Industry should get involved in education to train designers

Letters to the Editor should be sent to Design Week, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX. Fax: 0171-734 1770. e-mail

Now that the new college term has started I must have my say on design education while it can still make a difference.

Business pressures are demanding a more focused, results-driven approach from designers, an approach which we design consultancies rarely see in young graduates.

More often than not, the commercial world is forced to bring “new” designers crashing back to basics with a whole new vocational grounding. The graduates say it’s not their fault. So do the colleges, and so does industry.

It’s all too easy for us to lay the blame at the door of the educational institutions. But doesn’t industry have just as much responsibility to develop relevant, fresh talent from the outset? After all, we will be the ones to benefit.

Design is facing challenging times: new software, new rules, new media. Creative ability is no longer the only requirement of a junior designer.

The only way to mould the type of “new designer” we need is to open our doors wider to the colleges and the students and let them see first-hand what they should be aiming for.

If you do not like what is being turned out by the colleges, get involved at grass roots level and work with college lecturers, administrators and students. It can be very worthwhile.

I know for a fact that the majority of colleges are only too willing to broaden the vocational placement periods for students.

My advice is simply to stop all this whining and fault-finding and start moulding your future designers the moment they walk into college.

Frances Ward

Operations director

The Design Advantage

Birmingham B37 7YE

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