Leaving School

Are you thinking of going to College or University?

We offer more hands-on hours and within a film studio environment, as well as offering industry standard certifications such as BTEC, ITEC, HND, HNC & VTCT.

Showing prospective students around (including school holidays) for enrolment in 2024 & 2025. The 2-year BTEC Make up & Hair Course starts 23 September 2024 at Elstree Studios or 30 September 2024 at Longcross Studios.

May Half Term 3-Day InstaGlam Taster Course for ages 14-18 at Elstree Studios on 28, 29 & 30 May 2024
Longcross Studios on 29, 30 & 31st May 2024 email us at [email protected] or call us on 01344 635522 to enrol.

Goodbye School, Hello Make-Up Artist Career

Considering leaving school at 16 or opting out of university at 18? You can immediately start training for a career as a make-up artist here at Brushstroke. Working in specialised areas such as film and TV, special effects, or fashion, this profession demands high skill levels, and top artists prioritise comprehensive training to build their knowledge and technical skills from the outset. At Brushstroke, training as a make-up artist signifies a serious commitment to your career.

Brushstroke welcomes students starting at age 16 and offers a variety of courses, including BTEC, ITEC, HNC, VTCT, and HND make-up qualifications. Located at Longcross and Elstree Studios, Brushstroke provides a thrilling, yet safe and structured environment for your training. Like many fields, the make-up industry in film, TV, stage, and fashion is highly competitive. Being well-trained and ready for the professional world is crucial, and it’s a cornerstone of our philosophy at Brushstroke. Many of our students are offered work placements during and after they finish their training. 

Leaving School to learn new Skills

We give our students the opportunity to become truly versatile artists so they’re leaving school but learning new skills. Our tutors teach the basics as well as latest skills and modern techniques. You’ll learn how to select and use the right equipment, products and materials. Working with hair and wigs is crucial – not just make-up – so you become a good all-rounder. At Brushstroke, you’ll also learn how to move easily from glamour one minute to SFX the next.

Our courses have the right balance of hands-on, practical training together with some theory and study sessions (eg business skills). Because we recognise that students learn differently (for example dyslexia) we are ready to provide additional course work support.

GCSE Re-Takes

When leaving school, all 16-year-olds are required to achieve at least grade 4 in their GCSE maths and English or retake them (up until age 18). Re-taking GCSE English or maths need not delay your dream of leaving school and becoming a professional make-up and hair artist. If you enrol on one of our BTEC or ITEC courses you can re-take GCSE exams at the same time.

Students studying and re-taking their GCSEs, usually spend around 2 hours, per subject a week and we ensure that they are able to catch up on any Brushstroke classes missed during this period. Please note that we do not run GCSE courses so if you need to retake an exam you can enrol at a local college.

Professional Make-Up and Hair Styling Courses at Brushstroke

At Brushstroke, we offer a comprehensive range of make-up and hairstyling courses designed to cater to various career aspirations and skill levels. Our flagship 2-Year Make-Up and Hair Course, awarded with a BTEC & ITEC Level 3 Diploma, is ideal for individuals 16 and older, providing an extensive education in make-up and hairdressing right from the start of your career. This course is available at both our Longcross and Elstree Studios, with classes running Monday through to Thursday.

For those interested in hairdressing, our 32 Week Hairdressing and Barbering Course offers a fast-track VTCT Level 2 Diploma in Women’s Hairdressing and Men’s Barbering. This course serves as an excellent extension of our 2-year program, equipping students to gain further advanced professional hair skills for television, film and theatre.

We also feature a 7-Month Makeup and Hair Course for those looking for a career change, focusing on essential skills and techniques in a shorter timeframe.

For students wanting to deepen their expertise they can enrol in our Higher National Diploma (HND) and Higher National Certificate (HNC) programmes in Performing Arts Makeup, which are more advanced and akin to university-level study.

For those new to the field or considering a career in make-up, we provide shorter and flexible options such as the 3-Day Special Effects and InstaGlam Makeup Courses. These brief courses are perfect for gaining a taste of professional makeup artistry or enhancing one’s makeup skills for personal projects like boosting your professional Instagram profile and a stepping stone to our two year course.

Whether you’re just beginning your journey or seeking to advance your professional skills, Brushstroke has a course tailored to your needs.

Brushstroke Training Benefits

These are the key training benefits we offer at Brushstroke:

  1. State-of-the-Art Facilities: Train in purpose-built studios at Longcross and Elstree, offering a real-world environment conducive to learning industry standards.
  2. Comprehensive Skill Development: Gain industry-ready skills in both make-up and hair, ensuring a versatile career path.
  3. Hands-On Training: Learn directly from working make-up artists who are specialists in their fields, enhancing your practical knowledge.
  4. Recognised Qualifications: Earn BTEC, ITEC, VTCT, HNC and HND qualifications, which are essential for vocational credibility and recognition.
  5. On-Set Experience: Access opportunities for on-set work experiences, potential employment, providing a crucial edge in the job market, as many students are offered work during and after graduation.
  6. Product and Equipment Proficiency: Become familiar with the latest products, equipment, and techniques used in the industry.
  7. Business and Freelance Skills: Acquire essential business skills (e.g. building a portfolio) for self-employment to succeed independently.
  8. Networking Opportunities: Connect with professionals and peers within the industry, expanding your professional network.
  9. Career Versatility: Prepare for diverse roles in film, TV, fashion, and special effects, including potential opportunities to work with celebrities.
  10. Continuous Learning and Support and Aftercare: Benefit from ongoing guidance and support from experienced instructors, helping you stay updated with industry trends and techniques.


Working in fashion as a make-up artist includes shows, photoshoots, online and in print.


SFX Prosthetics

Wounds, scars, bald caps and prosthetics – welcome to the world of special effects make-up.


Film, TV & Stage

There are endless options for makeup artists working in film and TV, from Sci-fi movie sets, to West End shows and soaps.



Working with celebrities means keeping their makeup and hair looking as it should – on and off-set.