Care buildings.


The Cost of Living Annual Pay Award

The Chancellor’s statement on 17th November announced a 9.72% rise in the National Living Wage rate to £10.42 per hour from 1st April 2023.

There was no inflation rise for Further Education in the Chancellor’s budget and I am waiting to see the detail on the High Needs Student budget and Adult Social Care. We can expect a fee income next year but it is unlikely to rise at the 10% level to match inflation.

It is going to tough to balance the College books, but I am confident will find a way through by working together.

Take good care of yourselves and loved ones.


Mark Dale

Principal & Chief Executive Officer.