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Careers | The Open College of the Arts | Distance Learning Degrees & Courses
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OCA Student Careers

People have many reasons for studying with us at OCA, but one of the most common is to start a new career.

You could be launching your career, changing careers, or setting out on something new entirely. Whichever stage of the journey you’re at, the skills and knowledge you’ll gain from an OCA qualification will help you on the way to a creative career.

The Creative Economy in the UK is booming, reportedly growing by 53.1% in the years 2010-17, and supporting 3.12 million UK jobs in 2017 (source: Creative Industries Council). Over 2.1 million of those jobs are classified as creative occupations, with the rest supporting creative industries.

OCA degree courses will show you how to sustain your artistic practice post-graduation and into your chosen career path. Our tutors, as practicing artists themselves, can assist in guiding your progress and pass on useful advice on the best approach to make your passion into a career.

We’ve developed some brief guides on specific creative industries, some of the common creative jobs in those sectors, things you may want to think about for your career, and where to look for jobs.

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Interior Design Careers

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Graphic Design & Illustration Careers

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Photography Careers

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Music Careers

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Textiles Careers

Textiles graduates are well placed for a range of careers within the creative industries. The skills and knowledge acquired through a Textiles degree will equip you for a career in the fashion industry, which contributed £32bn to the UK economy in 2018. A textiles designer can also find career opportunities in the field of interior design and decoration, as well as within the retail sector.

Creative Writing Careers

Flexibility is your buzzword, with a Creative Writing degree and the skills you’ll gain providing opportunities almost wherever you look. Publishing, communications, marketing, journalism are common career paths for creative writers, becoming copywriters, communications executives, marketing officers, you name it.

Traditional avenues have declined, with print media in journalism and book publishing being replaced by digital alternatives. There is also the option to self-publish, leading to lots of opportunities to start out on your own, self-employed. Through OCA’s Creative Writing degree, you will learn how to become a writer in your chosen area of specialism.

The National Careers Service have example job profiles in publishing and journalism, which can help get an understanding of the sector, and recruitment practices.

Apart from some of the main job recruitment sites like Reed or Milkround, there are some specialist sites for this sector:

Drawing, Painting, & Fine Art Careers

Becoming a practicing artist, self-supporting, and exhibiting your works could be the dream. Getting there though requires practice and promotion to become established. You may choose to freelance and take on projects, or you could use your transferable skills to the workplace as a decorator, tutor, or exhibition organiser, all the while working to become an artist.

The National Careers Service have a full list of example profiles and advice across arts, crafts, and design, including specifics for Fine Artists.

Artquest and A-N have advice and guidance for visual artists, and regularly post networking and other opportunities that you could take advantage of. Prospects also have useful information on where you can take a degree in Fine Art.

The Arts Council post jobs and news stories on their site, Creative Choices have articles and case studies from practicing artists, and Resartists are a network of artistic residencies.

Moving Image & Film Careers

With the skills developed through Moving Image, you’ll be set to create independent film pieces. The film industry makes up a large part of the UK’s creative industry meaning there are lots of opportunities, but to take advantage of these experience and networks are needed. Animation and high-end effects are expected to become even more important, so an understanding of the principles and software used can only help.

Building up your portfolio is key; Creative England offer funding and other support to get you off the ground, and Bafta Guru is full of useful advice for aspiring filmmakers. ScreenSkills have loads of help and support for filmmakers, animators, and TV enthusiasts, and they also have options to help you train.

Specialist job sites for Moving Image & Film include