Council initiates new education schemes

Design students should be better prepared for work, both in design and other professions, if initiatives revealed this week by the Design Council prove successful.

The council’s Education and Training Foundation held a conference on Monday to unveil its future plans. The initiatives, announced by the council’s education and training director Moira Fraser Steele, focus on extending the remit of design in schools and colleges to better equip design graduates for the workplace.

The council has teamed up with the Department of Trade and Industry to develop the idea of “centres of excellence” for students interested in new-product development. The centres, modelled on innovative product companies’ think-tanks, will teach young people a cross-disciplinary approach to design problems.

The council is also collaborating with the Royal Academy of Engineering to develop educational frameworks which encourage students to work in multi-functional teams.

“The accent [at the academy] is on the multidisciplinary nature of design and its fundamental role in achieving commercial success,” says Fraser Steele.

And a Core Skills Study will aim to correct the imbalance between supply of and demand for graduates. “It is important we start doing students the service of highlighting the transferability of the skills they pick up through an education in design,” says Fraser Steele – to outline that a job as a designer is just one option.

The council is also planning an annual Design Education Week.

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