Call to bring design education on to Government’s Innovation Strategy

Design organisations have been urged to make sure design education is addressed in the Government’s Innovation Strategy, which is due to be released later this year.

Speaking from the floor last night at the Is Creative Britain in Reverse? event, Design Council chief executive David Kester said the industry had the opportunity to lobby the Department for Business Innovation and Skills on the issue.

He said consultation on the strategy is open until September, with the strategy due to be released in November. BIS confirmed that the strategy is due for release later this year, but would not go into detail on timings.

Kester said, ‘I was in a meeting recently with [Universities and Science Minister] David Willetts where he said, “Ccan we get the teaching of design and technology at schools on to the Innovation Strategy?”. We have the opportunity and we need to put forward some very coherent arguments.’

The Is Creative Britain In Reverse? event, organised by Seymour Powell, the James Dyson Foundation and the Design and Technology Association, was held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London.

The panel debate was chaired by Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic and also featured Seymour Powell co-founder Dick Powell; yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Engineering UK chief executive Paul Jackson; inventor and entrepreneur Mandy Haberman; and AKQA founder Ajaz Ahmed.

The panel debated issues on the future of design education at both school and higher-education levels. With the National Curriculum currently under review, design and technology’s future as a statutory subject is uncertain. In addition, cuts to higher education budgets are leaving design teaching at risk.

Powell says, ‘If the Government wants to have innovation in the UK then it can’t cut design education off at the knees.’

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