Dorset's workforce is well-educated with an above average national educational standard and trend. It has two universities, one university college and five further education institutions. 

Universities and higher education

There are several excellent educational institutions in the region, including two universities, Arts University Bournemouth and Bournemouth University and one university college, AECC.

BU and AUB collectively employ 1,500 people and a turnover of £150m in the region with an estimated income of £4m from research and direct business services. Over 20,000 undergraduates and postgraduates are registered at both universities. 

They offer specific, and in many cases world-leading expertise in areas such as design, software, tourism, environmental management, engineering, visual effects, computer animation, fashion, architecture, and graphics.

BU and AUB both have long-standing relationships with leading businesses in their areas of expertise, including BBC, Framestore, Microsoft, IBM, Sony Games, AirBus, LionHead, The Big Issue Foundation, and EA Games.

Bournemouth University is home to The National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) and the International VFX Hub. It also has UK’s leading animation school, which has conducted internationally significant research and pioneered both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in computer visualisation, animation and digital effects.

Many graduates from Bournemouth University's National Centre for Computer Animation have carried on to work on films that either won or were nominated for an Oscar for their visual effects, including Ex Machina, Hugo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Interstellar and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Former students have also contributed to other successful films such as Kung Fu Panda 2, Rango and Avatar, with 55 Bournemouth University graduates working on the latter film alone.

Dorset offers access to five further education colleges: Bournemouth and Poole College, Brockenhurst College, Kingston Maurward College, Weymouth College and Yeovil College. With a collective student population of over 29,000, they have a combined turnover of £71m, employing approximately 1,800 people.  

These institutions offer education and training for land-based industries, as well as a wide range of further education courses, ranging from apprenticeships to vocational courses. There were 210,700 apprenticeships between 2010 and 2014. High skills, great opportunities and a solid foundation of knowledge make Dorset a recipe for successful investment. 

Independent Training Provision in Dorset

Over 20 independent training providers deliver learning and skills to young people, adults and businesses across Dorset. The provision ranges from pre-employment foundation level skills and training, to vocational training including Apprenticeships at intermediate, advanced and higher levels.

Bournemouth and Poole College's Peter Jones Enterprise Academy offers the UK’s first BTEC Level 2 and 3 qualifications in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and through workshops, master classes, networking opportunities and business surgeries it aims to unleash entrepreneurial talent in young people, helping to prepare them for a successful future.  Bournemouth and Poole College's and Marine Technology Centre offers upwards of 70 places for Sunseeker apprentices and capacity for over 250 at the new dedicated marine training facility, which will cover all aspects of the industry at both a craft and higher technical level.

In Dorset, the educational standards are above the Great Britain average for national vocational qualifications (NVQs) at all levels: