Put simply, the UK is probably the best place in the world to receive a creative degree. Quality programmes combined with outstanding career opportunities ensure all graduates emerge well educated and set to enter industries full of opportunity.
The UK has earned itself a reputation as a world leader in the creative arts. With the number of industry jobs growing by almost 9 percent between 2013 and 2014, creative companies now account for 5 percent of the nation’s economy, making it an ideal place to study and start a career.
“The creative industries are one of the UK’s greatest success stories, with British musicians, artists, fashion brands and films immediately recognisable in nations across the globe. It is growing at almost twice the rate of the wider economy and worth a staggering £84 billion a year,” said Ed Vaizey, the UK Minister for Culture.
One of the most significant drivers for growth has been the quality of UK creative education. The UK is renowned for delivering high quality creative learning, where students learn through a diverse range of lectures, seminars, studio practice, live client-led projects and creative industry work placements, all leading to highly employable graduates.
For international students considering the UK as a creative education destination, here are seven key things your UK creative degree will provide you with:
1. A dynamic learning environment
Creative industries faculties are lively places to study. Look for opportunities to collaborate with like-minded peers, attend exciting exhibitions and see what events are happening, and opportunities to showcase your work.
At the University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, students and faculty work together both in and outside of the classroom to collaborate, create and perform. The CCI Creative Space showcases a range of student activities, from degree shows to the latest student innovations.
2. Courses that make a difference
The best creative courses in the UK make an impact outside of the learning environment. Put at the top of your list universities that provide faculty-led projects focused on student knowledge and creativity, on top of relevant real-world opportunities, they are the ones that consistently produce graduates who come out on top.
The University of Portsmouth’s ‘Going Dutch’ project is a prime example, presenting architecture students with the unique and exciting opportunity to form flood prevention master plans to protect the bustling city. Portsmouth’s #FashionHack project proves the opportunities don’t stop there, providing an inspiring chance for students to make a positive, creative impact on society by using waste materials and technology to produce innovative fashion designs.
3. Amazing faculty
Faculty and staff should excel in the classroom, but what they get up to outside of class can reveal much about the teaching quality at any creative school. Do your research, if you like what the teachers do outside class, the institution is probably ideal for you.
Paul Charisse, Senior Lecturer of Animation at the University of Portsmouth has experience working on the Golem animations for the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. In this video, Paul introduces some exciting projects his students are currently undertaking.
4. Industry standard facilities
When choosing your course, look for outstanding facilities, equipment and software; you will then leave equipped with the ability to use the latest industry technologies, and can therefore take advantage of the best career opportunities.
The Eldon Production Centre at the University of Portsmouth, for example, offers comprehensive print workshops and private sewing rooms in which students can work on upcoming projects. Meanwhile, Animation students have access to cutting edge software and production facilities as they work on their animated shorts.
5. Real-life project placements
The opportunity to gain real-world experience is a must for creative industries students. Look for real-life learning opportunities, work placements, or even the chance to set up a new company. These will allow you to gain insight into what makes the industry tick.
Most creative students at the University of Portsmouth get the option to pursue a year-long work placement, sandwiched between their second and third years of study. The university also offers the chance for students to start-up their own company and run it for a year as an alternative to the traditional work-based placement. The completion of a year-long Professional Practice Unit helps them develop skills commonly sought by employers, and allows them to develop an outstanding CV and professional online presence.
6. The skills you need to succeed in the world of work
On top of providing students with a leading education within their chosen field, a good creative degree equips you with the skills needed to secure the best, and most relevant, jobs. Therefore, in your research, evidence of careers advice, networking opportunities and support after graduation are a must.
Offering one-on-one career advice slots with faculty, the University of Portsmouth instils students with the skills and insider knowledge needed to ace interviews with creative employers. One good example is photographer Alecsandra Racula Dragoi. She graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Photography from the University of Portsmouth and she is a multiple award winning photographer travelling and working to make a positive change in the world with her art.
7. Graduate showcase
A highlight for every creative student, a graduate showcases will allow you to present your creations to the world. Whether it’s a dance performance or a short movie screening, the graduate show is the culmination of years of hard work, where employers look for the creative minds of tomorrow.
The University of Portsmouth offers funds for final-year students looking to organise an exhibition, fashion show, theatre production, installation, or even a musical event as part of their degree – many take place in London, the world’s creative capital. The university also hosts an annual Creative Industries Graduate Show, allowing students’ to present the talents and projects they have pursued throughout the course.
This article was sponsored by the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Portsmouth. Located 90 minutes from Central London, the faculty is renowned for its outstanding facilities, world-class teaching and high levels of student satisfaction. Students pursue varying creative outlets, explore prospective career paths and complete year-long work experience placements that equip them with the skills they need to shine long after graduation. Students join an exciting campus, where innovation and independent thinking is welcomed alongside a hectic calendar of events, concerts and exhibitions.