A call to arms for the future of design in the South West

June 23, 2017

It’s the Catch-22 curse.

Hard-working, in-debt design students need work experience to get a job. But they need a job to gain work experience.

At Proctors we’re determined to step up and help solve the problem.  

It started with a show…

UWE – in particular the Art & Design departments – is an educational institution that means a lot to former graduates Roger Proctor, our MD, Mike Cain, Executive Creative Director and Luke Waterman, our Senior Designer.

As such, when the time comes around, we make an annual Proctors pilgrimage to visit the UWE Degree Show.

This is not just to reminisce about our (long) lost youth, but to see how each new generation of designers is shaping up. We look to provide at least some of them with an opportunity to spend time in our busy studio, creating a useful stepping stone towards full-time employment.

As always, the show provided us with a hugely appreciated breath of fresh air.

We witnessed some wonderful examples of unconstrained design, from the charming animatronic toothbrush, to the more traditional print-based typographic offerings.

The whole experience was all the more enjoyable in the stunning new studios on the top floors of The Arnolfini gallery, with 360-degree views of Bristol Harbourside.

But something wasn’t right…

Something was very different this year. Something we had already begun to sense in previous years, but is now well and truly ‘in our faces’. Something that we can no longer ignore.

A large something, summed up perfectly in a little book. As always, this year’s degree show was accompanied by a ‘Manifesto’. Not unusual you might say. But this one was different.

The thing that made this year’s manifesto a little different? Its strong, critical look at the state of the design education system – particularly in a post-austerity United Kingdom.

Here’s the issue…

The steadily rising cost of design education over the short, medium and long term is having an overwhelming effect on the future outlook of graduates. And it’s safe to say – as evidenced by some of the work (including the manifesto itself) – that the message hit home. That message was definitely winning over medium. 

The power of the written word is very much in the ascendance.

Personally, I was taken right back to the punk aesthetic of my youth. Another time when the young felt particularly hard done by as a result of a social and economic elite busily pulling the ladder up from under themselves.

It was after seeing this manifesto and reading some of the thought-provoking words in it, that Roger and the rest of us at Proctors agreed to redouble our efforts to recruit as many talented local graduates as possible either as short-term interns or full-time junior staff.

Proctors will be investing more in local graduates to give them the leg up they so greatly need. 

We want to do our best to give these poor students the chance to move forward that so many of them deserve.

Need to catch a break?

So please, if you are a recent graduate from UWE, Bath Spa, Weston College or any other design course in the South West, give us a call. Let's talk. And let’s see if we can help you get on your way.


Mike Cain is Executive Creative Director at Proctors.

For enquiries about our internships, please contact recruitment@proctors.co.uk or give Caroline Beardkins, HR Manager at Proctors, a call.