THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 is urging the academe and industry players to work together to create a joint curriculum on design degree programs to ensure competitive and high-quality design workers in Cebu.
The move is also aimed at addressing the dwindling supply of good designers in the province, said DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte.
Caberte said Cebu is now starting to see a decrease in the number of quality designers. She said it is imperative that the province should take action.
“One of the remedies we see is for the academe and industry players to sit down and create together a curriculum on our design degree programs so the mismatch will be addressed, “ she said. “This profession should be given importance because it used to be our niche,” she said.
Caberte said that in the past, Cebu saw the migration of good designers to China because of attractive pay and opportunities. Because of this, the DTI and industry players started taking initiatives to lure them back.
However, she said that one important factor they need to address is the mismatch between what the academe produces and what the industry requires. “There is a lot of work to be done in this area because this is where the problem on supply and quality of design workforce arise,” she said.
Caberte said Cebu can draw insights from the partnerships of Cebu Gift, Toys and Housewares and the Bohol Island State University (Bisu).
Years ago, Caberte said they sat down with Cebu GTH and faculty and staff of Bisu to create a curriculum for interior design that is responsive to the industry needs and can be offered in the said university.
The curriculum was offered three years ago and graduates of the university were eventually absorbed by design-oriented and creative firms in Cebu.
“I believe we can replicate the same in Cebu given the strong network of industry players and academe making design and creative courses a priority. Both parties should be receptive so we can see change,” Caberte said.
“The companies should be the one telling the academe what they need and collaborate constantly with the industry. We have seen this kind of partnership work for many other industries, this will work for our creative industry,” she said.
Bisu currently houses the country’s first Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) that aims to support the creative industry of the province.
A FabLab is a technical prototyping platform for innovation and invention that allows local manufacturers to make prototypes and products such as equipment, machinery and electronic gadgets; create scale models, illustrate graphic designs and mass-produce products among others.
Caberte said the move to polish the design curriculum in Cebu will complement the planned design centers that will be rolled out in the country.
Five regional design centers has been established by the government in an effort to institutionalize and promote design and culture across the country. These design centers will be in Davao, Cebu, Bacolod, Legazpi and Pampanga.
The regional design centers will provide training, seminars, workshops, materials research and development and other design capability improvement activities. The centers also share online design trends subscription and other reference materials.