First Week in the Life of our New CEO

Published 8th February 2017

I have now been the CEO of the Design and Technology Association for one whole week and, already, I have been fortunate to meet and hear from so many inspiring teachers, practitioners, policy-makers and employers. Early days yet, but I hope I have begun to grasp the challenges and the opportunities that the subject faces. As many of you have told me, Design and Technology has been challenged by a number of factors: the lack of investment, shortage of new teachers and, as the impact of the Ebacc takes hold, declining numbers of young people choosing to study the subject at GCSE and then A Level.

At the same time, I have encountered a spirit of optimism from many and a strong belief that the subject is more critical now than ever before. For those that understand the subject, it seems obvious that the design and technology curriculum offers young people a fantastic foundation to develop the creative and technical talent that UK industry needs now and in the future.

I come from the world of post-16 education and policy where the focus is on developing the skills that the UK needs to maintain and improve its global competitiveness.  In a post-Brexit world, the need for these home-grown skills is even more imperative – particularly across our advanced manufacturing, creative and digital industries. However, we also know that too few young people – particularly young women - are considering these sectors for future careers.   We need to nurture the interest and engagement of young people from an early age – and better link the school curriculum with post-16 learning and skills opportunities, including Apprenticeships and HE. At the same time, we must continue to nurture and protect all that is so valuable in our subject – from the opportunity to apply the theory to the practical, to the creative innovation that inspires young people to imagine improvements to the world around them. I feel very privileged to be leading an organisation that has this vision at its heart.

I am really looking forward to engaging with the design and technology community – to hear your views, visit schools and see your practice in action. I am also keen to understand what more the Association could or should be doing to support our members. I am aware of the pressures you are working under and what you are being expected to do.  I hope we will continue to be united by a passion for inspiring young people through excellent practice in design and technology and you will engage actively with us, your subject association, to meet our collective aims.

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