Focus on Art & Design

Today’s BTECs are more focused, more aspirational and more relevant…….. BTECs are known to increase student engagement, enable students to progress, develop student life skills and add value and variety. Grantham College offer a BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Art & Design, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design, BTEC 90-Credit Diploma in Art & Design Full Level 3 and BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art & Design which are taught in a variety of highly equipped environments including a specialist studio equipment for print making, ceramics, glass, metal, wood work and plastics, photography studio with darkroom and drawing studios.

A team of eight staff, with over 30 years of industry experience and 50 years of teaching experience between them, pass on their knowledge, experience and skills to students studying on the BTEC courses allowing them to create some magnificent pieces from a variety of materials. Staff have taken jobs in a wide variety of creative roles and companies including Lister Furniture and Tecno UK London.

All staff have a minimum BA (Hons) with one member of staff having an MA. Curriculum Leader for Art & Design has been awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts because of the Young Designers into Industry Scheme and Licentiateship of the Society of Designer Craftsmen based on her making ability.

Students studying on any of the BTEC Art & Design courses at Grantham College will not only gain the academic nature of the course but take part in an array of trips including regular visits to London to see a range of galleries and exhibitions. There is also the opportunity to go overseas to the likes of Florence and Venice where students can develop their contextual understanding and art history practice.

Progression to Higher Education……

On successful completion of the BTEC Art & Design courses at Grantham College you can progress on to Higher Education, of which you can do with Grantham College on the HNC/HND Art & Design course. Previous BTEC Art & Design students have been highly successful in gaining university places with 94% of students applying to university last year gaining their first choice place. Students have gone to the likes of Plymouth College of Art, Leeds College of Art, University of Arts London and Nottingham Trent University to study Contemporary Crafts, Special Effects, Games Art and Graphic Communication & Typography.

Independent research on progression and career opportunities for young people in the UK demonstrates how BTECs open doors into Higher Education and beyond.

Figures based on research revealed in January 2011 from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that:

  • More than 100,000 BTEC students apply to Higher Education and make the university grade
  • In 2011, admissions to UK universities by BTEC students had risen 30% year on year
  • Ninety-five per cent of Higher Education Institutions accept BTEC students, including Russell Group universities
  • More than 50% of 20-30-year-olds going on to higher education are BTEC students
  • 20% of level 3 BTEC holders go on to undergraduate degree courses*
  • With a level 3 BTEC you can boost your lifetime’s earnings by up to £92,000.*

* Independent research carried out by London Economics in 2010.

The world of work…..

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) reported that in 2011 music and visual and performing arts were the largest employers in the creative industries.

Employment opportunities are grouped into:

  • advertising
  • craft
  • cultural heritage
  • design
  • fashion
  • film entertainment
  • literature
  • music
  • performing arts
  • photography
  • TV and radio
  • visual arts.

The creative arts sector is often paired with the digital sector as digital technology provides the creative industries with the platforms and infrastructure to deliver the content.

In addition to this is the fashion industry which is worth around £11.5billion to the UK economy. It employs around 340,000 people and comprises three broad components – design, manufacture and servicing.

Who are the main graduate employers?

The creative arts sector is made up of a lot of small companies. According to the Creative and Cultural Industries 2012/13 reports, 85% of companies employ fewer than four people, 14% employ 5 to 50 people and only 1% employs more than 50 people.

The sector also has some large well-established organisations. Examples include:

  • Advertising – Leo Burnett, Saatchi and Saatchi, Ogilvy Group
  • Crafts – Crafts Council
  • Cultural heritage – National Museum of Wales
  • Film – Ealing studios, Working Title
  • General arts – Arts Council
  • Music – Opera North, EMI Group Ltd
  • Television and radio – BBC, Granada, Global Radio

What’s it like working in the sector?

Graduates entering the creative arts and design sector can expect:

  • a higher than average likelihood of working on a self-employed or part-time basis;
  • to have an unsteady income and often be working in advance of being paid for their outputs;
  • to earn less but achieve other objectives in their work;
  • working hours to vary enormously, from regular, nine to five hours typical of cultural heritage occupations to unsocial hours undertaken by musicians and performers.

What are the key issues in the creative arts sector?

The sector can be highly competitive both to secure employment and to develop within a role. Some occupations such as those within media and publishing are highly sought-after. While others such as performing arts are at risk of periods of unemployment and may be subject to rapid change.

The distribution of employment in this sector is uneven. Performing arts employment is focussed within large cities, notably London. The film, music and broadcasting industries are similarly based in large cities, particularly London, Manchester and Birmingham.


However, self-employment and working in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provides opportunities for creative art and culture to be carried out anywhere. For example, there have been recent initiatives to stimulate social enterprises and cooperative enterprises in rural parts of the UK such as Wales and Cornwall.

Issues affecting the fashion industry include a poor image, loss of skills and competing with overseas companies who are doing the same things but cheaper. In addition to this there are skills shortages in a number of roles including:

  • dyers and screen printers
  • fabric technologist
  • pattern cutters and graders
  • supervisors and production staff
  • supply chain managers.

These job profiles are examples of graduate careers in the creative arts and design sector:

  • Actor
  • Arts administrator
  • Ceramics designer
  • Dancer
  • Fashion designer
  • Fine artist
  • Graphic design
  • Illustrator
  • Museum/gallery curator
  • Musician
  • Photographer
  • Textile designer.