This week at Horbury Design, we've got a lad from Horbury School doing some work experience with us. His name's Oliver Farrell (check out his web design portfolio) and he's a seriously committed aspiring web designer/developer. It's great to see a glimpse of what the future could hold for our industry.
Anyway, this got me thinking some more about the relationship between the web industry and education. There seems to have been a lot of talk online in the last few months about the apparent lack of quality in web design education. This seems to be a problem not just in the UK, but around the world.
The Root of the Problem
I believe a lot of this has to do with the reluctance of some businesses to engage with the education process. Perhaps even more surprisingly, I think a lot of educational establishments also have an unwillingness to get involved with commercial businesses. Maybe because deep down they know they're teaching outdated techniques to a low standard? I honestly don't know.
Without the industry feeding the education sector with the latest technologies and methodologies, it's impossible for graduates to have the skill set they need to succeed quickly in the industry. It's no good them having to relearn everything once they graduate. This is especially an issue in such a fast moving sector.
It's so easy to lay the blame with the teachers. But I believe that in order for education in our industry to move forward, companies need to start engaging with the courses that are breeding future employees. Think of it as an investment - you get out of the education sector what you put into it.
There's evidence that this works. I was educated on the HND Interactive Media course (now FdA Web Design) at Wakefield College. Steve Smith, the tutor, put endless hours of effort into engaging with local businesses. The result has been a stream of high quality web designers and developers for the same local businesses to employ. It's a cycle that we at Horbury Design believe works, so we're investing by offering work placements to local students, as well as advice to our local course - the FdA Web Design.
If professionals want a better quality of graduates to employ - it really does start with you.