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b1 year full-time
£No tuition fees for students under 19 on 31st August (for starting in September)
Fees per anum UK
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Explore your creative potential and form a strong, creative foundation for your future on this exciting course.

This is an intensive programme for post A-Level students who have a passion for ideas and creative solutions.  You will experience the buzz of being part of a dynamic community based in the Foundation Studios. You will explore HCA’s specialist workshops and develop work in a variety of media including:

  • Image manipulation/mixed media
  • Film/Animation
  • Printmaking
  • Small Metals
  • 3D Fabrication
  • Ceramics/Plaster/Glass
  • Interactive/Digital Media
  • Photography
  • Textiles
  • Drawing/Painting

Through a series of challenging projects, you will learn exciting techniques and processes and discover new passions and talents.

Lectures by visiting practitioners and speakers from a range of backgrounds will also inspire you.  Live employer-led projects and tutorial sessions will help you see where your practice fits within the wider creative industries.  During the course you will begin to confirm your area of specialism, deepening your understanding in a particular area, and refining your making and design outcomes.

You will be given personalised support to develop a portfolio of work in preparation for interview to higher education, professional practice, or employment.

This course will enhance a range of skills including: innovative thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication; all hugely valuable in any future career.

Most of our students progress to higher education.  In 2018, 100% of students gained their preferred degree choice at some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the UK.

We welcome applications from students with a variety of plans for future study and employment. Many find the course really helpful before they commit to a choice of specialism for an arts-based degree but other students have gone on to study Medicine, Anthropology, Ancient History, Biology, and Psychology.   

  • Five day overseas educational visit to a major cultural city.
  • Collaborative projects with large external organisations.
  • Students work on a range of social action projects.
  • Experimental drawing days at our university level campus.
  • Overnight trips to UCAS ‘Design your future’ Manchester, and research visits to London.
  • Pop up and public exhibition opportunities.

A maximum of 112 UCAS points can be earned through a Distinction Grade (96 for Merit,  80 for pass) which are additional to your existing UCAS points for previous qualifications.

This course can be a creative alternative to a conventional gap year, or a valuable opportunity to explore your creativity before committing to an arts-based degree specialism.  It is exciting, exhilarating, and encourages you to think in new and different ways – truly a foundation for life!

After this course, the majority of students progress to study at degree level, at HCA or across the UK.


  • 1 A2 or Extended Diploma (creative subject preferred but not always essential)  plus 5 GCSEs (inc. English & maths) at 9 – 4 (A*- C)
  • Minimum age 18

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