“Our intent for the careers programme is to enhance learners’ personal development to have a powerful impact in the creative arts. Students take the skills and knowledge, behaviour and attitudes they learn and apply them to their career ambitions within the growing creative arts sector. Students are supported by our qualified and impartial careers service to make good decisions in meeting skills needs, taking their next steps into higher education, apprenticeships or employment.”

We do this with a clear understanding of your needs and will help you to explore how you might establish your career, and manage it long term. East London and Walthamstow has a cultural history in the arts and it continues to be a growing sector in line with local skills plans. The Academy has really fantastic industry links to open doors for you.

The careers education programme for our Level 3 courses is straightforward:
Year 1 – Develop the Plan – understand progression options and develop your careers plan
Year 2 – Do the Plan – carry out your careers plan, building content and experience

Year 1: Develop the PlanYear 2: Do the Plan

Careers Programme 2023-24 (next review date August 2024)

Full information on student entitlement for careers provision and work experience can be found within our policies: 

Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance Policy – September 2023
Work Experience Policy – September 2023

For queries and information please contact Big Creative Academy’s Careers Leader – Victoria Spence –

We offer talks for schools where you can either visit us, or for us to come to you. BCE is both a T Level and apprenticeship provider and we would be happy to arrange a tour and talk to comply with provider access requirements.

Provider Access Policy – September 2023

  • Jobs
  • Casting calls
  • Mentoring 

We collate all the entry level creative arts jobs so you don’t have to! 


Cafe Works Logo

Careers education at college

Your careers education is woven throughout your experience at Big Creative Academy, and is based on the learning recommended by the Careers Development Institute. The main purpose of the CDI’s Career Development Framework is to clarify the skills, knowledge and attitudes that individuals need to have a positive career. A ‘positive career’ will mean something different to everyone, but it will typically include being happy with the way you spend your time, being able to make a contribution to your community and being able to have a decent standard of living.

Six Learning Areas

The careers programme will help you kickstart your career in the creative arts and also help you recognise transferable skills you can take into other sectors. 

What can I do after I finish my course? 

Typically students follow one of three main pathways in the creative arts

  1. Higher education
  2. Apprenticeships
  3. Employment, including working as a freelancer

Please see the tabs for more information about each pathway. 

How do I know there will be jobs in the creative arts? 

Creative UK forecast that the creative arts is growing and there is money to be made! It’s useful to know the labour market information (LMI) for specific sectors to find out about different jobs, salaries and requirements. Here are some presentations we’ve put together for your information: 

Performing Arts
Make up

You can also look at the following websites: 

LMI for All


Creative UK

Not sure what you want to do? 

You might be lucky and be very sure about what you want to do, but others might want a little more inspiration. There are a number of theories of how to go about understanding what’s right for you. 

UCAS Careers Quiz:

Think about what you want your day to day to look like:

John Holland’s Theory of Career Choice, based on personality types:

Values-based careers assessments:

The better you understand your own values, the better choices you’re going to make in sustaining a career and being happy while you’re doing it.

The best thing a parent can do is to listen to their young person and start a conversation about what they might do after they finish their course at Big Creative Academy. We’re here to help you do that. It’s a very big step for everyone in the family. 

We understand it can be difficult sometimes to see a route through to a career in the creative arts but there are jobs and you can have a stable and very lucrative career. 

See our blog post: Job security and Future Skills in the Creative Arts

Also see the presentation from our parent event: 

Introduction to Creative Careers and Labour Market Information Victoria Spence, Careers Lead

We host many events for parents to understand the creative arts and assist your young person. The next event is: Tuesday 9 March, 6.00pm

Typically students follow one of three main pathways in the creative arts

  1. Higher education – please see the presentations below for information

UCAS and how to support decision making and applications Jyoti Farmah, Careers Advisor

The university experience Jacqueline Chambers, University of the Arts, London

  1. Apprenticeships

Our sister organisation Big Creative Training is a training provider for apprenticeships, and guarantees interviews with employers for all Big Creative students. 

Traineeships and Apprenticeships Sabrei Ackah and Saskia Summerhill, Big Creative Training

Apprenticeships Mythbusting Jyoti Farmah, Careers Advisor

A Parents Guide to Apprenticeships

Parents and Carers Pack – Apprenticeship Information

Please also see the apprenticeships tab for further details. 

  1. Employment, including working as a freelancer

The creative arts is about getting your foot in the door and taking it from there. Encourage your young person to try things, work for free when possible and look for helpful employment schemes with employers. 

Young people should have their employment tools prepared:

A plain English CV

A creative CV

A portfolio

A self tape or showreel

Covering letter template

Personal statement template

Professional social media if required 

See the employment tab for where to look for jobs

Many jobs within the creative arts are freelance – people working for themselves. This is very common in the creative arts, with 70% of jobs in music freelance and 50% in the media industry. 

Freelance presentation

Roughly half of our graduating students go on to higher education, as further study and experience is a good way of getting into the creative arts. Half again are the first in their family to do so. 

Big Creative Academy is very proud to support our young people getting into university and conservatoires. A distinction for a Level 3 course with us is worth 168 UCAS tariff points, equivalent to three A* at A Level. Our young people go onto the best universities, including Central St Martins, prestigious music conservatoires and drama schools. 

Blog post: Class of 2022

How do I decide if I want to go to university? 

It’s good to explore your reasons for further study:

  • To expand your academic knowledge and gain experience
  • To move away from home
  • To have an amazing time for personal growth

It’s a big step and we encourage young people and parents to talk to each other about this. It’s a big financial commitment too, and you’ll want to make sure you have a good return on your investment. But it comes down to whether you want to spend the next three years reading books and writing essays. 

All students at Big Creative Academy will complete a UCAS application, but it’s your choice whether you submit it. 

Have a look at these websites for information

What university should I go to? 


There are lots of different factors in choosing which university is right for you, and you need to start asking yourself some tough questions. 

  • Do I want to stay at home? 
  • Do I want to go to a different city? 
  • Do I want a campus university, or a city-based university?
  • Do I want to study abroad?
  • Are there only specific universities that do the course I want to do? 
  • Do I want to go to a Russell Group university, or conservatoire? 

The Uni Guide is helpful to have a look at

Universities are ranked, meaning that some universities are better than others. When applying for jobs employers will judge you based on which university you went to, so it’s important to go to the best university you can. The lists below give you more information and you can filter them by subject. 

QS World University Rankings 2023

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023

The Complete University Guide

The Guardian The best UK universities 2023 – rankings

If you going to get a distinction for your Level 3 course, you should be looking at Russell Group universities and be amongst the best in your field. Have a look at this link to explain more about Russell Group universities:

What is a conservatoire?

Conservatoires are very prestigious, specialist training organisations for music, dance and drama. There are only eleven of them in the UK, and could be your fast track ticket into the creative arts. Their courses are like university courses but are more vocational, practical and professional. 

UCAS Conservatoires

FAQs on conservatoire training

UK drama schools you should know about

Student Finance

Applications for student finance usually start in March each year, for entry to university in September. Here’s the official website:

Student finance is in two parts:

  1. Tuition fee loan – usually £9,250 and paid directly to your university
  2. Maintenance loan – means tested according to parental income, £8,171 to £13,022

This is per year, and university courses are normally three years, so you need to multiply these costs by three. 

Here’s the full presentation on student finance 

Other funding pots available at universities

Link to article on higher earnings for graduates

Apprenticeships are a good way to earn with an employer whilst also training and expanding your experience. There are three elements to an apprenticeship: 

  1. You, the apprentice
  2. The employer, who you work for
  3. The training provider, where you will study

You will spend 80% of your time doing the job, and 20% of your time at the training provider, studying your course. 

Big Creative Training is an apprenticeship training provider and has links with lots of different companies for whom you can work. Here’s all the information:

Apprenticeships can be competitive, but often companies want young people with no experience they can work with for specific roles. 

How do I find apprenticeships? 

There are a number of different ways you can look for an apprenticeship: 

  • Through employers – identify a company you want to work and see if they have apprenticeships
  • Through the training providers – go to apprenticeship training provider websites to look through the vacancies they have. See infographic on training providers by subject. 
  • Through the apprenticeship government website – lists of apprenticeships available and vacancies
  • Through job search websites – indeed, reed, monster all list current apprenticeship opportunities if you type “apprenticeships” into the search

Higher level apprenticeships

For higher level apprenticeships, a university is the training provider and your tuition fees are paid for. There is no cost to you as the apprentice, and you earn as you would in a job whilst also studying for a degree. 

Read the blog piece for more information:

Amazing Apprenticeships: Higher level and degree apprenticeships – listed in January each year

If you want to go straight into a job have all of your tools ready:

  • A plain English CV
  • A creative CV
  • A portfolio
  • A self tape or showreel
  • Covering letter template
  • Personal statement template
  • Professional social media if required 

You also need to know where to look for job opportunities:

Need a bit more help? 

There are lots of employability short courses, schemes and programmes around to help young people into the creative arts. These are often organised by councils, charities and employers and we will update this section of our website when they become available. 

Princes Trust:

Future Formed:

Starting your own business and working for yourself

Many people within the creative arts work for themselves, and you’ll need to understand how you look for work yourself and pay your taxes. 

Freelance presentation

Our curriculum is industry-led and we work closely with employers to ensure we are teaching our young people the skills and knowledge they need for the world of work. 

Students work with employers on industry briefs and extended projects, as well as employers kindly giving their time to talk to students about their expertise. We are very grateful for the goodwill extended to our young people. 

See the employer brochure for all the ways employers can work with us. 

We also have an employer advisory board to ensure we are preparing our students for jobs for the future, and we are members of Creative UK and Business LDN. 

Blog piece

Embedding careers into the curriculum

At Big Creative Academy we embed careers into everything we do, ensuring students learn about the creative industries and sport throughout their time with us. Everything contributes to a student’s progression outcome, and we have high expectations for our students.

Learning objectives for careers are embedded into the curriculum, which are recommended by the Careers Development Institute. There are 35 in total grouped into six themes:

  1. Grow throughout life
  2. Explore possibilities
  3. Manage your career
  4. Create opportunities
  5. Balance life and work
  6. See the big picture

The 35 careers learning objectives are embedded into vocational and wellbeing classes, leading to good understanding for the learner of how to go about their decision making for careers, where to find information and feel confident about their next steps.

Embedding careers is a joint endeavour with the careers team supporting curriculum to ensure good quality careers learning. This may include the careers supporting curriculum by doing sessions for students themselves, or providing resources for tutors on specific topics. You might feel it best that a subject is best delivered by an external facilitator and the careers team will help tutors source contacts. It’s a collaborative process.

For more information please go to the Careers Manager in the first instance, Jyoti Farmah.

Further resources:

DfE Careers Guidance and Access for Education and Training Providers (January 2023)
Careers & Enterprise Company Gatsby Benchmark 4 Linking Curriculum to Careers