I’m in two minds about this – aganst it because I think there’s nothing wrong with a plumber having a degree in philosophy, for it because I think a lot of people sign up for degrees who don’t really want one, or intend to do what’s required, but just want a job for which other routes are – or should be – available.
In design, other routes are available if you only want to be a designer without doing a degree and all that entails, but they’re not as successful in recruiting applicants partly because the industry itself places an emphasis on getting graduates in to non-graduate level jobs. Should you need a degree to be an artworker? No.
The irony is, the newest non-academic route in to the design industry is the Creative Apprenticeship championed by Creative and Cultural Skills (i.e. the design industry itself). In this, school leavers go to work in the industry and are trained on the job.
Early trials of that weren’t successful because, they admitted, employers prefer graduates because they don’t have to pay them (in other words, free ‘placements’ and ‘trials’ – odd behaviour for an industry against free pitching) or pay for their training.
So it’s not the level of education that is important, it’s the low cost of recruiting a graduate that makes it the prime entry route in to the industry…
You can watch the ad here – I think it’s rather good.
More on the campaign at www.edge.co.uk