I want to study graphic design. What are my options?



Hi, my name is Kitan, and I am 17 years old. I am currently in my first year studying for a BTEC in Art at Harrow College. My goal is to go to university and get a degree in graphic design. But,  I also understand the need for work experience, and I am looking for a graphic design company, where I can start getting knowledge as an apprentice. Please let me know if you can be of any help or send me any information. Thank you.

Kyriaki says:

While it will still be a long time until you finish college, it’s great that you want to get more information on career progression in your chosen field, so that you can start planning for the future.

If you want to become an apprentice, there are many options to choose from. First, you can ask your academic tutor at the college to provide you with a list of the companies they work with. Alternatively, you can go directly to an apprenticeship provider and ask for more information on graphic design apprenticeships or search online on sites such as NotGoingToUni.

Depending on the employer, they will ask for various qualifications for apprenticeships, but, for graphic design, there are generally no set requirements. However, you will need a strong portfolio if you want to make a good impression so I would suggest getting started working on that ASAP. A digital portfolio or a sample of your work on your LinkedIn profile can go a long way to getting you on the program and standing out from the competition.

Since you are also interested in going to university, it might be a good idea to do some detective work on universities that offer graphic design courses. This should give you plenty of time to prepare, explore your options, find out what you like doing in the sector e.g. a speciality, and choose a university that matches the criteria you have set for yourself.

I would personally recommend using UCAS to give you an idea of what’s available out there or checking the list of the top 10 UK universities for graphic design­, to help you make a well-informed decision.

However, because you want an apprenticeship, a degree and also work experience, a degree apprenticeship is probably the best solution for you as it combines gaining work experience and studying towards an academic degree.

It is quite a simple concept. The programmes are designed in cooperation with employers to ensure that you are learning relevant skills. You work full-time at least 30 hours a week for between one and six years and mix practical on-the-job training with study at a partner university.

What’s great about this option is that it doesn’t cost you anything - on the contrary, you get paid while you study and you have a guarantee graduate job at the end of it. Even though you won’t get the traditional university experience per se, it is a pretty good way to start your career. Nuttersons for example, offer many apprenticeship opportunities in graphic design related areas and you might want to take a look at it, if you are serious about this.

So there you have it! You can either choose to become an apprentice, study at a university or combine work experience with studying with a degree apprenticeship. Which one do you think is the best for you? Let us know in the comments section below…

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