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More than 30,000 design students required in Middle East by 2019

More than 30,000 design students required in Middle East by 2019Amina Al Rustamani, the chairperson of Dubai Design and Fashion Council speaking at the launch of the MENA Design Education Outlook / Image Credit: Organisers

More than 30,000 design graduates will be required in the next three years in the Middle East for the design sector to thrive. That's nine times the current number. This according to a new study released by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC), which commissioned the report to mark out opportunities on how to develop the design sector in the region.

The Mena Design Education Outlook is the first-of-its-kind design-based research said Gareth Pereira, the director at Monitor Deloitte, who presented the findings. ''This study compliments the Mena Design Outlook Study released last year,'' he added.

The region's design industry is estimated to grow by six per cent in the next five years, according to the study, which covered nine main segments: architecture, fashion, visual arts, communication, food, social, interior, product and experiential design.

Out of this, architecture, fashion and interior design are the most in-demand design careers in the region, it found, and predicted there would be a 20 per cent annual increase in the number of designers in the next two to three years.

Barriers identified in the growth of design education included lack of dedicated design education facilities and design education offerings, and the low awareness among students of design courses currently available. The report also said there was a need for educators to offer courses that were more suited to the needs of the industry.

Creative industries in the Mena region constitute 1.5 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product), compared to 5 to 6 per cent in developed countries, it said, acknowledging the opportunities in the sector.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have the largest overall design markets in the region, respectively totalling $27.6 billion and $21.9 billion in design revenues in 2014, and accounting for 50 per cent of the Mena market. The third and fourth largest markets are Qatar and Egypt while Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the fastest growing design markets in the region.

The study identified six key design markets in the region — UAE, Qatar, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait — and interviewed students, educators and industry professionals in those countries.

The report will be a key reference while drafting strategies and plans to enhance the design ecosystem in the region, said Amina Al Rostamani, the chairperson of DDFC.

''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''.

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Source: David Tusing, Deputy tabloid! Editor, gulfnews.comGN