Year 10s’ Thoughts on Post 16 Taster Courses

Duchy College

Agriculture Course   

We had a good tour around the farm and good description of the  machinery. They gave us a great explanation of the history behind the farm and the courses that we can take and what we must do to get there. I also liked the fact we got to drive a tractor. I loved the little piglets, they were so cute. I also liked going through the parlour.

Although I felt it could be more practical and hands on because there was a lot of talking.

Animal Management

We did the animal management course at Duchy College and had a good time. We learnt about how to handle and health check rabbits and guinea pigs. We also had the chance to get a feel of what it would be like if we joined the college, as we got to feed the animals. After lunch, we had a really cool experience with exotic animals, such as a bearded dragon, an African bullfrog, corn snakes, cockroaches and we had the opportunity to handle them all.


The open day was ok, but it wasn’t the best, especially for our group in engineering as we were not allowed to do anything due to other pupils forgetting the special clothing. This led to most of us not doing any practical work as there was no clothing provided for the ones who forgot.

We spent the day in a classroom learning how engines worked, but some already knew about it

Other than this, the college was nice and set out well. It was never too busy and was not feeling like a college, as it was spacious.


We had a good day at Duchy in construction. We got to drive diggers and dumpers, which was good. The coaches were really nice and we got to learn new things.

I wish we could have a bit more time on each machine and wish more of the machines were working.  

Plymouth Argyle Taster Day

Positives: Really active and we didn’t sit out any of it. We really took part in the football and activities. Good coaching and people. Nice and clean facilities. Good sport facilities such as sports hall and field. 

Negatives: Would have been good if we had seen more of the college as a whole. 


Hospitality and Animal Care

At Petroc, I did a hospitality and catering course, where we made chocolate brownies. After lunch, I did animal care and management where we got to have a look at the different animals and reptiles.

Public Services

When I visited Petroc College I chose to do Public Services for the morning session. In this, we went through careers that you could continue after this course such as police force, fire brigade and prison services. We discussed the entry requirements for this course.      

Animal Care and Management and Biomedical Science

I found Petroc taster day very informative and fun, as well as very helpful on choosing which college to go to after Holsworthy. Before our first lesson, we went to the hall to get into our groups, which was very well organised and easy to follow. In the morning, I went to Animal Care and Management, which was very interesting and a proper hands on experience of what the course would be like. Then we had lunch, which again was very nice and well organised. In the afternoon, I had a Biomedical Science lesson, which I found very fun and interesting. I really liked Petroc College and I am definitely considering it for the future.

Biomedical Sciences

It was a small group of 7 or 8 and we focused on Chemistry as the main subject. We did one experiment that involved working out the PH of substances and the second was filtering them out. I found it very informative and it gave me a big confidence boost to be more independent in Science work/experiments. The teacher was very open to questions and helped us out a lot to make sure we were progressing well.

Animal Care and Management

I found this course interesting and it had a mixture of everything. We made things to entertain the animals, did some written work, which expanded my knowledge, then went to see all of the amazing animals. The teacher explained it all exceptionally well and definitely helped me with deciding my options for college.

Childcare and Health and Social Care

I went to Petroc College and I was given childcare for our morning session. In this, we went through what the course involves, the challenges and the entry grades needed. We learnt about SPICE developments and used these to write about how making play dough is a great activity for young children. We also tried this out to prove it. In addition, we worked with the real life baby simulators to see to their needs. I found this course really interesting and this is a course I would consider taking when I leave school in 2020.

For our afternoon session, I was given Health and Social Care. In this, we went through the careers that you could continue on to after the completion of this course, such as a midwifery, social working, care working and many more. We discussed the entry grades needed to get onto this course (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3).

Architecture, Conservation and the built environment

The man that we had to show us around, first showed us around the trade’s section to widen our option so we could have a better understanding of the trade’s option at Petroc. Then we went upstairs to the architecture and conservation part to watch a few videos on what architecture or conservation careers could offer us. We were taught about three types of land marking devices, of which two were used to measure out a fixed level for foundations on houses. The other was used to measure not only the level, but used the level and the right degree to measure a distance very accurately. The same device was used to work out if the Jubilee tube line tunnels were going to meet accurately and it was successful.

Engineering and manufacturing

In this we were given a tour around the engineering workshop and taught about mechatronics and how quick pneumatics are.

Robotics, Cybernetics and Creative Media

In the morning I did a computer and IT course where we learnt some HTML code and then looked at robotics and cybernetics.

In the afternoon, I did a Creative media course where we were shown the studio and got to take photos of each other, we then we went back to the classroom to Photoshop them.

GCSE Presentation Evening

On Thursday 22 November Holsworthy Community College held their annual presentation evening in Bodmin Chapel.  It was a successful evening with ex-students, their parents, staff, governors and local dignitaries attending.

Our guest speaker, Heather Stacey, was an ex Holsworthy Community College student who had gone on to become a veterinary surgeon. She gave an inspirational and informative talk on her career path.

Eloise and Lucy, both current Year 9 students, provided the music for the evening. It was lovely to hear our home grown talent as they both gave outstanding performances.

The presentation of the GCSE certificates was followed by the individual awards, all of which were well received. It was clear to see how proud the staff of Holsworthy Community College are of their students with the accompanying speeches given with each award.

We would like to thank the students and their parents for attending, the governors, local dignitaries and Mrs Stacey for supporting us and giving their time.

We would also like to thank Dawn Bewes for taking the photographs.



The next few weeks can be a fantastic time to help your child to reflect on what they might want for their future and to start to get their apprenticeship applications ready.

New apprenticeships are being developed and released all the time through The Institute for Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are real jobs and therefore individuals will need to participate in a competitive application, recruitment and selection process. For some employers this could be a fairly short process of an application and interview, but for other positions this could mean months of working through multiple application stages and activities. It is likely that your child will need to apply for a few vacancies before they are successful in securing the perfect apprenticeship for them.

Click on the link to read the Parents’ Pack Apprenticeship Information for help, information and recommendations of how to keep your child on track to securing an apprenticeship that they will be happy in.