Skip to content ↓


Located in the heart of this rural county, Dorset Studio School specialises in the environment and land-based sciences. This sector is critical to the success of not only the region but also the UK.

Food 2030 strategy has increased Government interest in food security and self-sufficiency. Combined with consumer demand for greater food quality, traceability and quality assurance, it is predicted there will be a 52,000 job shortage in the agriculture industry by 2020.

Other skills areas include business practices to respond to climate change; use of waste as a resource; nutrition and agronomy.

Higher standards are now required for all people working with animals and codes of practice are driving up standards for the care and transportation of animals. However, there is still a need for animal welfare jobs at higher levels. Higher level technical skills are required for research and development of new vaccines and skills relating to animal disease control, disease identification and biosecurity.

Dorset holds a key position in the country with a strong mixed farming community which offers a diverse range of careers, from environmental science and food production to crop and animal management.

The Dorset Studio School will support young people to develop skills for careers in these vital growth areas by providing the qualifications and hands-on experience required to work at the highest level in land and countryside management, animal conservation and welfare, outdoor activities, agriculture and food & horticulture.

Here at Dorset Studio School we have worked hard to create a careers pathway that matches those outlined in the Gatsby benchmarks. We offer transparent and age appropriate information that matches the needs of the individual student. Our careers team are approachable and happy to help both students and parents with a wide range of resources to assist decisions about what to do next. We encourage students to look at the range of pathways available to them at key points in their school journey. We assist them in choosing those that will support their natural talents, skills and interests. We allow them to explore what different choices will mean for their futures and support them while they work towards those choices with determination and resilience. We provide opportunities for students to meet with employers to experience the diverse world of work and see how their subjects provide them with unique chances to develop their soft and hard skills. We also encourage students to explore their range of post 16 options to ensure they are making the best choice for themselves and the start of their careers journey.

For more information about the gatsby benchmarks, visit

Careers development framework, please visit

Dorset Studio School Provider access Policy

Please feel free to contact our Careers Team on email:

David Humphreys – Careers Lead

Denise Kepple – Work Experience Admin

Mark Gibbens – Careers Link Governor


Raising the Participation Age

All young people are required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday.  This doesn’t have to mean staying in school.  You can choose to study or train in an of the following ways;

  • Stay on full-time in a school, college or with a training provider (many young people also do a part time job alongside this).
  • Work or volunteer full-time, together with part-time accredited education or training.
  • Take up an apprenticeship or traineeship

Useful information can be found on the following website links:

Parents guide to Apprenticeships

UCAS – parents/guardian/carers advice

Students Loans – money saving expert

Apprenticeships support for parents

What can I do after year 11


Dorset Studio School would love to hear from prospective employers who would be willing to share their experience and help build our students knowledge of employability skills, the workplace, the labour market and job search skills.

Employer Partners

We have developed some amazing relationships with local and national employers, providers, and charities over the years.  Massive thank you to you all for your ongoing support, your input brings our careers programme to life and always has such a powerful impact.

  • Knighton Countryside Management
  • Kingston Maurward College
  • Wessex Water
  • Lynwood Vets
  • Velcourt
  • Friars Moor
  • Mark Whitely
  • Margaret Green Animal Rescue
  • Dorset Countryside Rangers
  • Equibe RAC Saddle Club

Teachers & Staff

Staff play a central role in the Careers education and learning that our students experience. Staff contribute effectively through:

  • Careers-focused conversations at relevant points in student learning
  • Referring to the skills and attributes that students are developing to help students understand how they are relevant to the workplace
  • Encouraging students to challenge stereotypes and seek opportunities that are suited to their own needs, interests and aspirations
  • Delivering high-impact learning through our Personal and Careers Development Curriculum
  • Delivering careers-based activities through the weekly tutor programme
  • Signposting students to the Careers Team when suitable and making referrals to the Careers Advisor
  • Supporting students in understanding how their interests link to subject choices and career opportunities
  • Support students in their applications for post-16 and 18 next steps

Staff should refer to the resources below and guide them with signposting and supporting students:


Sixth Form College Apprenticeship Alternative Provision
What? What? What? What?
Staying on at a school sixth form/ sixth form college after Year 11 to study A Levels and /or Level 3 BTEC courses for 2 years.



You can go to college to study ‘vocational’ subjects like Animal Care, Cadets, Engineering, Hairdressing, Health & Social Care and Construction. Courses are available from Entry Level to Level 3. A full time paid job with training – you learn work-based skills on the job and normally attend college for one day per week. Often leads to a permanent job. For students for whom sixth form, college or an apprenticeship is not a suitable environment, there is specialist Post16 provision available.
Where? Where? Where? Where?
Thomas Hardye School or another school sixth form or sixth form college. Local colleges are Kingston Maurward College, Poole & Bournemouth College, Weymouth College or any other college provider



Lots of employers in Dorset offer apprenticeships and training is normally provided by a local college. Providers can be found through Dorset Council
What grades do I need? What grades do I need? What grades do I need? What grades do I need?
At least 5 GCSEs at Grade 9 – 4 including English and / or Maths.


Some subjects such as A Level Maths and Science have higher minimum grade requirements.

Entry Level – no specific grades.


Level 1 – Normally 3 subjects at Grade 2 or above

Level 2 – Normally 3 subjects at Grade 3 or above

Level 3 – Normally 4 subjects at Grade 4 or above including English and also Maths for some courses.

This varies but in most cases employers ask for GCSE Maths & English at Grade 4 or above as a minimum. Competition for apprenticeships is fierce; the most important thing is determination and motivation. No specific grades required. You can receive support with Functional Skills (English, Maths & IT) and employability skills such as CV writing, interview techniques, job applications, etc. Work experience may also be offered.



How to find out more How to find out more How to find out more How to find out more
  • Start
  • Sixth Form Open Evenings
  • Sixth Form prospectuses (Careers Library)


  • Start website:
  • Attend college open days/ taster days.
  • College prospectuses (Careers Library)
  • Look on college websites
Contact Dorset Council.


Speak to the Careers Team to find out more.


T Levels

For T Levels (Technical Levels) you will need a minimum of 4 GCSEs at Grade 4 or above, including English Language & Maths.  For an introduction to T Levels see

What are my options after Year 13?

Your main options are:

  • Higher Education (University or College)
  • Apprenticeship (including Higher & Degree Apprenticeships)
  • Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs)
  • Full time employment
  • Gap year (this involves taking a year out to get some work experience, volunteer, travel and / or to study a short course)
Higher Education

Higher Education involves qualifications from Level 4 to Level 8 with an undergraduate degree being Level 6. You don’t necessarily have to go to university to study for these qualifications. Many Further Education Colleges offer Level 4 and Level 5 courses such as BTEC Higher National Certificates & Diplomas and Foundation Degrees. See the links below for further information.

People normally do a degree at university for one of two reasons: 1) They have a passion for a specific subject and want to study it more in-depth; 2) They are aiming for a profession (e.g. Medicine / Dentistry / Law) that requires them to have a degree level qualification.

Although many students who choose to go to university away from home, if you prefer you could stay living at home by going to a university in the local area.

Our nearest universities are Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton.

There are also many different types of degree such as a Joint Honors (combining two subjects), Combined (involving two or more subjects), Sandwich (normally 4 years including a placement year with an employer in the third year).

You don’t have to go to university at 18 – many people go to university as an adult when they may have a better idea of the job sector they wish to work in. You can study part time at university whilst working and it is also possible to study for a degree online from home, e.g. through the Open University.


These are available from Level 2 (GCSE level) up to Level 7 (Masters Degree Level) and many employers now offer Higher (Level 4/5) and Degree Level (Level 6) Apprenticeships.

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships offer a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable experience whilst working and earning a competitive salary and not only that – all of your university fees are paid for by the government and your employer!

However, there is a lot of competition for these apprenticeships and they are not available in every job area. You also need to be willing to travel. Having access to your own transport will open more options for you.

Apprenticeships are advertised in many places including on the UCAS website, ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ website, Unifrog and Prospects Careers website (see links below) and on company websites. Therefore, you will need to spend a lot of time looking in different places for vacancies and be prepared for a challenging application process as this can often involve online aptitude tests, attending assessment centers and interviews which could be in person, telephone or video interviews. Make sure you have a good quality targeted CV and cover letter and ask the Careers Team to check it before you apply for any apprenticeships.

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs)

HTQs are either new or existing Level 4 or 5 qualifications (such as HNDs, Foundation Degrees or Diploma HE), which have been developed by awarding bodies in collaboration with employers and businesses to make sure students get the training, knowledge and skills they need for their chosen career. HTQs are for students who are over 18, who are looking to study a subject to prepare them for a specifically skilled job in a particular sector.

HTQs are different to apprenticeships. They are predominantly taught in the classroom, in either a further education college, university or independent training provider. They also do not tend to involve industry placements like you would have on an apprenticeship.

HTQs focus on work-readiness, developing graduates who hold the necessary skills that employers are looking for. They can also lead to further study.

For more information, visit www./

Full Time Employment

Of course, you don’t have to go to university or do an apprenticeship after Year 13 – you can go straight into a full-time job. However, there are some important things you need to consider, for example, will the employer provide you with good quality training? Will the job give you good opportunities for career progression?

You will also be competing with a lot of other people for vacancies including adults who may have a lot more experience than you.

As with apprenticeships, having a good quality CV targeted to the type of work you are looking for and a good quality covering letter / email are essential.

Gap Year

What is a gap year? Basically, if you don’t feel ready for the next step and need to take some time out to discover your strengths and what you really want to do in the future a gap year could be for you. If you want to go to university in the future, some universities will allow you to ‘defer’ your place which means your university will keep your place open for you to start the following academic year. However, not all universities offer this option so always check before you commit to taking a year out!

You may wish to travel for a year to discover new countries or cultures and ‘find yourself’! Or you may want to work for a year to save up some money before going to university. Or maybe you want to volunteer with a charity.

There are lots of organisations that offer opportunities to volunteer overseas during a gap year – see the careers area of the school website for weblinks.

Top tip – It is always important to have a plan for how you will use your gap year and to be proactive as otherwise it can be tempting to just waste a year by not really doing anything constructive and that never goes down well with universities or employers!

It can also be challenging to get back into academic study after having a long break so always think carefully before committing to this option.


Colleges offering Higher Education courses:


Job websites:

Gap year websites:

Targeted CV & covering letter / email:

  • A targeted CV is a CV written for the specific job you are applying for. It highlights the skills and experience relevant to that position.

    Each time you apply for a job, you should tailor your CV to be more relevant to that specific position. You have a better chance of getting an interview when you make it clear that the skills and experience that you have match or are closely aligned to the requirements specified on the job vacancy.

CV does and dont's


  • Use a simple layout and font. Fonts like Arial or Times New Roman are professional and easy to read
  • Include the most relevant information for the job


  • Include everything you’ve ever done to impress. Employers have lots of CVs to get through so only include the most relevant information
  • Include things that are not true. Employers can check and if you’re found to have lied on a CV you could lose your job
  • Have “Curriculum Vitae” as the title; the title should be your full name. The filename should also include your name too
  • Use a flamboyant design or include lots of graphics or photos. The exception to this is if you’re doing a creative CV when you’re applying for a creative job
  • Have a hobbies and interests section with more general hobbies like reading, socialising, walking and swimming. Only include hobbies where they are relevant
  • Include action words that highlight achievements, such as created, improved, produced and achieved
  • Keep it concise. Usually, a CV would be no more than 2 pages, and 1 page if you’re leaving school
  • Some CVs can be longer, for example academic CVs, but still keep information relevant and concise
  • Read through your CV and put right any spelling and grammar mistakes. Get others to check it and read aloud to yourself too
  • Add hobbies and interests if they are relevant for the job, for example sports coaching or youth work for a teaching job
  • Use your CV to help you write application forms and to help at interviews


  • Ofsted logo
  • United against Bullying logo
  • Eco Schools logo
  • John Muir logo
  • Pearsons logo
  • Careers hub logo