• First MENA Design Education Outlook reveals need for nine-fold increase in design graduates to ensure sustainable growth of MENA design sector

    May 26th, 2016


    Dubai, 23 May 2016 – The Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC), in partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) today revealed the “MENA Design Education Outlook” study, a ground-breaking report which is the first of its kind in the Arab region, and provides insight into the design education landscape across the MENA region and focuses on six key design markets in the region – UAE, Qatar, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait. The report highlights the growth of the design sector and subsequently, the need for at least 30,000 design graduates by 2019, representing the need for a nine-fold increase in young designers to achieve sustainable growth of the design sector in the region.

    Design is a key driver of innovation. Today, the design industry plays an essential and integral role in achieving Dubai’s ambitious Innovation Strategy, acting as a catalyst to the Emirate’s transformation into a Smart City, in accordance with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The MENA Design Education Outlook, commissioned by DDFC and supported by d3, identifies the opportunities and trends that are considered key to develop the design sector in alignment with these key strategic initiatives.

    According to the MENA Design Outlook Study, published last year by DDFC, the design industry in the region is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 6 percent over the next 5 years, twice the pace of the global design sector, and is expected to contribute 5.2 percent of the overall design sector in 2019. The creative industry is viewed as a promising sector globally, while fashion is the largest contributor to the industry representing 69 percent of market value in MENA. Fashion is expected to continue growing at 6.1 percent until 2017 and subsequently at 7.5 percent until 2019 and is core to Dubai’s tourism and retail sectors. The total value of the MENA design industry will reach 55 billion U.S. Dollars by 2019. Given this overall positive outlook, organizations anticipate at least a 20 percent annual increase in their designer headcount, especially in fresh graduates, over the next two to three years. Estimated increase in headcount at junior levels is the highest in the Fashion and Interior Design segments.

    With reference to these results, the MENA Design Education Outlook has identified the barriers that could potentially hinder this growth, such as the lack of dedicated design education facilities  and design education offerings, and the low awareness of design courses currently available. The report also identified the need for a blueprint for educators and policymakers to shape design education offerings in a manner which is more aligned with industry needs, and the need to create fabrication labs to equip designers with hands-on skills throughout their education. In response to the findings, DDFC will host workshops with students and professionals in order to discuss the initiatives and opportunities and to enhance the relationship between educators and industry experts to better support the region with talent.

    As a dedicated home for the design community, Dubai Design District (d3) is focusing on nurturing and enabling the growth of emerging designers. The team have worked closely with established designers to ensure that the right infrastructure, mentorship, and industry support is set in place throughout their careers, enabling them to reach their full potential. As such, d3 is established to provide the region with a creative community that nurtures, inspires and promotes emerging talent.

    Aiming to be the smartest, most-integrated community on earth, d3 is a strategic partner and green pilot area for Dubai Smart City, which is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. Having introduced 21 initiatives to develop an innovative business community and contribute to the realisation of the Emirate’s aspirations, d3 offers initiatives that are wide ranging and that intelligently leverage technology to help drive an unparalleled quality of experience for both its creative tenants and visitors.

    The report also indicates the need for Governments across the region to identify the importance of the design industry and design education as a proactive tool for economy growth. Moreover, diversification of design education resources reflects not only a strategic imperative, but is also vital in order to drive innovation and preserve the growth of the design industry in the region.

    Commenting on the importance of this report, Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Chairperson of DDFC said, “The MENA Design Education Outlook, developed in collaboration with students and professionals in the design field, provides insights into the state of design education today across various segments such as architecture, visual arts, interior design, fashion design, product design and many more. The report also highlights opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, and will be a key reference while drafting strategies and plans to enhance the design ecosystem in the region. Ultimately, we hope that the study will help educators and policymakers alike to identify industry trends and support them in developing curriculums, courses and policies to nurture the talent pool in the region”.

    The report also looks at international best practice of key design education hubs such as the USA, U.K., Singapore and The Netherlands and identifies numerous opportunities for the region to adopt the practices to build a strong global reputation for design education. These include recognizing the importance of education planning and early learning experiences, providing a structured career path and aligning education skills with the needs of the economy. Arab countries need to unify their efforts and craft paths into the design sector, such as establishing design education institutes to create diversity in the marketplace.

    Nez Gebreel, CEO of DDFC, said: “As demonstrated in the MENA Design Outlook study, commissioned by DDFC last year, the design industry is playing an important role and is considered a vital catalyst of innovation, economic growth and job opportunities. Investing in design education will help us to develop the design sector further, empower our breadth of local talent as well as equip designers with the knowledge and skills necessary to flourish in this dynamic industry”.

    Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Operations Officer of d3, said: “Dubai Design District (d3) was established to provide Dubai and the region with a creative community that educates, inspires and nurtures emerging talent. The MENA Design Education Outlook complements d3’s vision to become a global design hub, and provide designers with insights which will help them to flourish further.”

    The MENA Design Education Outlook is a publicly accessible report that is available for download from this link: https://dubaidesignandfashioncouncil.ae/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/MENA-Design-Education-Outlook-Study-English.pdf

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