The UK creative industry is perhaps one of the most competitive and challenging to navigate for students and graduates, due to its word-of-mouth culture and low visibility on online platforms. However, there are many work experience opportunities available in the summer that will certainly support you in becoming a professional artist or designer after graduation. Here are EDUopinions’ top 5 creative work experience opportunities in the UK for summer 2019.
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Werkhouse is a full-weekend initiative started by a group of Bath and Bristol-based designers, run at Taxi Studio. This is a fast-paced, team-oriented workshop where creative students or graduates can work on live briefs as a group, under the mentorship of design professionals. The aim of this practical learning experience is to bridge the gap between creative education and the expectation of design studios. However, it is not exclusively for design students, as a strong interest in the use of design to your artistic discipline and a collaborative attitude are what it takes for you to be invited as a participant. This is the perfect work experience opportunity for those looking for something short-term and introductory, before taking your next big step into an internship or an entry-level role in art and design fields. Applications are usually opened in May every year and the workshop takes place roughly in mid-June; just after the end of your academic year.
A step further from the Werkhouse workshop is the HKX Platform in London, a three-month placement, or ‘crash course’ in communication. During this time, you will be rotating among 24 different agencies who share a co-working space at Havas, working on live briefs with clients like the BBC, Heinz, Paypal, Unilever and many more. The placement includes roles in 5 different disciplines: account management, strategy, creative, design and production; with three rounds of intake every year, either April – June, July – September or October – December. The application process is more competitive compared to Werkhouse, as you complete an online form, an assessment day and an interview with heads of the different departments there before becoming part of the team. However, this is guaranteed to be a worthwhile opportunity to get you work-ready for a job in the creative industry after graduation and the best part is, you will be paid London Living Wage (currently £10.55/hour) for your hard work, which is quite rare when it comes to short-term work experience nowadays.
Penguin Random House is perhaps one of the most open-minded employers in the UK, with a hiring process for entry-level roles that don’t require experience in the industry or relevant qualification; it is all about your personality, ambition and ability to fit into the team. Every quarter, they run a number of 2-week placements in Editorial, Sales, Marketing and Publicity; places are randomly selected and you will be paid National Living Wage. There are also 9 three-month summer internships working with these departments, paid at London Living Wage and applications are opened in April every year, with no CV or cover letter required, as you simply need to answer a few questions about yourself on their online portal. For those from a BAME background (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) who have graduated or have decided to take a gap year, The Scheme would be a suitable option to kick-start your career. This is a 6-month paid traineeship and the application process is similar to their internship programme, to ensure equality.
SImilar to the opportunities available at Penguin Random House, HarperCollins also offers a variety of work experience programmes for young people, however, the application process is slightly more complicated where a video interview and a CV might be required. The paid internships can last up to 6 months; while the traineeships are 12 months, aim specifically at the BAME community to increase diversity in the publishing industry, and they are paid an entry-level salary of £23,000/year. There are also further short-term work experiences that last up to 4 weeks, which are usually announced on HarperCollins’ twitter page. These rotational roles offer you insights into editorial, marketing, publicity, design, sales and every other aspect of the publishing business; and also help build versatile skills and knowledge that can be applied to other careers as you explore your choices.
The most competitive in this list, are internships at Viacom International Media Networks, which include roles at MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central or Channel 5. Their internships could range from creative roles like design, animation and photography to support roles like marketing, sales and accountancy; however, you are guaranteed a fast-paced, highly professional and creative working environment. These internships are normally paid and for a period of 6 to 12 months, perfect for those studying a sandwich course or have just graduated. The application process varies but generally would start with the submission of a CV, cover letter and portfolio; followed by screening questionnaires or video interviews and finally assessment days where candidates are invited to attend in person.
So there you have it, our top 5 creative work experience opportunities in the UK for summer 2019. Besides these traditional routes, as creatives, there are many more ways to enhance your skills, network and portfolio; for example via working with local art and culture organisations, entering competitions or applying for artist residencies. Here are some useful links for these alternatives, in case the ‘old-school’ placements and internships are not for you: