Proposals to address the skills gaps identified in three groups across the design sector will only be successfully implemented if there is increased collaboration, support and funding, according to the just-published High-Level Skills for Higher Value report.
Designed by NB Studio, the report has been facilitated by the Design Skills Advisory Panel, with support from the Design Council and Creative & Cultural Skills, and is to be presented to the Government in 2008. It follows the presentation of the findings to a Parliamentary group last month (DW 25 April).
The report states that there is an apparent ‘over-supply’ of new designers, owing to the popularity of design as a subject, and so the value of design skills must be made more explicit to potential graduates. This is in addition to the need for designers to develop skills to stay in touch with the rapid pace of change in UK and global business.
Following consultation with more than 4000 designers over the past two years, the report includes key recommendations for the three groups – schools, universities and colleges, and the design sector.
Within the design industry, recommendations such as developing a UK design academy, a professional practice framework and a professional development campaign feature strongly.
At the secondary education level, advice includes developing a programme in which designers work with schools, creating a design mark for schools and a teacher development scheme. At colleges and universities, ensuring that students have the right skills using a network of visiting design professionals
and ‘joined-up’ promotion of multidisciplinary programmes is suggested.
According to the report, ‘There are two main requirements for the successful implementation of this plan. The first is increased collaboration and connectivity right across the sector to facilitate change. The second is support, with a relatively small amount of targeted funding from the Government needed to enable it to be taken forward.’
The report comes as Creative & Cultural Skills, the Sector Skills Council responsible for design, is in the process of appointing a consultancy to brand its Creative Apprenticeships programme, which provides work-based opportunities for 16- to 24-year-old individuals seeking a career in the sector.
THE SKILLS REVIEW
• The consultation, originally named Keep British Design Alive, launched in May 2006
• It reverted to its original name, Design Industry Skills Development Plan, at the end of last month
• The findings were presented to a Parliamentary group on 25 April and Barry Sheerman MP introduced an Early Day Motion to register the issue for debate