How should CCS improve design graduates’ skill sets?

The launch of Creative & Cultural Skills was a subdued affair. A few days on from the bombings in London, it was held at the British Museum in Bloomsbury, close to the poignant scenes of death and pain.

The launch of Creative & Cultural Skills was a subdued affair. A few days on from the bombings in London, it was held at the British Museum in Bloomsbury, close to the poignant scenes of death and pain.

But the message underlying the presentations is strong and key for design. The organisation’s job is to ensure the sector has the skills to move forward in an increasingly competitive world. A prime target is the education system, with strategies being evolved to ensure graduates are of a consistently high standard, with both the talent and the skills to make a difference.

You may think you’ve heard it all before, with colleges responding to industry demands for better quality graduates that they need to keep up numbers – and so fees – to keep afloat. But this initiative is driven by employers, with the Design Skills Advisory Panel chaired by Paul Priestman and co-chaired by Julian Grice of The Team. Conran Design Group’s David Worthington is meanwhile an honorary director of CCS.

Support for the venture from key industry bodies was evident at the launch, with representatives of the Design Council – co-funder of the advisory panel – the Royal Society of Arts, Design Partners and the Design Business Association among those there.

So what would we as an industry put on their agenda? We might consider the following:

• Mandatory sandwich courses, with a year’s work experience in a related industry integrated into the degree course.

• An apprenticeship scheme, run by, say, the Design Council or the Royal Society for the Arts that gives graduates a couple of years’ day release to hone their skills while they are in their first job.

• A regulated placement scheme for students throughout their college careers – an initiative on which D&AD has taken a well-timed lead for graduates (DW 23 June).

Please e-mail ideas to me at lyndark@centaur. co.uk and I will pass them on to those with the power to make policy.

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