Art and Design Courses at Derby College

Graphic designer, fashion designer, animator, fine artist, photographer, interior designer, arts administrator, art therapist, gallery curator – the list of career opportunities in the dynamic world of art and design is endless.

Is this you?

  • Good communicator
  • Enjoy being creative
  • Like to explore new ideas and ways of doing things
  • Work well under pressure
  • Can think on your feet
  • Confident and outgoing
  • Work well in a team and listen to others

Getting into art & design

  • Full time at College You’ll find a range of creative courses at Derby College. Your starting point will depend on your GCSE results and you will normally need to bring along a portfolio of work to your interview.
  • Higher education You usually need a degree, HND or HNC for some jobs such as animator or graphic designer. Many Students choose to take an Art Foundation course after A-levels or a BTEC, as this gives them the opportunity to try out different areas of art. You can study full time or part time alongside a job. It’s always helpful to get some work experience in your chosen area as well as gaining qualifications.
  • Jobs You might be able to get into a creative job such as sign writer or photographic technician with few qualifications. Competition for jobs in this industry is strong, so you’ll need to show your talent, enthusiasm and a determination to work your way up! A prospective employer will be as interested in your design skills and creative ideas as they are in your qualifications. Personal networking contacts are very important for getting work.
  • The training given in this industry is broad based. You can sometimes move from one type of creative job to another and you will need transferable skills such as team work and communication.

Why choose Derby College?

  • Our newly-extended Joseph Wright Campus features specialist art studios as well as excellent resources for print making, photography, ceramics, 3D design and textiles.
  • You’ll explore the latest ideas, techniques, materials and technologies to create an impressive portfolio which showcases your talent to prospective employers and universities.
  • Our courses are enlivened by practical workshops, demonstrations, guest lectures, museum and gallery visits, and the chance to enter high-profile competitions.
  • Our inspirational lecturers have vast and varied experience in the world of art and design. They will help you make the most of your artistic potential but ensure you’re highly employable too.
  • Based in the heart of Derby’s cultural quarter, you’ll engage with arts organisations and creative businesses. You’ll even have the chance to work on live art projects in the wider community.

If you have drive and originality, it’s time to express yourself, unleash your creativity and prepare for a career in art and design. A Derby College course opens up a world of exciting possibilities.

Maths and English

You need English and maths skills to get on in life. They will support your studies at the College, help with everyday tasks and pave the way to future career success.

If you don’t already have a grade 4 or above in GCSE English and Maths – or equivalent qualifications – you will continue studying these subjects as part of your course at Derby College.

We’ll support you all the way: working with you on the right programme of development throughout your time with us.

You might also be interested in ...

When you’ve completed your course, why not broaden your horizons further still at Derby College? Additional qualifications in creative areas such as Performing Arts, Music and Media are exciting choices. Or check out our courses in Business, Enterprise and Management if you would like to set up a venture of your own.

Maths & English

Find out how Maths and English can benefit you.

Jamie Holmes

Jamie holmes

Weaving a success story in textile design

Peak Award winner Jamie Holmes showed there are no barriers to success if you have genuine creative talent.

Profoundly deaf, Jamie joined the College from the Royal School for the Deaf and was supported by a signer throughout his studies. He excelled on his Art and Design Diploma, specialising in fashion and textiles, and now has a place studying Textile Design at Huddersfield University – with his sights set on a future career in the creative industries.

At our 2014 Peak Awards, Jamie won the Visual Arts prize, sponsored by Maber Associates Ltd, for his determination and willingness to improve.

When I first started at College, I was really lacking in confidence but I had so much help and support that I really found myself and I am looking forward to making the most of university.

Did you Know?

  • The UK has the largest cultural economy in Europe
  • The creative industries accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012 – 5.6% of the total in the UK
  • Product, graphic and fashion design saw the largest percentage increase in employment within the creative industries between 2011 and 2012
  • Around half of all workers in the creative industries are self-employed
  • Over 90% of creative companies employ fewer than 11 people

Examples of recent vacancies locally

Junior graphic designer
£14,000 – £17,000 per year.
Working on projects from advertising and magazines to product packaging

Senior fashion designer
Up to £60,000 per year.
Designing the latest collections

Assistant photographer
£12,000 – £17,000 per year.
Combining technical skills and artistic ideas

Art gallery curator
£25,000 – £35,000 per year.
Managing collections of historic or artistic interest

Site Information

Joseph Wright Centre

Courses in this area are run at our Joseph Wright City Centre campus. About Joseph Wright Centre »

Useful Websites
Information from the sector skills council about the creative media industries
Information from the sector skills council about the creative and cultural sector
Information about arts groups and events in Derbyshire
Information on a career in design, case studies and setting up a design business


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