16-18 Courses, 16-18: Vocational

Art and Design Practice: Graphic Design and Illustration Pathway (Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Course Overview

Entry requirements

  • Five or more GCSEs at grades 9-4 including English and maths
  • Level 2 BTEC Diploma at Merit or Distinction
  • NVQ2/VRQ2
  • Where there are specific subjects required at GCSE we can discuss your grades with you when you come to enrol
  • Strong preference for evidence of own art & design work if no previous study experience of art


The Creative Arts / Design Industry is actually one of the largest sectors of the UK economy and has been the fastest growing in the last 10 years (Dept. of Culture Media Sport (DCMS) data)

Our broad Art & Design programmes allow you to explore a wide variety of materials, techniques and processes used in art and design.?You will explore 3D design, ceramics, fine art, photography and graphics, and you will work in both traditionally and using digital media. The programme will allow you to specialise in areas of choice or interest that will help you with your personal progression aspirations as either a traditional artist or a designer.

The Art & Design programmes are delivered in a?spacious, open-plan studio complex. Facilities include a variety of print making areas, a dedicated 3D?workshop, ceramics and plaster rooms, a darkroom for black and white printing and studio for photography. Throughout the spaces there are Apple Mac computer areas, and specialist books and resources. Our tutors all have relevant experience of industry bringing a wide range of experience and expertise to the programmes.

Working for our retail learning company Indigo you will contribute towards the production of artwork, 3D, artefacts or graphics work for sale. Working with local companies through our learning company gives you the opportunity to develop your professional portfolio and produce real outcomes for the public consumer.?You are encouraged to think with an entrepreneurial mind and consider how you could sell your products or begin a creative business venture.?

Course Content

New BTEC Creative Practice qualifications - continuously assessed (NO exams!) Equivalent to 3 full A levels, although students can choose to take Year 1 only. 

Focus on developing creative skills, developing own creative practice, working towards a self-devised Final Major Project (FMP) at the end of each year.

Highly practical and progression focused –  all assessment is holistic, based on portfolios of work. Evidence is generated through practical projects, briefs, workshops and engagement with the art and design industry; this prepares learners for progression to the art and design industry through the development of portfolios and materials for progression. 

Light-touch assessment regime - only 4 Units over the 2 year course:

  • A Exploring and Developing Art and Design Skills (year 1)
    • A1 Skills Development
    • A2 Creative Project
  • B Advancing Creative Practice (year 2)
    • B1 Personal Progression
    • B2 Creative Industry Response

Most of the grade is awarded to the FMP Units at the end of year 2 (or year 1 for single-year students).

Common assessment criteria - the same five common assessment criteria are used to assess all work produced throughout the qualification, this simplifies assessment and  means that it is clear what learners are expected to do to achieve the criteria:

  • Informing ideas
  • Problem solving
  • Technical skills
  • Professional practice
  • Communication


Select your campus option to apply

What Can This Course Lead To

  • On succesful completion of this course you will be able to explore a variety of career paths in the design industry
  • University

Life At NCC

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Facilities for Students

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Financial Support

There are several ways we can help you cover the cost of your studies.

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