Designers sought for school entrepreneur programmes

As entrepreneurship becomes the buzzword for successful design education, industry professionals are increasingly being sought out to teach real-world business skills in schools.

Generation Innovation, a programme due to launch on 20 April, is searching for design industry partners keen to exchange ideas and expertise with young people. The scheme has been developed by Talent to Trade, a consultancy which specialises in providing frameworks for industry and educational partnerships, with support from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

Cameron Dante, Talent to Trade director for policy and communications, says that the consultancy is calling for senior experts to act as ’the voice of the industry’, as well as approaching smaller consultancies and independent creatives. The Royal Institute of British Architects is also in talks with Talent to Trade about involvement in the project.

Designed to fit in with the existing curriculum, Generation Innovation challenges students to realise design, film, TV and music projects by conducting market research through to presenting to experts. Talent to Trade wants partners to devise design briefs so that the tasks echo real-world pitches. The only remit is that they must benefit the community and fit in with location-specific needs. Designers also have the opportunity to talk about their own successes and give tips by creating a micro-site on the Generation Innovation website, and recording footage for resource pack DVDs.

’Commercial partners have the opportunity to be part of the process. It’s not just giving a pat on the back and a certificate, like other business-led awards,’ says Dante.

Once students have completed a project, delegates from the teams will showcase their work to business partners in June, and they will consider the best ideas and how to put them into production. Innovative ideas will be featured at Shine Week, a festival run by the National Youth Agency and the Department for Children, Schools and Families in July.

The aim of professional-led programmes is to give students the right skillset for a particular industry and to motivate them by giving their schoolwork real-world implications. The projects are also designed to stimulate entrepreneurial skills, allowing young creatives the opportunity to cash in on their talent, something that Dante says will strengthen the design industry. ’Entrepreneurship is not a last resort, it’s actually a first option,’ he says.

Dante is keen to stress that the scheme is not only for the benefit of students. Generation Innovation aims to produce commercially viable concepts that business can put into production. With regard to intellectual property, there is an agreement that any profit amassed from successful designs will be fed back into the local community.

Dante also hopes Generation Innovation will challenge businesses to see that inventive ideas do not always come from conventional sources.

There is a great deal of untapped talent businesses never see,’ he says.

The benefits of industry and education partnerships

  • Businesses can generate ideas together with young talent
  • Schemes strengthen the creative industries long-term by better preparing students for the workplace
  • Students engage with the local community through design projects

Hide Comments (2)Show Comments (2)
  • alex November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    what a great project! Cameron, get in touch

  • Camille Lorigo November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    the numbers of graduates in art & design fields increase every year and most end up working in H&M, bars, call centres, as there are no jobs for them. nor are they prepared for the demands of the industry.

    what we really really need are less chiefs and more indians.

    rather than focus on the ‘glamourous jobs’ we need to work at rebuilding the scottish manufacturing industry so the current wave of entrepreneurs and designers are able to make their products locally and genuinely revitalise the economy.

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