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Qualifications? Advice needed!

I am half way through my A levels specializing in Art&Graphics, Media Studies and English Language. Now, I have a vague objective of eventually joining either a graphic design company or continue with my freelance work.

To get to these objectives I assume I need some qualifications/experience.

I initially thought going to university to get graphics/arts/design degree but speaking to other graphic designers I came to the conclusion that it might be better not going for that and diving into the work asap. So I was thinking of doing an apprenticeship, preferably in Nottingham.

I was wondering if there were any suggestions on how to do this?

I had in mind emailing some graphic design companies, asking them if they might want me and attaching some of my work. Is this acceptable? Will they even bother clicking on my work links?

Any tips would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance.
I wouldn't blame anyone your age thinking twice about Uni with the current state of tuition fees. If your looking to go straight into work then internships / apprenticeships are a must. Just bear in mind that design companies can get 20+ requests a month, so any ways you can stand out from the crowd the better. Just make sure you remember it's about you and your work so make it easy for anyone to get a snapshot of your stuff and contact details quickly. Their has been some previous threads on here on the same topic so worth delving back.

May be worth taking a look at some of these links for schemes too, some are degree graduate focused but may still have useful advice.

Home - Apprenticeships - Opening doors to a better future
Welcome to Graduate Advantage
Creative Alliance
Grad Central | Graduate Jobs and Graduate Recruitment in the West Midlands
Yeah, fees shooting up, although I was never eager to go to uni.

I have emails half a dozen design companies in Nottingham which I found through google maps. I send them an explanation of my situation with 2 links to my work (on my site and to my DeviantArt account). Should I continue to do this?

And thanks for your replay and all the links!


Staff member
check out your local college, mine did several btec and foundation degree courses in the art/design fields which could be an alternative route to take versus work/uni.

I went to college and did a btec foundation in art and design before going to uni as I felt my portfolio was lacking in certain area's at the time, plus I wasn't in any hurry to go off to uni at that stage either.
Its gonna be hard to get into an agency with a degree / portfolio behind you for the simple reason there is loads of designers and graduates already out there - not enough jobs, too many applicants.

Going to uni may be the better choice if its viable.


Senior Member
I did the uni path, degree good thing, gave me a good grounding and helped me develop a lot of skills that I don't think I would have come across had I been working. Experience is a massive deal, and if you don't spend every penny you have on tuition fees (which is perfectly feasible) then have a look at these schemes.

ECTARC | European Centre for Training and Regional Co-operation

British Council - Erasmus

It's a good alternative to knocking on peoples door asking for a placement. I'm not sure how well you would do in getting a decent position without a degree, but it wouldn't hurt to apply.