Gain practical skills and experience to prepare you for employment, creative practice or to start your own business.
What could be more important than helping you to build a career based on the skills and talent you develop during your time with us?
When you leave the College, you might go on to further study. However, you might choose instead to go into employment, to start your own practice, go freelance or, like many of our graduates, to set up your own business.
We recognise the vital importance of helping you to understand what you want to do, and how to do it, when you leave us. That’s why we work extremely hard to provide you with the right practical skills and experience to give you a competitive advantage as you enter the workplace.
We recognise the benefits of strong links with industry and the public sector for your future progression. We develop excellent relationships with national and local creative businesses and practitioners, helping to ensure that you have the skills and attributes you need to build a successful career.
Each of our degree programmes has been designed to support your future career, providing opportunities specific to your area of study. These include:
Business & enterprise skills—all students have the opportunity to develop business skills and to access advice on how to set up in business. During your time with us you will gain transferable skills such as teamwork, time management, project management, reflection, problem-solving, self-motivation and independent decision-making which are important to employers and for self-employment.
CV, portfolio & interview skills—we’ll work with you to ensure you develop professional, well-structured and comprehensive evidence for your talents and skills, and to help you gain that competitive edge at interview (whether for further study, employment or funding applications).
Work placements—all courses encourage placements and you’re usually free to negotiate as many as you like. These are not compulsory but are recommended. Work placements are a superb opportunity to experience real-life practice, and it’s not uncommon for employers to offer jobs to students they’ve met during the placement. Normally placements take place during holiday periods but sometimes they are allowed during term time, depending on whether the placement contributes to your course work. The Personal and Professional Practice modules on your course give you the opportunity to research the creative industry and identify suitable companies to approach and often companies and organisations approach the College to see if there are any suitable students.
Live briefs—most courses involve the opportunity to respond to a real-life project. This can lead to your work being published or put into production, as well as employment opportunities. You may also consider entering a range of national and international student competitions, these provide great experience and look fantastic on graduating students CVs.
Exhibiting and curating—many of our students have multiple opportunities to organise and curate their own events and exhibitions, in College and at venues across the City.
Community—some courses encourage students to use their talents for the benefit of charities and volunteer organisations, this adds real perspective and a local dimension to your experience.
More—depending on your area of study, you may receive critiques on your work from leading creative professionals, helping you to gain an understanding of industry standards and expectations. A number of courses also use mentors as a method of linking students with creative professionals in practice or industry.
Guest speakers & visiting lecturers — we invite some of the creative and cultural industries’ leading talent to come and share their experiences with you. Their input helps to spark ideas for your work and provides that ‘real life’ perspective to plans for your future career. Guest speakers or visiting lecturers are either arranged by the programme teams or are part of a College-wide event programme.
Professional events—visits to trade shows and sector-specific events will broaden your horizons and provide great networking opportunities.
Creative Networks—developed and run by Leeds College of Art, Creative Networks is one of the most popular networking event programmes in Yorkshire, with a large membership of professionals from across the cultural and creative industries coming together to exchange knowledge and information, collaborate on projects and make new business contacts. The idea of Creative Networks is to bring together the region’s creative talent to foster partnerships and collaborations within the area. This provides a powerful network for graduates who choose to stay in the region and start their own business or practice.
Collaborative international projects—We are a founding member of the Group for International Design Education, in which staff and students from colleges and universities around Europe work together towards a public exhibition of selected work, held in one of the partner countries.
Studying abroad—Our participation in the Erasmus programme offers opportunities for European study exchanges and work placements, to gain global employability skills.
Here at Leeds College of Art we recognise the challenges facing enterprising graduates and we’re committed to giving you a helping hand to fulfil your ambitions, whether you aim to set up in business or creative practice.
Our Fellowship Scheme provides a platform for those wishing to set up as independent or freelance artists, designers, curators or project managers. Successful applicants are provided with studio space, access to facilities and advice for a period of up to 12 months free of charge, in return for contribution of time to assist the relevant degree programme. We have found that this exchange greatly benefits current students and provides valuable experience to add to your CV.
The College has also formed a unique partnership with Duke Studios, a creative co-working space in the heart of the unofficial cultural quarter in Leeds. Our studio space provides a nurturing environment for recent graduates to establish their own businesses, with support and advice provided by the College and by industry professionals. This space is primarily suited to screen-based ‘clean’ activities such as new media and design, but the College is planning to expand its portfolio of incubation units to support business activity and practice related to our full range of degree programmes.
Employability issues are very important to everyone in College and are implicit in the project work that many of our students undertake. Leeds College of Art regularly assesses the career paths of our graduating students by taking part in national surveys to ensure that the skills and opportunities we provide remain effective.
Building a career in the creative industries and finding your niche can take time after graduating from your degree. Whilst Leeds College of Art fared well in the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s ‘Destination of Leavers in Higher Education’ survey, this only captures data 6 months after graduating. Independent research undertaken between 2008 and 2010 by the Institute of Employment Studies revealed that 95.7% of the Leeds College of Art graduates who responded to the survey were employed following their period of study. Significantly, more than three quarters of these graduates were employed in the creative industries. The report culminating from this research, ‘Creative Graduates, Creative Futures’ (2010), provides a very interesting analysis of typical career paths in our industry: www.employment-studies.co.uk/projects/creative