UK gives overseas students skills to take on the world

If you believe the legend, Troy fell because the Spartan army was smuggled into the impenetrable city, emerging to destroy the Trojans. I always thought it rather dumb for the Trojans to have been so easily deceived into bringing about their own demise.

If you believe the legend, Troy fell because the Spartan army was smuggled into the impenetrable city, emerging to destroy the Trojans. I always thought it rather dumb for the Trojans to have been so easily deceived into bringing about their own demise.

Now there appears to be some perverse, inverse law at work today in Britain whereby we encourage design students from China, Malaysia and South Korea to come and fill up our once prestigious design courses, teach them all we can about product engineering, design for manufacture and the importance of branding, then wave them farewell as they return to their strongholds of efficient, cost-effective global manufacturing to begin their inexorable rise to independence.

British manufacturing, I am told, is dead and we face a future of competing against growing numbers of imports produced at impossibly low prices. The one opportunity for British design to profit from this situation, surely, is to value what British design represents and to champion it as an export.

Yet Government policies and colleges seem hell-bent on sabotaging our future in a disastrously short term view that can only result in ever- reducing global opportunities for UK designers.

I’ve nothing against overseas students, but how many generations of graduates will it take before overseas brand owners and manufacturers cease to come to the UK for design philosophy and execution?

The attitude of universities towards course numbers, entry standards and financially driven targets has, I believe, created a huge inverted Trojan horse destined, at some time in the future, to lay siege to us from the outside. Worse still, it has all been made possible by our education system and our willingness to sell short our native design students, along with the markets that could have given them a livelihood.

David Bicknell, Creative director, Echo Brand Design, London W14

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