Careers & Enterprise
Our students begin their professional careers the moment they step into the college: we encourage everyone to think of themselves as practitioners – photographers, illustrators, designers, filmmakers – from day one.
The creative sector is the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, contributing £111.7 billion each year. A government report published in 2016 shows the creative sector is worth a massive £9.6million per hour – with data proving the trend is set to continue.
You begin your professional career the moment you step into the college. Our teaching staff and technicians are practising artists, our visiting lecturers bring a wealth of insight and our culture of live briefs keeps things feeling real.
We encourage students to think for themselves as practitioners – photographers, illustrators, designers, filmmakers – from day one. Whatever you wish to do, we can support you during your study and help you to fulfil your career aspirations.
We offer you the opportunity to take an ambitious journey of self-awareness, professional development and business planning to equip you to use your creative practice as a springboard to lifelong fulfilment, and an exciting career in the creative industries locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.
We'll support you to find experiences that will fit in and around your studies, including:
- Resources – Online resources and useful links
- Our Careers Team host a programme of workshops that gives opportunities for students to meet, engage with and learn from real world practitioners and industry professionals
- Careers advice before and for up to three years after graduation
- Work placements and internships
- Job Wall – Offers a wide range of external paid jobs and commissions
- Selling and showcasing opportunities
- Networking opportunities
- Alumni support
All of our programmes show you how to combine artistic talent with business acumen, giving you the toolkit you need to be successful in today’s creative economy. And we provide opportunities for you to liaise with a wide range of creative industries, alongside our expert academics - all practicing artists, designers and makers in their specialist field.
Our animation and game arts students, for example, have taken part in huge international industry events in Lille and Stuttgart. Fashion students regularly visit Première Vision in Paris to identify trends and manufacturers, and attend London and Paris Fashion Weeks to capture celebrity and fashion street-style photography. Photography students attend Paris Photo, Europe’s biggest photo fair, amongst other events, while design students visit and exhibit at Talente and SCHMUCK in Munich, the British Ceramics Biennial, and the Contemporary Craft Festival. In short, every programme at the college works hard to ensure that all our students are exposed to the very best industry events related to their field of interest.
Many of our students also secure top industry placements with organisations such as Vogue, Zandra Rhodes, Hallmark, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Urban Outfitters.
You’ll work on live briefs, set and assessed by industry professionals – from Greenpeace to Joules. You’ll get to see how a professional creative project is handled from start to finish, including pitching and marketing ideas, project management, and being part of a creative team, as well as working directly with clients. You will be involved with elements of the creative business process that you wouldn’t otherwise be part of until entering the world of work.
Plymouth College of Art is committed to supporting the success of our graduates and improving employability outcomes. As one way to achieve this, we introduced our mentoring programme in 2020, with the pilot scheme operating from January to July 2021. The mentoring programme pairs members of the HE student community with more experienced members of the creative community who wish to support our students in furthering their career aims. This support consists of holding a set of structured conversations around themes including but not limited to goal-setting, entrepreneurship, resilience and emotional intelligence.
However, the conversations will also be personalised dependent on the needs, objectives and attitude of the mentee. “The mentee Is not a passive vessel into which the mentor pours knowledge but rather is an active collaborator who engages in learning and critically reflects on experiences” (Zachary & Fischler, 2009). The success of the mentoring relationship depends as much on the mentee as the mentor: the mentee needs to be able to communicate their goals clearly, be proactive in the process and undertake the actions agreed.
In the words of one of the participants in the scheme: “My time at Plymouth College of Art has influenced my aspiration to have a career in mentoring that is specifically aimed at students. To help and guide them alongside their studies and being a mentor as part of the mentoring scheme gives me the best opportunity and experience to start to achieve this. I can't begin to describe how grateful I am to be a part of the scheme.”
If you would like to get involved, please contact email@example.com.
Our diverse range of creative courses equip students with the critical knowledge and technical skills needed to succeed in industry today.
Employability is embedded throughout our curriculum, and we regularly invite businesses big and small to collaborate with our talented students.
As a real-world client, you’ll be providing the next generation of creative innovators with industry experience and preparing them for the world of work. Through live briefs, our students gain confidence in research, client consultation, collaboration, budgeting and bringing ideas to market. Meanwhile, you’ll gain cost efficient access to cutting-edge creative thinking and state-of-the-art resources.
If you have a creative project or live brief that you’d like to set for our students, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We emphasise the importance of learning and creating at the same time. In 2018 we launched Makers HQ, a Community Interest Company set in a former Jaeger factory in Plymouth that provides production facilities to the fashion industry and to emerging designers. Run by ex-Topshop, ASOS and Finery Garment Technologist, Sophie Glover, here students can access sampling studio services including pattern drafting, creation of single samples, and short production runs – which means you could create one-off pieces or entire collections.
Makers HQ provides a tangible link between education and real industry experience, with Sophie and the team setting live briefs for students, as well as offering industry advice and experience.
Not only does Makers HQ bring live industry links direct to our students, but the project has brought fashion manufacturing back to a factory that once provided almost 300 jobs for local skilled workers in our city.
Grad South West match great jobs to great graduates. Quality career opportunities and paid internships in the South West of England are available to graduates with specialist skills and new jobs are added to their website daily. Visit www.gradsouthwest.com for more information or www.gradswales.com for roles further afield.
If you have an internship or work placement opportunity, want to advertise a job vacancy, or are interested in sharing your industry experience with our students, we would love to hear from you. Our talented students are always on the lookout for creative opportunities to demonstrate their skills and gain experience. Specialisms range from animation, illustration and graphic design to film, photography, fashion design, and more.
We also run a mentoring scheme and would welcome professionals from industry who would be interested in nurturing students. Mentorship from real-world professionals raises aspirations and provides great personal development, plus you'll gain special access to our facilities and discount on courses.
We advertise full-time, part-time, freelance, internship and volunteering opportunities to our many students and graduates and have a high success rate of matching the right candidate to the right position.
For further information, contact us on 01752 203434 or email email@example.com
If you're a business or employer interested in working with our specialist staff and facilities, please see our Business Services page.