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Students leave NUA with a range of skills required to become outstanding creative professionals.

The UK is the world’s most important and dynamic market for the creative industries. The highly-skilled sector thrives on talented, well prepared graduates and a university qualification is the key to many careers within the growing creative industries market.

  • 1.5 million people in the UK are employed in the creative sector accounting for 5.1% of UK employment (DCMS 2011).
  • The sector has grown by 28% in employment terms since 2006 (DCMS 2010).
  • 67% of people currently working in the creative industries have a degree (Labour Market Intelligence Digest).
  • The creative industries account for £9 billion of exports, constitute 7% of UK GDP and represent the largest creative sector in the world (Universities UK, Creative Economy Facts and Figures).

The Careers Service

The NUA Careers Service provides employability support during your time at NUA and after graduation. You will have the opportunity to attend workshops on topics such as interview preparation, self-employment advice and preparing a creative CV. Students can also access one-to-one support such as tailored careers advice or support in finding an internship.

The service can also help you find a part-time job whilst you are a student. NUA students can use the campus-based careers service from day one and for up to three years after graduation. The NUA Careers Service holds the MATRIX quality standard for information, advice and guidance services. For more information see Careers.

Business and Professional Skill Development

Personal Development Planning is integrated within course units at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and is relevant to a range of contexts including creative practice and employability. Students at either level are also encouraged to undertake work placements while studying.

Business and professional skills are integrated within the course units of every undergraduate course at NUA. You will develop skills in creative practice, business and professional studies, contextual understanding and planning and development, in order to help you prepare for employment, professional practice or continuing education. For course-specific information see the Careers section on each course page.

Postgraduate study provides the opportunity to develop the transferable skills of research, communication and independent study.

For postgraduate research students the University’s research training programme develops your generic and subject-based professional skills in areas such as publication, intellectual property and career planning, and assists you in developing your professional networks.

Remaining relevant to modern creative industries

The University has a range of local and national links with the creative industries and involves industry representatives in the approval and periodic review of its courses. Industry representatives participate in advisory groups and guest lecturers from industry contribute to individual courses. In addition, academic staff are engaged in professional practice.

Bridging the transition from student to professional

Our commitment to developing business and professional skills combined with studio, contextual and personal skills through live briefs, work-related learning, competition entry, professional lectures and collaborative projects from day one of study has been endorsed by both students and external bodies.

  • 92% of graduates were in employment or further study within six months (DLHE 2012)
  • 97% student retention rate. Students who start here stay here.
  • Strong course links with industry as recognised by Creative Skillset.


The ideasfactory@NUA was established to facilitate closer links between the University and business and to bridge the transition from student to professional. Academics and students work together on live projects as part of their curriculum in professional practice. Real work comes with real clients, real problems and real solutions.

In the past year NUA students have designed logos, created new brand names, launched websites, built apps for the iPhone, re-designed magazines, curated shows, created sculpture and art commissions and broadcast films at Glastonbury and Latitude festivals.


Our annual Brainchild competition is open to all students, encouraging them to develop a business idea over a few months and then present it to a panel to compete for funding. All entrants receive business advice and mentoring which covers accountancy, legal issues and marketing and is especially valuable to graduates who set up their own businesses or are self employed.

Notable Alumni

Successful alumni and former tutors (who include Lucian Freud, Michael Andrews and Leslie Davenport) contribute to the University’s distinguished history. NUA graduates continue to be at the forefront of creative endeavour with graduates holding key positions at leading arts, design and media companies throughout the world. Many have had considerable success as creative entrepreneurs and continue to support the next generation of NUA graduates through providing internships and employment.

Former students are NUA’s greatest ambassadors. Upon graduation you automatically become a member of the alumni network and continue your relationship with NUA through networking events, careers workshops, mentoring support and the regular printed magazine ‘Beyond’.

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(NUA’s) activities have the potential to contribute significantly to the quality of the student learning experience in the future and help to equip students for their chosen profession.

Independent QAA Institutional Audit 2010