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New Design Report Reveals that Upskilling is Critical for Business Success

25 February 2021
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Design Practice in Ireland

The just-launched Design Practise in Ireland report highlights the sector’s urgent need to retain talent through embedded training.

“Ad-hoc, self-directed learning simply won’t address Ireland’s skills gap over the next five years,” said CEO of IDI, Charlotte Barker, at the launch of a new report entitled Design Practise in Ireland. 

Commissioned by Design Skillnet, it offers a snapshot of Ireland’s design sector that will inform a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) map for the next three years, to meet the demand for design skills that is already apparent.  

Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland delivered a keynote on the workplace of the future and Design Skillnet Steering Group members John Moriarty design director at Accenture’s Fjord of the Dock team; Bairbre McGlade, Senior Creative at Boys and Girls, and Brian Stephens, founder and Chair of Design Partners, shared insights into their businesses and careers, highlighting the importance and impact of lifelong learning.  

The report finds that 66 per cent of designers in Ireland will need to upskill in order to stay relevant and keep ahead of the tech curve that has been accelerated by the pandemic. With an average of 1,300 design graduates per year and a talent and innovation shortfall is plain to see – although the situation cannot be resolved by increasing graduates, but by designers and businesses investing in reskilling and upskilling. 

Paul Healy highlighted the need to retain, not replace, talent with AI systems; investing in high-end tech, but never at the expense of a talented yet vulnerable workforce, whose ambitions can be achieved through systematic, embedded training. Charlotte Barker referenced findings in the report concerning Ireland’s “lack of culture of learning and development in design” from the top down, that most individuals are left to learn on the job, and upskill in their own time, and echoed the report in urging employers to make space for learning and development, and for designers to recognise the value in investing in themselves.   

Click here to read the Design Practise in Ireland 2021 report in full.

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