Getting summat back… Inspiring the next generation

A student and lecturer’s view

Following our recent blog, featuring Senior Designer, Abi who presented the designer’s view of the benefits of businesses working with higher and further education, we’ve been to get the views of the student and the university lecturer. We asked them to explain the role of business in ‘Inspiring the next generation’.

First, we talked to Matt Swift, who graduated with a First-Class Honours in Graphic Design from Blackpool and The Fylde College in 2018. He’s clearly someone who’s benefitted from the input of an industry-based tutor, in this case, our senior designer Abi.

As Matt explains: “There’s a higher level of respect for an industry, professional tutor. The advice and guidance they provide stems from their day to day life. Instead of worrying what it takes to get a First-Class degree, though obviously they push you to get the highest possible grade, they nurture and mentor you. They help you to think beyond university and of the bigger picture – your career and the possibilities open to you.

“The final year is the perfect time for an industry professional to become a prominent feature in the studio. Not only are you more mature, you have an increased level of knowledge and are hungry for a future that’s not too far away.

“A big question that’s often asked of university tutors is about ‘real life’. Sometimes it’s a question they struggle to answer, they have experience but are often no longer practising. When you’re sat with an industry professional, talking through a brief or idea, you no longer feel like a student, but a peer. It’s almost how a senior designer guides a junior. They want to share their knowledge and experiences and are excited to do so. In my experience, you build a friendship with a professional, industry-based tutor. It’s an absolutely brilliant feeling, knowing somebody who’s made it in their career is in your corner.

“Along with the inspiration they provide, there’s also the industry links and placement opportunities they open the doors to. They provide a more all-round, in-depth experience, something that’s so needed for a creative degree, particularly if you’re going to have a smooth transition from student to employee.”

The lecturer’s view

Andrew Bainbridge (courtesy of UcLan)

There’s no doubt, Matt clearly values the role of industry but what about the university lecturer who, according to Matt, can sometimes struggle with the “real-life” questions?

It’s over to our great friend Andy Bainbridge, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design and Industrial Placement Tutor at The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan): “As staff we feel it’s very important for students to get real-world feedback and opinions on their work from professional designers. We obviously provide our own input on project work, but it’s healthy to get other opinions, especially from industry.

“Students can get a little tired of staff and the familiarity can create too much of a comfort zone. Being able to talk confidently, logically and passionately about your work to someone else is very important. The more they practice and get the opportunity to do this the better in my opinion.”

Forepoint has a close relationship with a number of local colleges and universities, working with them on a regular basis. If you’d like a conversation with us about future knowledge exchange opportunities, please get in touch.

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