Still unsure what to do after getting your GCSE results? A career in the creative arts, construction or engineering can be more rewarding than you might think

PUBLISHED: 13:01 06 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:07 08 November 2018

North Herts College offers a full range of creative courses from Level 1 to Level 4, including fashion, acting, graphics, media and art and design.

North Herts College offers a full range of creative courses from Level 1 to Level 4, including fashion, acting, graphics, media and art and design.

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We explore North Hertfordshire College’s industry-led approach to learning and find out how A-levels are not the only path to university

Creative arts

With one in 11 jobs in the UK generated by creative industries and national initiatives being put in place to boost the nation’s media exports, there has never been a better time to consider a creative career.

According to a government white paper released earlier this year, the creative industries, which encompass film, TV, music, fashion and design, arts, advertising and video games, account for more than two million jobs and contributed £92billion to the UK economy in 2016.

So how is North Hertfordshire College (NHC) playing its part in nurturing the country’s future creative talent?

Close to industry
Within the creative and performing arts department at NHC, you will find practising artists, designers, directors, filmmakers and performers all with years of industry experience behind them, which you would be hard-pressed to find at a school’s sixth form.

“All of our staff have relevant industry experience and will nurture the skills and talents of the individual student to support them to reach their next step,” says head of creative arts at NHC Briony Marston.

The college offers a full range of creative courses from Level 1 to Level 4, including fashion, acting, graphic design, media production and art and design.

“Our acting lecturer is completing her MA in Text & Performance at RADA, one of the UK’s most prestigious drama schools, and one of our Art & Design lecturers has recently completed a solo exhibition in Cambridge.”

Top-of-the-line facilities

Students who join a creative arts course at NHC have access to the right tools for the job. As well as a brand-new Mac suite kitted out with the latest tech, drones, 4K video cameras, laser cutter, glass and ceramic kilns, industrial sewing machinery, 3D printer, screen-printing and woodwork machinery are all available to students to help them realise their creative visions.


University-led learning

University of Arts London (UAL) is the awarding body for all creative courses at NHC. Each course is written by people who work in industry and takes a rounded student-centred approach to education.

The college’s connection to UAL means Level 3 students have the opportunity to take part in the extra-curricular UAL Insights programme in London. On the Insights Programme, higher education lecturers will provide skills workshops, as well as interview and portfolio advice, offering a real taste of higher education at the world’s sixth best university for art and design.

Unlike some A-level provision, in the creative arts at NHC, students undertake a self-initiated final major project, a model similar to what they would undertake if they progressed to university.

What do students do next?

Briony says: “By choosing a vocational programme with us, our students are fully immersed in their subject specialism, allowing them to create, experiment, explore and refine their creative practice, which provides a competitive edge when progressing to drama school, art school, university or directly into the creative industries.

“The important thing for students unsure about their options after GCSEs is to come in and speak to us,” says Briony.

“During the conversation, we will discuss the many routes available, whether it’s for fashion or graphics, and make sure people are put on the right path for future success.”

Recent students have progressed onto courses at Central St Martins, Wimbledon College of Arts, the London College of Fashion and East 15 Drama School.

Want to apply?

Online applications are still open for courses starting in September 2018. Learn more about the enrolment process here or call 01462 424242 to speak to an advisor.


Engineering and Construction

Worth £103 billion per year, and employing over 2.1 million people, the construction sector is one of the biggest contributors to the economy.

First-time buyers, downsizers and developers are all coming up against a shortage of houses across the UK, and qualified tradespeople to build the, meaning those in this field can earn good rates of pay.

By 2030 Hertfordshire’s population is set to soar to 1.3 million. This means even more new homes will need building, as well as shopping centres, airports, motorways and other major infrastructure projects to service such developments.

It’s a similar story with engineering and manufacturing. Hertfordshire is home to major players in the aerospace, space and satellite engineering, communication technologies, defence, and green energy industries.

But with an aging workforce, it’s estimated that an extra 265,000 recruits will be needed by 2024 in the engineering and manufacturing sectors across the UK.

So how can an education at North Hertfordshire College make sure you are best placed to take advantage of these exciting opportunities?


Real world experience

Studying at the Engineering and Construction Campus is as close to the real world as you can get. The college is equipped with industrial standard equipment, giving learners hands-on experience of working in these sectors. The College offers course ranging from a variety of trades in construction through to motor vehicle and engineering.

Close to industry
All of the staff have relevant industry experience. They work closely with learners to help them progress onto their chosen destination or higher level of study, supported by relevant top-quality placements in their chosen industries.


What do students do next?

A former student emigrated to Australia and setup one of Perth’s largest solar power system installers. Among the electricians working at the college’s Engineering & Construction Campus is an NHC alumni, now employed by an established electrical contractor in Letchworth. Others have gone on to secure full-time employment as qualified motor vehicle and body repair specialists with the AA, Halfords, and Jaguar and Aston Martin specialists Stratton Motor Company, while some have progressed onto university degree programmes specialising in engineering.


North Hertfordshire College still has places available on a range of Engineering and Construction courses.

Learn more about the enrolment process here or call 01462 424242 to speak to an advisor.

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