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UWE: Engaging with industry, creatively [case study]

Noonan, Adrienne



Professional practice and enterprise modules along with a graduate placement scheme prepare design and media students for employability in the creative sector.

Responding to professional challenges facing graduates and UWE’s Employability Agenda, the Faculty of Creative Arts created an innovative senior academic post specialising in Employability and Creative Industry Liaison in 2007. Senior lecturer Adrienne Noonan works with Communication Design and Media courses on employability, teaching into the school’s Professional Practice, Work Experience, and Enterprise modules. From 2007-2009, she directed a 12-week paid placement scheme targeting recent communication design and media graduates.

Offering 10 places annually, the scheme fostered professional understanding and innovation between new graduates and Bristol creative SMEs. Candidates received specialised counseling and review from senior academic and careers staff. (Resources generated/piloted for participating graduates now used as faculty-wide ‘best practice’.) Since 2006, the scheme has been a case study for graduate employability, preparedness, employer liaison and financial commitment. More than 80 graduates have been placed at 45 Bristol media companies since 2001; 40% of 2008 participants continued in full-time employment.

Originally HEIF2/3 funded, currently investigation into pioneering ways to continue the scheme—enormously beneficial to participating graduates and companies, while strengthening UWE’s relationship and profile with Bristol’s creative industries—as well increasing the employability and industry engagement of current students and graduates through newly created Enterprise Office.

Though the Creative Arts Graduate Placement Scheme concluded in 2009, it served as a model for the University’s 2010 Graduate Internship Scheme, which sponsored 400 paid placements through a successful bid to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for funding under a government initiative to support graduates impacted by the recession.


Noonan, A. (2010). UWE: Engaging with industry, creatively [case study]

Report Type Other
Publication Date Jun 1, 2010
Keywords Bristol, creative, design, employability, enterprise, graduate, interviews, media, placement, UWE, work
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Additional Information Additional Information : The Looking Out project was initiated through the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) Creative Economy Programme (CEP) in response to Commitment 4 of Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy, in which the university was asked to “undertake a major research project to survey the landscape of employer engagement in higher education subjects closely related to creative and cultural industries”.1 The Looking Out research project, undertaken by the Higher Education Academy Art, Design, Media Subject Centre (ADM-HEA), was initiated to discover how and in what ways Arts HE does engage, how effective the engagement is and what might be done to enhance its effectiveness. In particular, the research explored the work of teacher practitioners in HE, known to be a large number of individuals working within creative and cultural industry and contributing to the student learning experience through teaching, acting as external examiners, work-based learning coordinators, visiting lecturers and contributing to industry liaison panels. In addition to the published case study, UWE Creative Arts contributed to the Looking Out research project by hosting an ADM-HEA facilitated focus group of academic and technical staff (February 2008).


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