The Government calls for more work experience

The Government is calling for businesses in the design sector to offer work experience to school and college leavers looking for work in the field this summer.

The call is part of the Backing Young Britain campaign, launched by Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday, which aims to create 85 000 opportunities for young people.

Work experience has been highlighted across all sectors as a recent Populus poll for the Department for Work and Pensions shows that 40 per cent of school leavers say they have yet to secure an opportunity.

The poll adds that a third of these people say this was because the businesses they were interested in were not offering placements at the time.

Last week organisation Creative & Cultural Skills made a call for a code of practice on graduate placements, to stamp out the issue of unpaid internships.

The call came after the organisation urged employers in the design sector to make it accessible to young people by providing better information and guidance on finding work.

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  • Kevin Quigley November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I would be delighted to offer more opportunities if the colleges and universities stopped tempting customers with offers of free design and prototyping work.

  • laurie November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    yes unpaid internships cheapen the design sector

    as does the government’s unworkable olympic design budgets. which do not reflect the attitude of creating opportunity for any sector or generation

    creating security for the uk’s IP would be a start for all business sectors

  • Katherine Loades November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    We’ve set up a website for Backing Young Britain, if you’re interested in finding out more, click on:

  • Jonathan Baldwin November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Kevin – by free design and prototyping do you mean research partnerships, working in collaboration with industry or the voluntary sector to further the limits of our understanding of design? After all that’s what universities are for.

    Every other sector understands that – the pharmaceutical industry, for example, depends on universities doing exactly what you’re talking about. And if, like me, you heard the report on the radio this morning about research into the causes of Alzheimer’s you’d know that research happened in universities, many of them British.

    So how is it that you’re happy for universities to engage in meaningful research that benefits everyone so long as it isn’t in the field of design? Is it perhaps because you don’t think design is important enough to merit serious academic research?

    Considering that the university sector turns every £1 spent on it in to £5 generated for the economy, it is remarkably shortsighted to sum up a very complex situation as “free design”. Next time you sit down to use a computer, or a graphics application, or a touch screen, or rely on waterproof fabrics, or need an MRI scan, or radar, GPS, or – ooh the list goes on – you might want to thank the fact that universities engage in “free design or prototyping work” because without it, none of those things would exist.
    And without involving students, often Masters and PhD students, in that process the design industry would be fatally under-skilled. You personally benefit, and the industry you work in benefits from what you so casually and inaccurately dismiss.

    You should visit a research-active university design department sometime and see what goes on. It’s remarkable and yet, sadly, gets no coverage whatsoever in Design Week or anywhere else. Compare that with medicine, law, engineering or architecture where universities are seen as the jewel in the crown.

    Looking forward to a Design Week special issue showcasing the research that goes on in universities and destroying once and for all the myth that all we do is churn out graduates and take paying work away from industry.

  • Steve Price November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The industry as a whole needs a code of practise! Architecture has the RIBA, Doctors have the BMA… Now I’m not arguing that Designers are as important as doctors, but arguably we are being involved with solving more and more social, technical and communication problems. Surely this warrants a few standards to be set. Non more so than ‘Free Pitching’ which the GLA have so brilliantly promoted recently by NOT paying for people to Pitch.
    I understand the reasoning behing their decision – this opened the board for anyone to submit ideas (I hope). But at least paay for Stage Two which I am sure will involve more than one tender?!

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