More rounded graduates may better meet industry needs

The mismatch between the kind of graduates design colleges are providing and what consultancy creative heads require was highlighted again this week at D&AD’s Xchange conference for college tutors.

With characteristic passion, Glenn Tutssel raised the call for more rounded graduates in his keynote speech (see www.designweek.co.uk, 8 September). Meanwhile, some tutors raised concerns that their students weren’t specialist enough for mixed-media consultancies in response to a presentation by AKQA Mobile founder Daniel Rosen. Rosen scotched that notion, saying design in the digital arena relies on teamwork between creatives of all types.

Tutssel’s call for a three-year foundation course followed by a year of specialisation will find a lot of support in the industry. It may not work in 3D disciplines, but creative heads in branding and communications might welcome more broadly educated graduates into their teams, as long as foundation courses are properly structured.

Tutssel is well qualified to comment on the failings of the current system to service ‘360 degree’ consultancies such as The Brand Union, of which he is executive creative director. He has engaged personally with colleges and young designers for many years, spotting talents such as Garrick Hamm and Bruce Duckworth early on, and is behind The Brand Union’s bursary scheme involving some 15 students a year.

Many tutors are aware of the shortcomings, but feel powerless to fight an education system increasingly run by administrators swayed only by numbers. If colleges are to give the industry what it needs moving forward, they require active support from practitioners.

Creative & Cultural Skills is seeking to fit design for the future in line with Government thinking. Its recent bid for paid internships for graduates has been applauded by many (DW 26 August). Perhaps it should now heed calls for courses to become more creatively enriching. Specialisms can be acquired later on.

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