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Pre-Degree

The Pre-Degree Progression & Careers plan provides a bespoke, tailored and scaffolded Careers Information Advice and Guidance (CIAG) model embedded within our curriculum.

At Plymouth College of Art we aim to align the learners' experiences, views and ambitions with the academic and vocational skills needed to future-proof learners for the 21st-century industrial landscape.

Discover how we are raising aspirations and connecting young students with meaningful encounters in Higher Education and employment environments.

Plymouth College of Art 2021/22 Pre-Degree Progression & Careers year plan

Gatsby Careers Benchmark (GCB) coverage

September 2021

  • Launch the Skills Project
GCB: 1

October 2021

  • Launch ARTiculation competition.
  • Workplace activities commence, course teams to track placements.
  • IB Service Learning groups and activities commence.
  • HE progression talks and workshops commence.
GCB: 1
GCB: 3
GCB: 4
November 2021
  • ARTiculation competition continues.
  • Pre-Degree enrichment programme starts. (Industry)
  • Pre-Degree Parents Evening with HE marketplace offering early advice and guidance around HE progression.
  • Review the Skills Project - Impact and intent.
  • HE Portfolio review course presentations and Q&A.
  • Workplace activities continue.
  • IB Service Learning activities continue.
  • HE progression talks and workshops continue.
  • Next Steps South West (NSSW) Activities
GCB: 1
GCB: 3
GCB: 4
GCB: 7
December 2021
  • Design to Sell exhibition and shop - Wednesday 8 December 2021 (opening night)
  • Pre-Degree Work experience review meeting.
  • HE Portfolio review interventions.
  • Workplace activities continue.
  • HE progression talks and workshops continue.
  • UCAS application health checks.
  • IB Service Learning activities continue.
  • NSSW Activities.
GCB: 1
GCB: 3
GCB: 4
GCB: 5
GCB: 6
GCB: 7
GCB: 8
January 2022
  • Review Skills Project
  • HE Portfolio review interventions.
  • Mentoring programme continues.
  • Workplace activities continue.
  • Weekly careers interventions open to all years and learners.
  • IB Service Learning activities review.
  • Business Development programme launched
  • NSSW Activities.
GCB: 1
GCB: 2
GCB: 3
GCB: 4
GCB: 5
GCB: 6
GCB: 7
GCB: 8
February 2022
  • Workplace activities continue.
  • Weekly careers interventions open to all years and learners.
  • IB Service Learning activities review.
  • Employability planning panel 1.
  • NEETS interventions begin.
  • NSSW Activities.
GCB: 1
GCB: 2
GCB: 3
GCB: 4
GCB: 5
GCB: 6
GCB: 7
GCB: 8
March 2022
  • Pre-Degree celebrates - National Careers Week.
  • UCAS Exeter
  • Pre-Degree Careers and Enterprise Marketplace.
  • National Careers Service, distance learning activities.
  • NEETS interventions continue.
  • Workplace activities continue.
  • Pre-Degree work placement week Wk commencing 9th March 2022.
  • Weekly careers interventions open to all years and learners.
  • IB Service Learning activities continue.
  • ASK Apprenticeships interventions.
  • NSSW Activities.
GCB: 1
GCB: 2
GCB: 3
GCB: 4
GCB: 5
GCB: 6
GCB: 7
GCB: 8
April 2022
  • Workplace activities continue.
  • Weekly careers interventions open to all years and learners.
  • NEETS interventions continue.
  • IB Service Learning activities continue.
  • Y2 GAP year club - Launch
  • Review Skills project
GCB: 1
GCB: 2
GCB: 3
GCB: 4
GCB: 5
GCB: 6
GCB: 7
GCB: 8
May 2022
  • Inspire and Engage event. Year 1 HE progression activities.
  • Workplace activities continue.
  • Weekly careers interventions open to all years and learners.
  • NEETS interventions continue.
  • Mentoring programme concludes.
  • IB Service Learning activities review.
  • Y2 GAP year club
GCB: 1
GCB: 2
GCB: 3
GCB: 4
GCB: 5
GCB: 6
GCB: 7
GCB: 8
June 2022
  • End of year show and enterprise opportunity.
  • NEETS interventions continue.
  • IB Service Learning activities review.
  • Employability planning panel 2.
  • Y2 GAP year club
GCB: 1
GCB: 4
GCB: 5
GCB: 6
GCB: 7
GCB: 8
July 2022
  • The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize - Work Placement activity.

  • NEETS interventions continue.

  • Y2 GAP year club

GCB: 1
GCB: 4
GCB: 5
GCB: 6
GCB: 7
GCB: 8
Plymouth College of Art student in printing studio
ARTiculation

The ARTiculation competition is a nationally-acclaimed annual event designed to promote the appreciation and discussion of art. The competition seeks to engage all full-time students aged 16-19 - and regardless of background or experience - with art, and to develop their confidence and ability to express their opinions and thoughts through critical thinking and problem solving techniques.

The Skills Project

The Skills Project continues to provide an embedded methodology to develop personal development, British values and progression readiness through the recognition and collective ownership of a set of values required to meet these important demands. The Project allows our teachers and students to track and communicate progress in relation to employability and soft skills via regular progress checks. In terms of impact, we continually assess Pre-Degree learners through progress checks to measure the demonstration of character traits and attributes that mirror expectations of working in higher education or industry.

Design to Sell

This project is designed to enhance your professional practice and our learners maturity as an artist, maker or designer. The skills and knowledge they gain in this project will be transferable in any chosen academic or career path. They will explore elements of a business focused environment, this brief is about creativity, collaboration and commercialism.

IB Service Learning activities

Service learning provides opportunities for students to understand their capacity to make a meaningful contribution to their community and society. The purpose is for students to contribute to society by improving the lives of people or assisting the environment or animals.

Inspire and Engage

A progression event held annually in May, where Pre-Degree year 1 students engage with HE workshops and activities, predominantly held in our Tavistock Place campus.

NEETs

NEET stands for "Not in Education, Employment, or Training." It refers to a person who is unemployed, not in school or in a meaningful training programme.

Workplace activities

Work shadowing - Generally refers to a specified, often short and at times, where necessary supervised period of time between 1 or 2 hours or 1 or 2 days that a young person spends within the workplace. The young people taking part in work shadowing activities are not intended to be performing work tasks, but rather learning about the world of work and the industrial environment. (GCB 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 + 8)

Work placement - This can also include lengthy internships & usually refer to a longer period of time that a young person spends within the workplace. This is predominantly unsupervised by a member of academic staff and students have an opportunity to learn directly about industrial expectations, working life and the working environment. (GCB 4, 5, 6 + 8)

Volunteering - This experience will usually be an arrangement between the young person and an organisation which will not entitle them to a financial reward or benefit in kind for work they perform under the arrangement. (GCB 4, 5, 6 + 8)

Freelance work - This experience will be aligned closely with creative industrial expectations. The creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, with around 47% of working people self-employed or working as independent freelance creative practitioners. (GCB 4 + 6).

Design To Sell2018 21

Design To Sell, our long-running fair and marketplace where Pre-Degree students sell their work, takes place annually in our dedicated Pre-Degree buildings.

The Plymouth College of Art, Pre-Degree Progression and Careers year plan is achieved via two platforms of engagement within each learners study programme. The first platform of activities are embedded within the enriching and diverse curriculum model delivered in sessions and includes Creative Careers Toolkit interventions, University progression workshops, the Design to Sell project where we turn our whole campus into a shop for three days, national competitions such as ARTiculation and Worldskills and International Baccalaureate Service Learning interventions and activities.

The second platform exists as activities that sit outside the formal curriculum model and includes Work Placement opportunities, the Pre-Degree enrichment programme, our Year 2 GAP year club, and weekly careers interventions that start in January and continue through to June.

In addition to these platforms of engagement, we intricately track and thread the Pre-Degree Skills Project throughout the course of each learners study programme.

The Skills Project continues to provide an embedded methodology to develop personal development, British values and progression readiness through the recognition and collective ownership of a set of values required to meet these important demands. The Project allows our teachers and students to track and communicate progress in relation to employability and soft skills via regular progress checks.

We continually develop and improve on our Pre-Degree progression and careers provision. Our intention is to continually keep working towards college’s ethos of continual creative learning and social justice via the Pre-Degree Skills Project, whilst also driving toward 100% achievement of the Gatsby Career Benchmarks. The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of 8 guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges.

Our college provides a number of qualifications including the International Baccalaureate Career Programme, we offer a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design course, a suite of 6 UAL Art and Design Extended Diploma courses including Graphics, Illustration and Game Arts, Film, Animation and Media Production, Production and Performance Arts, Photography, Fashion and Textiles and Art and Design and a Level 2 Diploma in Art and Design in Art and Design course.

Our students are able to engage with a number of work experiences from across a multitude of industrial sectors including: Construction, Engineering, Design and Technology, Visual Communication, Architectural design, Fashion, Media and Marketing, Radio as well as in the Public and Health sectors. Which helps them to build upon new and existing skills to align these with professional practice and industry expectation.

BBC Spotlight interviews student Ceri Louise Prowse during the first year of the BFI Film Academy

The Gatsby Benchmarks were developed on behalf of the Gatsby Foundation by Sir John Holman, which aimed to highlight what "good careers work" looked like. They provide us with a clear framework for organising our careers provision, and have been accepted as best practice by the Government.

Find out more about the Gatsby benchmarks here.

Gatsby Career BenchmarkBrief description
1. A stable careers programmeEvery school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers.
2. Learning from career and labour market informationEvery pupil, and their parents, should have access to good-quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities. They will need the support of an informed adviser to make best use of available information.
3. Addressing the needs of each pupilPupils have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support needs to be tailored to the needs of each pupil. A school’s careers programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout.
4. Linking curriculum learning to careersAll teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. For example, STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.
5. Encounters with employers and employeesEvery pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes.
6. Experiences of workplacesEvery pupil should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks.
7. Encounters with further and higher educationAll pupils should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.
8. Personal guidanceEvery pupil should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a careers adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level. These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made. They should be expected for all pupils but should be timed to meet their individual needs.