Worrying state of design apprenticeships highlighted by Design Council

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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.


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