James Dyson Comments on The Future of D and T

James Dyson comments…

Ideas and invention. This is what drives our economy forward. And they are nurtured by Design

and Technology. We desperately need engineers to ask ‘what’s next?’ We need them to

challenge the status quo and create new technology. But it all starts in our schools and we forget

this at our peril.

George Osborne wants our economy to be based upon making things. To achieve this, our

society needs to believe that technology creates the foundation for a prosperous future. We live in

a world which is constantly changing. Technological advancement is on the tip of every industry.

Our school curriculum must not be afraid to move forward with it.

Engineers do not suddenly appear at university. They have a mindset which is fostered throughout

their education. That is why D&T is essential at all stages of the curriculum. We should encourage

children in the early years to pull objects apart. Find out how things work. And pose that most

inquisitive and brilliant of questions – ‘why?’.

Equally, older children need the opportunity to apply the science and maths they’re taught. They

need to see its relevance. To understand how it relates to business and their future career. The

can-do, hands-on attitude that D&T fosters gives students the skills to handle life’s difficult

situations. To succeed. To shape the world around them.

With the exception of doctors, engineering graduates are the most highly paid. And rightly so. It

reflects their importance. But how many students know this when they study D&T? The interest and

rewards of a career in design engineering need to be better communicated. To students and their

parents. We need to sell our ‘product’.

The responsibility for our innovators of the future falls on the shoulders of D&T teachers. Through

working with my foundation, I have come into contact with many brilliant Design and Technology

teachers. Those who inspire. Those who influence the direction of this relatively new subject.

We know our subject is under threat. We face a challenge from the current national curriculum

review. But it is far from insurmountable. As designers and engineers we are trained to solve

problems. We must apply this to the current education climate. We must fight apathy with

inspiration.

We tell students that in every challenge there is an opportunity. Well, we need to rise to this

opportunity. We know the innate value of D&T. How it creates problem solvers. People who don’t

shy away from failure but use it to succeed. I will continue to fight for this subject and urge others

to do so. Now is the time to start shouting about it. And to tell Michael Gove that D&T is not an

optional fringe subject. It’s inspirational and it’s essential.

James Dyson

About Quinn

Designer and founder of QuickLink Systems
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