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Access to Higher Education: Creative Arts (19+) — Full-time

Course outline

You are aged 19+ and want to build and develop your skills and interests in new areas, to prepare for further study. You will need to be able to commit to working in College 3 days a week.

You’ll be studying right in the heart of the city’s Creative Quarter in the historical Lace Market, where you'll build both your artistic and digital creative skills develop interest in new areas which will stretch you as an artist.

You will be given the opportunity to develop your own creative practice through being introduced to and exploring a variety of techniques and processes such as:

  • Fine art
  • Graphics
  • Fashion and textiles design
  • Applied arts
  • 3D Design
  • Photography
  • Product design/Furniture design
  • Interior design and Architecture
  • Illustration

You’ll gain an awareness of contemporary visual practice and develop a portfolio in your chosen specialist field.

All students will study on the Introduction to Access course – an initial 2 week course to assess and prepare you for either a Pre-Access course or the Access Diploma.

You’ll have the opportunity to take part in one of our brilliant end of year showcases where you’ll be able to exhibit your work to the public.

All our tutors have many years of experience in the industry and will be able to advise you on your potential career paths and university courses.

How to apply for this course

Apply online to start in 2024/25.

Want to find out more first?

Get in touch by hitting the button below and filling out our enquiry form.

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Location Date
25 Stoney Street

Start: Wednesday 4th September 2024

Course code: C000280 / Q001619


CAVA Access to Higher Education Diploma: Creative Arts


1 year

Level Level 3
Entry requirements

You must be aged 19+ to apply for this course.

As the majority of our Access students are returning to learning as adults, we consider a range of experience when accepting students onto an Access programme.

All students will be assessed to see what level they are learning at, particularly the level of English and maths skills, as these will be key to success whilst on a programme at Nottingham College.

Your experience and level of study will be assessed at interview and this will determine your offer of a place at College.

You’ll need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 – 4 /A* –C including English and maths (equivalents may be considered), or Level 2 BTEC Diploma in a related subject at Merit. Plus a relevant portfolio of work or a demonstrated passion for the subject area. A GCSE in Maths and English is preferable.

All students will start on a 2-week Introduction to Access Course that will introduce the course, creative practice, theory and study skills. At the end of this 2-week Introduction to Access Course tutors will assess each students’ abilities and tutors will be able to decide if progression onto the full Access Course is the right choice in terms of student’s commitment and intentions to progress to Higher Education. If progression to Access is not suitable, a place on the 1 Year Pre-Access Art and Design will be offered.

Additional short courses will run throughout the year to support 19+ student’s skills onto a full-time Access/Pre-Access Course.

It is not possible to study both GCSE English and Maths while on this course.

You will need to bring evidence of art work to an informal interview.

Artwork can be any creative work you have previously produced:

  • Drawings
  • Sketches
  • Painting
  • Fashion and textiles
  • Photography
  • 3D work

You are encouraged to showcase your interests and strengths.

Teaching & assessment

You will undergo continuous assessment as you progress through your course modules and you’ll also need to produce a portfolio of evidence for your work.


There are a whole host of exciting careers and degrees open to you including: graphic design, textile design, fashion design, interior design, fine art and illustration or other creative subjects.

You can even go on to university-level study here at Nottingham College, including:

  • Graphic design
  • Textiles
  • Fashion
  • Interior design
  • Fine art
  • Illustration
  • Another creative subject area
Additional information

You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of your Access to HE course. Loan eligibility does not depend on your income and there are no credit checks.

If you progress on to degree level study and complete a full degree, Student Finance England will ‘write off’ any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balances you owe. This means you do not have to repay it.

Subject to eligibility you may be able to study this course for free, funded through the Adult Education Budget. Upon receipt of your application, we will assess your eligibility and advise you of your next steps.

Please note: Course funding information is accurate as of 22/02/2023 and is subject to change.

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss National, please visit our EU Settled Status scheme page for more information.