Only 9 per cent of designers take part in job-related training, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics.
The ONS’ Labour Force Survey shows that only 8.9 per cent of designers surveyed received job-related training in the three months leading up to June. This compares to 15.7 per cent of architects and 16.2 per cent of civil engineers, according to the same report.
Research carried out by the Design Council in 2005 shows that 21 per cent of businesses wanted to improve business awareness among staff, with 93 per cent seeing business skills as being either essential or useful.
The same research shows that 38 per cent of designers cite lack of time as a barrier to training, with 34 per cent citing cost.
David Worthington, chairman of Lloyd Northover Group and deputy chairman of the Design Skills Alliance – which includes the Design Council, Creative & Cultural Skills and other industry bodies – says, ‘I believe that the UK design industry is the best in the world, but we must develop our professional skills forit to remain that way – and the sooner people start, the better.’
He adds, ‘Why are designers among the least well-trained professionals when it comes to business skills? The statistics that we have uncovered suggest that a staggering 60 per cent of designers admit that they don’t understand their clients’ businesses well enough. The fact that we are an industry made up predominantly of micro-businesses is no excuse for this lack of professional understanding.’
Lesley Morris, head of design skills at the Design Council and director of the Design Skills Alliance, says the alliance is aiming to tackle the issue using an online resource, launching today on the Design Council’s website.
She says, ‘We are trying to help the industry face an increasingly competitive future by creating a one-stop shop, signposting all the information, guides and resources designers need.’