Art, performance and design

At the heart of the arts, performance and design industry is creative thinking and a passion for new ideas. It tends to attract people who are innovative and looking for a career where they’re able to express their creativity.
Max Rickards – Level 6 Digital User Experience Apprenticeship, IBM | Manchester Metropolitan University

What’s an apprenticeship in art, performance and design?

Creativity takes on many forms, from graphic design to interior design, film to fashion, and music to digital imaging. It’s no surprise then, that the arts, performance and design sector has a wide range of expanding career opportunities, requiring different practices, talents, skills and a multitude of options for career growth.

Do you aspire to develop your unique artistic, performing, creative or technical talents to be part of a team, director on a project? Apprenticeships are great way to begin your career and develop the experience and skills required to gain a foothold in this expansive industry.

Joel Foster – Level 4 Assistant Technical Director Apprenticeship, Framestore

“I love that when you work in visual FX you can create entire worlds and do things you can’t necessarily do in real life. With the gift of imagination, you can create amazing things that people genuinely enjoy seeing. It’s a really exciting industry to be part of.”

Facts and stats

Average salary
The average salary in the arts, performance and design sector is £31,1831.
Economic growth
In 2019, the creative industries contributed £115.9 billion, accounting for 5.9% of the UK economy2
In 2019, there were 5.3 million jobs in Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) sectors, accounting for 15.7% of all UK jobs3.
Core skills
Creative thinking is a transferable skill in practically every industry, and there are lots of opportunities available to those who study art, performance and design.

Some of the well-known employers offering apprenticeships in art, performance and design include Channel 4, the BBC and the National Theatre.

Career choice
Working in the arts will allow you to hone your craft whether that’s as an artist, interior designer, actor or something else entirely.

Kath Geraghty – Workforce Development Manager, National Theatre

“Traditionally, our sector was for those with a postgraduate qualification but our inclusion and diversity strategy tackles that. Most of our junior apprenticeships are at Levels 2 and 3 so that opens the door for young people who don’t go to university to still have a rewarding career in our industry.”

Who would suit an apprenticeship in art, performance and design?

Because of the growth in job roles requiring innovation and creative talents, apprenticeships in this industry are an increasingly popular option for people. They help develop diverse skills, real-life knowledge and workplace experience that lead to a wide breadth of careers in the arts, and beyond into many other sectors.

Art, performance and design encompass a diversity of apprenticeship job roles in a wide variety of environments. These include, performers, musicians, directors and producers, photographers, designers and videographers to name just a few. 

There are lots of employers offering apprenticeships that link to art, performance and design.  A few of the more recognisable employers who value and develop apprentices are the BBC, Channel 4, Nestle, The Arts Council England and National Theatre. 

Centre-stage or behind-the-scenes, artistic or technical, an arts, performance and design apprenticeship might be right for you if want the freedom to explore where your creativity can take you in a supported environment.

Krishaan Freckleton – Level 3 Pictures Apprenticeship, Channel 4

“I’ve always had a natural creative eye and been good with a camera, so I always knew pictures would somehow be part of my career. I think it’s really important that you care about what you do for a living as you spend so much time there! My apprenticeship has definitely been a lot of fun."

Max Rickards – Level 6 Digital User Experience Apprenticeship, IBM | Manchester Metropolitan University

“I was amazed at just how quickly and how much you learn, even in the first few weeks and months of the apprenticeship. I’m at a point now where colleagues want to learn from me too and after a module at university, I’ll often come back to the office and present a lunch and learn presentation to share my knowledge.”

Industry top tips

Watch our top tips on how to get into art, performance and design.

Discover employers offering apprenticeships

Like the sound of an apprenticeship but not sure where to start looking? Get to know leading brands and the range of apprenticeships they offer.

Explore employers

How do you start an apprenticeship?

  • The industry is fast-paced, so you’ll work on lots of exciting projects.
  • High energy and social working environments are normal in this industry.
  • There’s usually a tangible end product so you can see the impact of your role.
  • Working in television and film production can be a high-pressured environment.
  • You may need to work evenings and weekends.
  • Permanent jobs are unusual in some of the sector in favour of freelance work.

Why choose an art, performance and design apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a great way to break into a traditionally competitive and in-demand industry. At the same time, employers recognise that the apprentices of today make up a valuable talent pipeline for tomorrow.

Traditionally, a lot the sector required postgraduate qualifications. This route opens doors for younger people who wouldn’t go to university.

Kath Geraghty, Employer at National Theatre

Employers and training providers team up to ensure that apprentices are supported, mentored and have a chance to learn from talented professionals, develop their own creative signature and gain the confidence to succeed in a career in the creative industries. 

Success in a creative career depends on a number of skills and talents. In addition to your creative ability, you’ll need to develop communication skills, be organised, have attention to detail, and technical ability. You can expect support and coaching to help you along your way.

You become part of the team from day one and are treated like any other employee.

Krishaan Freckleton, Apprentice at Channel 4