Worrying state of design apprenticeships highlighted by Design Council

Digital Arts | 07 March 14

Image: ShutterStock

Design Council has this week held its first Design Apprenticeship Summit as part of National Apprenticeship week, to discuss ways to improve the currently low uptake of apprenticeships within the design industry.

The summit, which brought together educators, students, employers and designers, highlighted a study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research which found that, while apprenticeships are on the rise, the design apprenticeship framework is suffering from a low uptake compared with other sectors.

Apprenticeships could be the solution to the problem pointed out in a separate study titled 'Pathways to Design', which notes that more than half of all employers within the design industry aren't satisfied by the skills of the graduates they hire. Those employers suggested that designers should be offered an alternative way to train, which could be an apprenticeship that enables new designers to learn the skills they'd actually need in the workplace.

That's why the Design Council and Creative and Cultural Skills are planning to work with the Department of Business Innovations and Skills and its agencies to review the framework surrounding apprenticeships in the design industry.

"The aim is to improve growth and productivity in the design industry as well as prospects for young people who want to learn on-the-job in an industry that has historically offered few entry-level jobs," Design Council explains.

"It's a concern that there are only about 100 design apprentices, yet there are over 6,000 apprentices working in construction," Chief Executive of Design Council John Mathers adds. "It shows there's work to be done. With university costs increasing to an average of £60,000, we want apprenticeships to be fit-for-purpose to bring growth and diversity to the design industry."

Designers and educators who are interested in getting involved with the project are urged to get in touch with Design Council.


charliesheenhardcore said: I also want to say that the entire idea of education is flawed. We as a race of humans should not have to pay loads of money to attend a school to get a very pointless piece of paper, that ends up doing nothing for them in the end. Doctors and lawyers have to go to school. Designers don't. You know who ends up winning? The school that took the kids and parents money. It's insane that society set this up and brainwashed people. Get a piece of paper and you'll be something great! It's not true folks. All the kids i went to highschool with that went to college have either no jobs, or jobs at places that anyone could get a job at like starbucks. That means something is very wrong here. If this doesn't change than the world is doomed.Amercia keeps pushing education for the school systems ran by the bankers that run the world. They aren't pushing the education system for the people, they are pushing it to make all that money. That's it. Nothing more nothing less. Of course education is important, but if we the younger generation do not take hold of the education systems of our countries no matter where you are from, it's going to destroy us. The entire idea of having to chase a piece of paper is so crazy. Why is that crazy? Because everyone on this earth is different. No two people learn the same. We need reform, and we need an entirely new system.

charliesheenhardcore said: Being a design firm owner i can say with every ounce of soul and truth in my body that design apprenticeships should be happening. I can not count how many resumes i get sent and portfolios from people who went to college and they have portfolios that look like they actually never knew anything about the craft or field. If i wanted i could post them right now, and that's scary to me. It's a lack of direction in different areas. Of course we know in design and the arts what counts the most is their portfolio and skill/talent level. Which is something that can't be taught in any school, and i think the forefront of design shows us that. A large majority of some of today's top design talent and called up for hire by the largest companies did not attend any school. Though, they did learn.They learned in a more master/apprentice way. That's the way to go for this field and craft. I teach privately and my students have told me they've learned more from me than they did at prestigious universities. First and foremost we need education reform. Education needs to be totally rethought from the ground up. It's not working. I think younglings wanting to get into this field would greatly benefit from apprenticing at firms and shops. It should be required to get into the field like a tattoo shop. My jaw drops everytime someone sends me a portfolio. It saddens me that they spend all that money and came out with nothing. They are tricked into false advertising that happens by many of these colleges. " get a career in the graphic design and be on the road to riches"The education system is a dept trap. Espeically for the arts BUT the designer must learn the craft, and must learn the principles of design. You must have proper knowledge of the craft in order to be successful at it. Learning and growing is the most important thing we can do in not only our careers and what we love, but in life. Learning is encouraged. Massive hard work and study must happen. Your head must be in the books regardless. Any good designer who loves what they do will tell you that. A person wanting to do this as their career must be willing to educate themselves. It's obvious that a large majority of schools are not doing this for the kids, luckily in today's times and the information age they can learn anything they want. It's up to them if they want to truly take on the dedication.Moral: I think this topic that you wrote about should be brought up more, and should be considered by design shops. Very nice read.