Work-based learning opportunities
The Diploma in Creative Professional Development has been developed to offer undergraduate students the chance to spend a year between the second and third year of their course exploring their employability options through a structured programme of input sessions and work-based learning.
The Diploma in Creative Professional Development offers much more than an industry sandwich year, it is:
- Designed around your needs as a creative student, particularly if your personal network does not currently reach creative industry.
- Based on our award-winning Profile skills framework.
- Co-delivered with industry partners who share our approach.
- Supporting you with carefully planned interventions and activities before and after their placements, so that you are ready to undertake placement learning and then equipped to derive the maximum insight from the experience afterwards.
- Opening up a wide range of creative roles that you may not imagine you would be able to apply for after your study at NUA.
It has been designed for:
- Students who want to work in creative industry, but have not yet decided the sort of role they would like.
- Students who do have a clear sense of career direction, but need to develop a structured plan to achieve it.
- Students who do not have relevant work experience, and want to graduate with a fuller CV.
- Students who think that business start-up or freelancing may be their preferred option and want to explore it further.
The aim of the course is to provide you with an opportunity to gain industry insight, develop your employability skills through a series of supported experiences, expand your network and build your confidence in the workplace.
It has been developed as a deeper dive into skills development and personal planning building from the Employability curriculum delivered in Year 1 and Year 2 and will prepare you for a focussed third year of degree study.
By the end of Year 2, all NUA students will be familiar with our unique skills development programme, NUA Profile. You will be familiar with the 10 employability skills identified in the programme, and will have logged evidence of your own development against the framework.
This process may have prompted you to identify areas and skills that you need to develop further and evidence. It could be, for example, that you have not worked in a professional team, or that you do not have enough experience of handling customers. The new course will be a chance to build your skills by trying out strategies and approaches within the placement experience. It might be a new strategy for communication if you find it difficult to tailor your style to a business audience – or a strategy for team-working, if you feel hampered by imposter syndrome and need to break that habit. It offers a ‘real’ experience, in the employer’s workplace, away from NUA, and working with the industry team, underpinned by coaching from NUA, enabling you to really learn, take creative risk and experiment.
Each experience is built on supported exploration, with group sessions and peer learning opportunities that will develop your confidence and help you make decisions about what you want from a future career, and how to get there in practical terms.
The course is organised around 2 industry placements – the first lasting 6 weeks, the second 12 weeks, and a group project or ‘hackathon’ exploring freelancing and business start-up.
Before each placement there will be input sessions to prepare you for the experience. You will be supported and contacted while you are working with your host business, and afterwards we will work with you to reflect on what you have learnt, using it as the basis of an effective and achievable career plan.
This model of preparation, experiential learning and then reflection, underpinned by the NUA Profile programme, has proved highly effective in helping students and graduates to secure high quality creative roles. It will support your confidence to grow, and as a result you will be more informed in your approach, with a clearer idea of what you need to do to achieve your plan.
You will be matched to each placement by the Business and Employability (B&E) team. Your placements will be in a variety of settings, in workplaces of a different size and type. This will give you a sense of how creative industry works, and insight into the different types of organisation you could join after graduating. You will experience different working environments, size of team and workplace cultures.
Your placements may not directly match your course area; this is intentional, and will open up your career thinking to the very broad range of roles that are open to NUA graduates, many of which are not restricted by creative specialism. The course team will endeavour to match you to a placement that will offer opportunities to develop the areas you have identified as part of the course.
If you want to secure your own placement with a specific business outside of the scheme, you could still apply to undertake the experience within the structure of the Diploma. The Employability team will be available to support you in submitting applications and liaising with the host organisation. You would be asked to give details of the placement you have arranged at the time of application, so that the course team can check that the host business is able to fulfil the requirements of the programme.
Every placement we offer will be:
- With a partner employer that shares our ambition for your future.
- In an existing creative team where you will have a designated mentor.
- Within a reasonable travelling distance of NUA.
- Using basic, industry standard creative software skills, for example Adobe Suite – you will receive top up training before the first placement to make sure you are well prepared.
We will select partners for the quality of placement they can offer, and values that are consistent with the University’s approach to inclusivity and sustainability. The course is open to students from any background, and any NUA undergraduate course. In each placement, you will be given tasks and objectives by the host organisation, and work as part of their team.
The course will build from the employability teaching and activity you have experienced in Year 1 and Year 2, and deepen your knowledge about creative industry, the way that organisations work and how your own skills and experience will enable you to take up your place within it.
The course is made up of two units, comprising 120 credits at Level 5. You will have the chance to work with creative students from other disciplines, with external clients, and focus on your own employability skills.
Input sessions on the course will include workshops, lectures and 1:1 coaching. We will stay in touch with you throughout each placement to support your progress and there will be a mid-placement formative assessment point to keep you on track. Whilst you are on placement, the course will be remotely delivered for the most part, although you will be able to access all campus services including the library. In between placements, course sessions will be a mixture of remote and in person delivery. At the end of each placement, you will submit a reflective learning summary for assessment. You will also be asked to make a short presentation.
This structured approach will set a clear expectation of what you will learn, support you through the experience itself, and then help you to reflect on what you have learned and how far you have progressed. This means that, in addition to building a CV with relevant experience, the course will prepare you in being able to make better-informed choices in your future career direction and articulate what you have learned to prospective employers.
The course will be led by the Lecturer in Employability and Entrepreneurship, based in the Business and Employability team. It will use the NUA Profile resources in teaching and to track your progress– and in this placement year you will build these skills through industry experience. A link tutor from your core degree course will support your smooth transition into Year 3, and you will have the chance to participate in sessions with the current Year 2 students towards the end of the year, giving you the chance to get to know them before your final year.
There are four strands to the input sessions on this course:
- Industry insight: Understanding workplace culture and how industry works, understanding how your skills and attributes can fit into an industry organisation, identifying what to look for in a future employer.
- Skills development: Assessing your own skills in an industry context, setting career goals for yourself.
- Consolidating your knowledge: Understanding the extent and value of the technical, subject-based, and transferrable knowledge you have developed so far, and understanding the value that you bring to an employer – the ‘anchor points’ of your future career.
- Looking forward: Networking, job crafting, goal setting, and how to use Year 3 to prepare to launch your career.
The Diploma in Creative Professional Development will equip you with a much deeper understanding of your own skills and attributes, along with insight into the type of opportunity that creative industry offers. You will use this year to build evidence of your skills and to work on specific development areas with 1:1 support. You can expect to finish the year with better industry knowledge and confidence in your own abilities built through real life experience.
You will approach Year 3 with enhanced focus, insight, and an achievable career plan.
NUA Profile is a framework for employability skills development that underpins the Careers and Employability programme. It is based on 10 core skills, co-developed with creative industry employers that students learn to develop and evidence. It is a person-centred programme that prompts users to contextualise their skills level with real-world evidence, helping them to identify future directions and development priorities.
The 10 skills that underpin the Careers and Employability programme are:
- Demonstrating a positive attitude
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Meeting deadlines and delivering a brief
- Responding to feedback
- Handling customers and clients
- Communicating with colleagues and partners
- Interpreting a brief
- Working in a team
- Attention to detail
Top 10 for
by the Times and Sunday Times 2022
Top Two UK
by The Complete University Guide 2023
for Student Retention -
The Times and Sunday Times 2020