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Entering competitions – is it worth it?

Students working, Central Saint Martins Library © Ana Blumenkron
  • Written byCareers and Employability
  • Published date 25 July 2023
Students working, Central Saint Martins Library © Ana Blumenkron
Students working, Central Saint Martins Library © Ana Blumenkron

What a rollercoaster ride it's been during the pandemic, right? Despite COVID's impact on job availability, we've got your back at Creative Opportunities! We're here to support you and offer fantastic options to kickstart your creative careers.

Unlike traditional paths like medicine or law, the creative world offers diverse opportunities. We're committed to providing genuine career progression, promoting competitions relevant to UAL courses, and helping you make informed decisions for your success. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of entering competitions and how we decide which ones to promote.

Entry fee

Not on our watch! We want you to have every opportunity to shine without worrying about paying to enter competitions. That's why we strictly stick to our policy of promoting only free-to-enter competitions on our site. We understand the challenges of rising living costs, and we don't want to burden our students and graduates with any extra financial stress.

Winner's prize

Time is precious, and we understand the balancing act between coursework and life in London can be intense. When it comes to entering competitions, we want you to get the most out of it!

If a competition offers only exposure as a prize, it might not be worth your time and effort. However, there are fantastic opportunities out there! Some competitions provide financial rewards that can support your cost of living or fuel your practice/business development. Others offer mentorship or internships with industry professionals, paving the way for genuine career progression. We love promoting these options that empower your creative journey! On the flip side, we avoid endorsing competitions that offer business equity, in-kind payments, or uncertain future financial rewards. Your hard work deserves to be rewarded in a way that supports your aspirations with clarity and certainty.

Intellectual property

Competitions provide students and graduates a chance to showcase their skills and expand their portfolio, irrespective of winning. However, some organisers might claim all intellectual property (IP) rights, restricting participants from using their own work for employment portfolios. We avoid promoting such competitions and actively seek organizers who respect your rights, allowing you to retain IP control. With us, you can confidently license your work and nurture your creative journey. Remember to protect your IP!

Feedback and networking

Entrepreneurial competitions offer a fantastic chance to test your ideas' viability and gain feedback from industry professionals and peers. Whether solving real-life problems or showcasing innovation, these competitions provide invaluable experience and networking opportunities with employers or industry peers. Even without winning, you can still gain valuable evaluation and showcase your growth and achievements, such as featuring your projects on your LinkedIn profile.

If you are looking for opportunities to gain experience to start your career, why not check out UAL’s jobs board, Creative Opportunities? Run by Careers and Employability, it is the go-to hub for creative students and graduates. You can find jobs, paid internships, competitions, and volunteering roles. If you are studying an art, design, communications, or a performance course or have recently graduated, then this is the place for you! Our goal is to help you achieve your ambitions and make a living doing what you love.