Official Opening with New Land-Based Higher Education Opportunities from University Centre Kingston Maurward

Wednesday 15 May 2024 saw the formal opening of University Centre Kingston Maurward, with the ‘cutting of the ribbon’ carried out by television’s Countryfile presenter, Adam Henson.

Joined by various guests from local land-based, industry-related businesses, Dorchester Town’s Mayor & Mayoress – Alistair Chisolm and Kate Hebditch, The Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset – Angus Campbell – as well as a variety of staff, governors and students from Kingston Maurward, the event showcased all that the new University Centre has to offer, and included an inspirational talk from Adam himself. Guests heard all about the legacy of his farm, the changes his business has seen through the years, the importance of diversification and technology in the agriculture industry, and his emphasis of teaching everyone about where our food comes from, as well as educating the next generation of farmers.

Principal & Chief Executive of Kingston Maurward, Luke Rake, said: A proud day for me as leader of Kingston Maurward – over the last three years, we’ve built a new Higher Education Building, gained formal University Centre status from the DfE, and validated a relationship with The Open University, the only land-based specialist college in the country to do so. Days such as this are a moment to pause, reflect and celebrate. A great team doing a great job.”

University Centre Kingston Maurward has a suite of Higher Education courses, recently launched and available to start in September 2024, for aspiring young people and those looking to further their career to embark upon.

Designed to showcase the new courses to employers and potential students, the event highlighted how degree-level study can be achieved on a part-time basis and fit around work, enabling businesses to strengthen their workforce with minimal disruption to everyday operations, and how young people can step into higher paid roles with the knowledge, skills, behaviours and experience required to evaluate, develop, and manage business situations with preparedness.

March 2024 saw the University Centre officially become affiliated with The Open University, with two new courses in Dairy Herd Management and Rural Business Management, accredited by The Open University, added to the offering which already includes Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) in Equestrian Management, Horticulture, Outdoor Adventure Management and Uniformed Public Services, an FdSc in Marine Ecology & Conservation, a Foundation Diploma in Animal Behaviour, Welfare & Conservation, and a Top Up BSc in Animal Welfare.

Working in partnership with the Open University for the next five years ensures the University Centre can make its mark on Higher Education in Dorset and provide current and future students the opportunity to continue their studies in a familiar environment with the continued support of College staff and family.

Tom Hallam, Deputy Principal of Kingston Maurward College, said: “We are thrilled to have been successful in our application for Kingston Maurward College to participate in the programme. This hugely exciting collaboration with The Open University will really accelerate our Higher Education programme offer. This will be a huge boost for the Higher Education offer in Dorset and the surrounding regions, especially as Dorset is a ‘cold spot’ for Higher Education and this programme will help us to deliver higher education courses that match the skills needs of the local community.

Development of programmes such as these is vital for the local rural economy, having considered the Dorset landscape and its industries, with the College itself being a working farm, those embarking on these new courses will be able to make use of the 750-acre estate alongside the new University Centre, and practical hands-on experiences within their current industry workplace or in a new work experience placement.

For more information, head to, email or call 01305 215000.

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