A north east art and design college has taken on some of the best education institutions in the country and outperformed them with a stunning graduate success rate.
Employability statistics for Cleveland College of Art & Design (CCAD) have put the north east specialist college not only top in the region but fifth in the UK overall rankings and joint number one in the country for art and design degrees. This follows results from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) national survey of recent graduates, issued recently.
CCAD – the Northern School of Art – has finished the year with another outstanding result following its success being awarded the Higher Education Quality Mark in April, and in the same month winning the award for the best cultural event in Teesside with its international Festival of Illustration.
For the second year in a row the specialist college has gained the top spot in the UK for art and design graduate employability, proving that small is beautiful.
Newly published national employability statistics from HESA reveal CCAD to be on top in their own region, up against impressive competition like Durham and Newcastle universities, and in the top five overall nationally. 96.6% of 2014 CCAD graduates are either in employment or doing further study, making the College number one in the UK for art and design. This follows last year’s results which saw CCAD joint top with 96 percent.
Comparing its employability data from the annual Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, the college’s dedicated university level campus equals the top performing UK higher education institutions, and well above the national average of 93.9 percent.
HESA publish annual data for all UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI) employability. Results from institutions such as CCAD are not included as they are classed as Further Education institutions, with their degree provision validated externally. But CCAD carries out the collection of employability data each year on the same basis as universities and the data is submitted to HESA which validates it.
Martin Raby, Principal for Cleveland College of Art & Design, said: “It is clear from the results that smaller, specialist institutions such as Cleveland College of Art & Design are producing outstanding graduates and delivering quality results, as demonstrated by our data when compared with the DLHE table. We are now competing with nationally recognised universities and I believe is it because of our size and specialist creative environment and facilities that enables us to match and even beat institutions with larger facilities and more students and staff.
“This year the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) reviewed the College leading to the award of the QAA Quality Mark and a commendation for the way we enhance student learning. Significantly our approach to student employability was identified as good practice nationally. Our students and graduates benefit from the intimate and creative atmosphere here at CCAD and tutors are able to provide high levels of support and spend time with every person on our courses. We offer a unique and inspiring learning environment supported by dedicated high calibre staff, many of whom are practicing artists or creative professionals. Our industry focussed programmes of study are all about ensuring that students have the best possible start to their careers. Through our specialist employability and industry team, we understand the importance of developing and maintaining real links with the industries our graduates work in, to ensure our students are industry-ready and to maximise their employability prospects.
“We are delighted with this result and the recognition of the hard work undertaken by all our staff and students. We have produced and continue to produce high calibre art and design graduates who are capable of competing at the highest level, securing roles in all facets of the creative industry and achieving entrepreneurial success.”
CCAD provides a dedicated employability and enterprise support service for students and graduates, led by a team with a wide range of industrial experience across the creative sector. Within the employability service, students and graduates receive assistance with jobs and work experience, further learning or setting up and running their own business, including one-to-one mentoring sessions, expert advice from sector specialists in areas such as marketing, finance, digital etc, networking opportunities and masterclasses. One example of such support was unveiled this week at the new Creative Hub in Hartlepool where recent CCAD graduates have studio workspaces and receive ongoing specialist business support.
The specialist art and design college has forged links with national and international companies within the creative industry, with students gaining work experience with organisations such as BBC, Channel 4, The Royal Opera House and Alexander McQueen. CCAD has enjoyed a wealth of success with its recent graduates, with alumni now working in all areas of the creative industry, from film studio Warner Bros, Ted Baker, Vogue Magazine, to Louis Vuitton, Pinewood Studios and Orla Kiely. Over the years its most famous alumni include film director Sir Ridley Scott and Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell.
Patrick Chapman, Head of Employability & External Relations at CCAD, said: “At CCAD the future employability of our students is the focus of our work. On every course students gain a deep understanding of the professional requirements and market that they will work in. We have created a comprehensive employment and post graduate learning programme for our students, and established an Industrial Liaison Group with specialists from all fields of the creative sector. We are have links with a range of national and international creative artists, to work with students and staff to provide vital industry insights.
“As a specialist college we provide dedicated support through our employability service which is backed by leading artists from the creative industries with in-depth knowledge and experience of working in the sector, owning successful businesses and mentoring creative businesses. This is what sets us apart from the larger non-specialist universities. Our students get access not just to our in house staff but a wide range of nationally and internationally recognised creative industry figures and businesses – these partners provide work experience, set real world design challenges and network with our students, giving them the head start needed to find employment.
“The creative industries are a growing part of the UK economy and we believe it is vital that talent and entrepreneurial ambitions are nurtured. We are very proud that so many of our graduates are taking up the opportunities of employment and learning and will build on the college’s successful alumni.”