Lecturers should inspire and students should wise up

Richard Eagleton’s letter (DW 28 May), certainly struck a chord at Marketplace. We have been following this education/industry debate with some amusement.

For many years we have run (or tried to) a student placement programme where students are offered a three-month paid work placement. Some people looked upon this as cheap labour (it was only a nominal sum), but having been one of those students, the experience you gain in just a short period of time is invaluable. In so many cases education does not prepare you for the transition between college and reality.

We joined the D&AD College Twinning Programme thinking we would channel our efforts with the energy that D&AD should bring. Students hardly seemed to know that this opportunity existed – course tutors even less.

Before we lay blame, we need to address the relationship between course leaders, tutors and students.

Many students’ only interaction with industry arrives when visiting lecturers or freelances inject some enthusiasm and reality into their course.

Unfortunately, some college tutors have become disillusioned, even bored, with the design field as a profession. Yet these people are “teaching” the designers of the future – why is this?

We recently set up a project (or tried to) between a large company and a college, writing briefs, feedback and an opportunity of a placement, a perfect opportunity to work on a “real” project, and yet from a class of 30 we received interest from only three people – a live brief and both students and lecturers just couldn’t be bothered.

Students blame lack of interest from lecturers, lecturers blame lack of interest (maybe talent) from students. What’s happening? Course leaders, tutors and students all need to get their act together fast.

It’s up to course leaders to prepare, encourage and inspire students, and for students to be more realistic.

Richard Hill



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