Recognised as one of the most entrepreneurial, business-facing universities in the region, we have supported businesses with consultancy, skills development and research worth £25.6 million in the last few years.
In 2008 the School of Art & Design opened the Creative Employability Studio which works to develop relationships with industry to support the acquisition of employment-related experiences for our students.
If you are a creative company, a company who employs creative people or a company which needs some creativity then we are keen to hear from you.
Industry is never far from our students and we are keen for you to be involved in shaping our graduates - your future employees.
Working with industry
- In Spring 2014, Fashion and Textiles second year students were invited to take part in a competition set by the First Steps Babywear Company, which is a major supplier to some of the UK's leading high street babywear retailers. Students were asked to research the market focusing on current and future high street trends to produce a portfolio of design work suitable for the Autumn/Winter 2014 season. Students developed individual design themes that could be used on babywear packs or hanging garments. They also had to gain an understanding of the technical specifications required for manufacturing as well as customer profiling to help focus on who the end buyer would be. Four students were successful in gaining placements. First Steps congratulated all of the students who had taken part and were very impressed with the overall creativity and high standard of work which was presented to them.
- In September 2013 Fashion and Textiles second year students worked on a live project with Bank, a national fashion retailer and brand. Throughout the assignment the students conducted in-depth market and product research on Bank and their main competitors' thoroughly investigated the forthcoming trends for Spring/Summer 2014' and designed new and exciting fabric print and garment ideas for their brand "Ribbon". Bank designers visited the faculty several times during the project and were most impressed with the quality of the final work presented, especially with the original styles, creative outfits and the commercial understanding behind the dynamic ranges produced.
- November 2012 saw the conclusion of the first of a two-part industry project brief set by Hill & Co, established industry leaders in the design, manufacture and supply of hand tufted, hand knotted and woven area carpets and rugs to the UK domestic market (preferred suppliers of John Lewis).The design brief for the final year students concentrated on Future Design Trends, which focused on three global themes and offered a broad scope for investigation and design development. Yve Houghton, senior lecturer in Fashion and Textiles, said: "With a six-week deadline to produce a commercially viable range of eight designs from scratch, students really had to focus on the work in hand. True to form, the students pulled out all of the stops and relished the challenge." Hill & Co were delighted with the creative and considered responses to the brief which resulted in highly individual design ranges. They were also impressed by the professional manner adopted by the students towards their presentations. As a result, Abbie Crane won the Enterprise and Presentation prize of £100 and several students also had their designs selected for manufacture. Bill Hill, Managing Director of Hill & Co, said: "The standard of design this year has surpassed expectations and we are really excited by the broad range of creative options submitted. We, as a company, are interested in cutting-edge designs which are commercially viable in today's marketplace and were delighted by the students' detailed and informed responses to their brief."
- In 2012, seven students were shortlisted by the Design Museum in London as part of a live brief for their final year projects. Innovative ideas from the BA (Hons) Graphic Communication students for the Design Factory project included a new garment care symbol, a simplified TV remote control using a smartphone app and a re-design of the traffic light labelling system for food packaging.
- In 2012, for the fourth consecutive year BA (Hons) Applied Arts students and alumni were invited to work with the Wedgwood Museum on a live brief. Entitled The Global Product, it required students to develop products for the museum's retail outlet. Over 40 students and alumni chose to participate in the project, many of whom are now working as makers and designers in their own studios; all eager to keep constantly developing new and innovative ideas and research different markets. Gwen Heeney, senior lecturer in Applied Arts said: "This is an outstanding opportunity to be involved once again with the prestigious museum on a challenging, 'live' project with a particular market in mind.”
- Fine camera equipment producers Hasselbad, held a photography workshop at the School of Art & Design in December 2011. Over 70 external photographers attended the event, along with our own pl1otography students, as Hasselbad introduced them to new high-end equipment, including the Broncolor, and gave hands-on training on their new equipment specifically for lighting techniques. Fashion students also took part by modelling their new design collections for the snappers to capture. Su Fahy, divisional leader for Fine Art and Photography, said: "This is a great event for the School and our students to be involved with. Hasselbad offer high-end technical input to our students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and this introduces them to industry standard equipment."
- Six Illustration students were recruited to bring to life a series of stories developed by pupils from Telford schools. 'Find your Talent' and 'Creative Partnerships' funded this ambitious literacy project for the Abraham Darby Academy and their feeder primary schools. Pupils in different year groups worked with professional author Jonathan Collings to create 'Unexpected Tales from Telford' which was published and distributed to local families to encourage reading at home. The stories featured a range of ideas linked to places close to the schools including, animals, fantasy adventures, pirates, and even a royal wedding. Vice Principal at Abraham Darby Academy, Ann O'Brien, co-ordinated the project and commented "this is a great example of partnership working and has already involved over 150 young people. The opportunity for them to meet and work alongside a range of professional people linked to design and publishing is seen to raise aspirations, and we are sure the completed books will prove to be really popular with pupils and their families".
- In 2011, representatives from British high street retailer Next came to meet final year Fashion and Textiles students. Organised by the Creative Employability Studio, it was an opportunity for students to meet a regional graduate recruiter and learn about how their trainee programme is organised. Recruitment Co-ordinator Annie Jones and current trainees Laura Hudson and Emily Little, gave the Next Trainee Scheme 'Stand out from the crowd' presentation and played a business game with the students based on men's shirts. Senior lecturer Sharon Watts commented: "it is so important for our students to interact with industry and gain an understanding of how corporations such as Next operate. They were very impressed with the presentation and many of them are now considering careers in buying and merchandising".
- Students from the Animation course worked on a live brief to create idents for the ITV children's channel CiTV. In December 2011 Dave Hickman, CiTV Creative Director, came back to view the final student submissions. Expecting to take about three student idents back to the CiTV approval board, Dave was thrilled to have five pieces ready and offered another eight students the opportunity of re-submission in January, following some very minor amendments. When asked how the brief had gone Arin Sotoudeh, Animation student said: "I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity for my work to be broadcast whilst studying. I have really enjoyed the process and learnt so much about presenting ideas to clients. The students have really supported each other on this brief, and this work will look great in my portfolio".
- In 2011 Fashion and Textiles students worked on a ladies tennis collection with Vanessa Brown from Chicini. The company supplies branded crew clothing to venues, but Vanessa's real passion is tennis; a former Welsh international at junior and senior level and currently a tennis coach. Vanessa approached the School because she was keen to develop a tennis range suitable for the ladies that she coaches. Seven students worked on the tennis brief for six weeks, with Vanessa visiting once a week to see their sketchbooks and discuss their ideas. At the end of the brief the students presented their collections and Vanessa chose two runners up: Bhavik Sharma and Abbie Crane, and the winner, Hayley Rock. Hayley then had the opportunity to work with Chicini to sample her collection.