Study in the UK for a career in the thriving creative industries

The creative industries in the UK are often said to be the most resilient of all. Not only did they survive the economic downturn, they thrived during those years. This may come as a surprise in an economy where we assume that cutbacks will affect what are often considered the less essential trades first: arts, creative industries and the media. The truth is that creative minds are in high demand in every industry these days. From the traditional arts like music and film to modern disciplines such as game development and animation, the opportunities for graduates from good creative industries programmes are endless.

The creative industries are undergoing a massive transformation, giving young creative types plenty of opportunities to create their work, self-publish, and market themselves. Others prefer to go into full-time employment in a variety of different industries. The variety of subjects available at college and university reflects the wide range of sectors graduates can go into, from animation, fine art and film to IT technology, graphic design, and web development.  The work of creative industries graduates impacts on every aspect of our lives, from our favourite music and films to the clothes we wear and the cars we drive.


Pic: Plymouth College of Art

This increased demand for creative minds means more employment opportunities for what was traditionally regarded as a tough sector. Between 2011 and 2012 employment in the creative industries rose by 8.6%, making it the fastest growing sector in the UK. As a result, more UK colleges and universities are offering high quality courses to meet industry demands.

Students and graduates may be eligible for grants and should always keep an eye out for funding from the Arts Council and other organisations which foster creativity and talent. Originality and creativity always go hand in hand and starting a business with a unique idea has worked for many forward thinking graduates. If starting a business or being self-employed seems less appealing, many employers will value the transferable skills gained on a creative industries course.

International students considering the creative industries can rest assured that during the course of their studies and after, they will have plenty of chances to build their portfolio, develop their craft, and make contacts across the industry. When it comes to choosing where to study, students may have different aims and objectives depending on their goals and what speciality they want to go into. However, some criteria is always important and can make all the difference, including: the facilities offered on site, the location (Is it inspiring? Are there many opportunities?), the tutors and lecturers (Are they artists? Do they know the industry?).


Pic: Film Making at SAE

To get started, here are some great institutions for international students looking for creative courses:


Plymouth College of Art is an independent art college that welcomes 2,000 students, offering specialist art and design courses ranging from A Levels and Extended Diplomas to Bachelors and Master degree programmes. The college is a small and tight-knit community, allowing staff to support the individual development of all students. Courses are offered in a broad range of creative areas, including Animation, Ceramics, Games Design, Fashion, Film, Photography, and more. Professionals regularly deliver master classes and students continue to win prestigious national and international awards, illustrating the quality of academic and practice-based training the college delivers to all those who attend. Read the full profile here…


Edge Hill University first opened as a college in 1885. Today it is welcomes 26,000 students and offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Edge Hill is a leading centre for digital industries, sport, arts and culture in the region and provides a valuable resource for students and the region. The Arts Centre puts on performances throughout the year in the areas of performance including dance, drama, physical theatre, music, comedy and film. Edge Hill offers bachelors and masters degrees in performing arts and the media, including Dance, Drama, Visual Theatre, Advertising, Animation, Film and TV Production, Music  and Public Relations. Read the full profile here…


The SAE Institute has campuses around the world and an established reputation for preparing passionate students for employment in the creative industries. Founded in 1976 in Australia, it now offers a wide range of courses and qualifications in more than 50 locations across 26 countries. SAE is the largest digital media school in the world and all its courses provide students with practical experience and knowledge of the latest technologies. The SAE campuses welcome students from all over the world who want to specialise in Audio, Film Making, Animation, Games Design or Web Development. Read the full profile here…


Pic: Edge Hill University Campus


Falmouth University is a creative institution on the South coast of Cornwall in the UK. Falmouth welcomes students from all over the world and fosters creativity and encourages artists to push their boundaries, explore their practice and develop their own creative identity. Falmouth University enjoys national and international partnerships which provide opportunities for students to work throughout or after their studies. Falmouth gives international students the option to study for a Foundation Diploma, and many undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Advertising, Animation, Digital Media among others. Read more about Falmouth’s International Foundation Diploma here.


The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) trains artists to the contemporary arts. It offers degree courses in Acting, Dance, Music, Sound Technology and many other subjects; as well as full-time one year  Foundation Certificates in Performing Arts (Acting); Performing Arts (Dance); Performing Arts (Singing); and Popular Music and Sound Technology. A quarter of all LIPA students come from outside the UK and study in this welcoming artistic community. The emphasis at LIPA is on collaboration as all students interact and work on projects together. 87% of LIPA graduate go on to work in the performing arts and LIPA ranks as one of the best institutions in the world.


The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has five campuses across Surrey and Kent and has existed in its current form since 2005, although it has been in operation for more than 150 years through its founding colleges. The network of campuses hosts more than 7,000 students representing 70 countries. UCA offers courses at all university levels to international students in Animation, Film, Fine Art, Fashion, Photography, and more. As a specialist institution, UCA gives students the opportunity to fully dedicate themselves to the subject area of their choice and supports them to develop and realise their ambitions. Teaching staff are closely connected to their industries and are all practitioners in their fields and offer the best advice and up-to-date knowledge to all students.