As an ex head of department of fashion and textiles at UK and USA universities I am all for gaining experience through practice in an industrial context. Having said that it should be during the period of ones degree, not after their studies as graduates.
Students of art and design are now clients, they come into education with a purpose, to gain knowledge and skills and develop an intellectual agility in preparation for their future career. With luck they fine tune creativity to a point where an innovative approaches to problem solving is second nature.
With most students struggling to maintain their studies in a climate of financial constraint, often living below the national poverty line, it would be criminal for educational establishments not to provide a placement program of some description during the three or four year study period. I have always been of the opinion that during this placement period some sort of remuneration is required whether a small salary or reimbursement of expenses, even students have to eat and pay their rent and not all are blessed with wealthy parents.
The provision of a placement program during study not only provides the student with an attractive CV, it also develops a discourse between industry and education that in turn can provide many other benefits not necessarily apparent at the time. I just wish that government bodies where more supportive of our young thinkers as they are the future for societal, economic and creative innovation.
This comment originally appeared on the Creative Review website.