CHNTO research aims to fill design skill gap

Training needs for designers across the UK are being audited, in a bid to gain Government funding to improve skill sets.

An on-line survey of designers and design consultancies – www.strategia.co.uk/designskills – will provide a picture of training needs and insights into possible areas where design training could be targeted.

The Bradford-based Cultural Heritage National Training Organisation has commissioned the research. It is applying to become a Government-backed Sector Skills Training Council, having secured the support of the Chartered Society of Designers.

According to Strategia director Nigel Hudson, who is handling the research project, there is generally a lack of information about skill gaps within the design industry. As long as there is an absence of any sort of professional development standard, Hudson believes it will continue to be difficult to monitor designers’ training needs throughout their careers.

‘Many designers are great at the creative side, but there’s a question about designers becoming design managers,’ Hudson says. ‘When they do their initial design education, how well are designers trained to come into a design consultancy? It’s not about their creative or even problem-solving ability, but how they work in a team and serve clients day-to-day.’

Industry bodies may address certain training issues, but the lack of a systemic approach is seen as a stumbling block to progress.

CHNTO research and learning co-ordinator Anne Mackintosh says, ‘We need facts and figures at our fingertips, if [we are attempting] to pull down funding from Government.’

The organisation is poised to submit its ‘expression of interest’ to the Sector Skills Development Agency and expects to hear back in mid-February.

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