Education system must face reality of recruitment

We all know summer is here by the content of the Design Week Letters page: graduates protest that they are unable to get past receptionists or get replies from CVs sent to potential employers. And employers point out that their priority is earning a living, not corresponding with would-be designers.

We get five to ten calls a week and a similar number of CVs. That’s over 500 unsolicited applicants a year for a non-existent vacancy. This isn’t the fault of the students or graduates who you have to have every sympathy for.

The situation is getting crazier – but why? Educationalists rightly point out that a design education imparts transferable skills useful outside of the profession. Perhaps more accurately, they state that their institutions are funded largely by getting bums on seats.

Isn’t it time to get real? We have a system that churns out a ridiculous over-supply of graduates. This system is not fair on the students, who are paying for it. And it’s difficult for employers to wade through the sheer numbers.

It must frustrate their lecturers to be faced with so many people who are either not up to scratch, or will never realise their potential.

Most significantly, over-supply devalues our profession. With so many forced into freelancing, or working for free to gain experience, fee rates and wages will be poor in comparison to other jobs.

To stop this madness there needs to be a massive cull of design courses. If half the courses went tomorrow we would still face the annual flurry of letters from people desperate for work and still have a ready supply of graduates with transferable skills.

Alistair Williamson

Marketing director

Blueprint RDA

Manchester M1 7AD

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