DesigningFutures@CDW is a new project set up by Jade-Ilke Creative Solutions and supported by Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW), Sketch Studios and Milliken. The project has been developed to tackle the issue of access into the design, interiors and construction sectors for young people. The initiative aims to help reduce the barriers for youngsters by creating practical opportunities for them to gain hands-on experience. The project will include work experience and skills training for up to 25 young people placed in participating showrooms for the three days of Clerkenwell Design Week. There will also be a launch event at the Milliken showroom on 11th May 2016 to include a panel discussion tackling the issues and raising awareness of access into design and related industries for young people.
Designing Futures at CDW is now calling on all showrooms and businesses in the Clerkenwell area to get involved by becoming a sponsor and giving work experience to a young person on the programme.
William Knight, CDW show director, explains: “The importance of Clerkenwell Design Week to the design, furniture and contract interiors industry means it can tackle issues affecting our community, and provide lots of opportunity. DesigningFutures@CDW is a potentially vital pipeline for talent to be introduced and recruited to the industry. For three days doors are flung open across Clerkenwell - I hope lots of showrooms will take the opportunity to engage with this project and show promising young people the best of our business.”
Justin Bass, Sketch MD, says: “Sketch are excited and privileged to be one of the three founding partners of DesigningFutures@CDW. We understand the need for providing young people with opportunities and guidance at the beginning of their careers – and it’s especially valuable in our industry where we need to find ways to attract more young talent. This is something that’s very close to our hearts here at Sketch, as two members of our current team joined us through projects we previously worked on with Jade Ilke and we also have a number of interns who all provide valuable contributions to the business. We love CDW and we’re looking forward to driving Designing Futures forward, and meeting the new group of young people involved.”
"We're proud to have worked with Jade Ilke on her amazing projects to give opportunities to young people since 2011", explains Alison Kitchingman Marketing & Design Director at Milliken. "The young people we’ve worked with through Jade on previous occasions have always been a credit to themselves and Jade's faith in them as well as an inspiration to Milliken.
"As one of the founding partners of DesigningFutures@CDW we will be hosting the launch event as well as training sessions during CDW 2016. We're looking forward to welcoming all those involved and helping to raise the profile of this worthwhile initiative. We are always looking for bright fresh talent, young people with different perspectives and new ways of doing things. This initiative is offering a valuable service both to the young people, who are largely off the radar of the commercial world and the design community who can benefit from their input. DesigningFutures@CDW is enabling new connections to be made and bridging a very real gap.”
One particular success story that has inspired the programme involves Yassir Sohail – he was referred to a school programme Jade Ilke was running in 2006: “a bright young man who was starting to go down the wrong path,” Jade remembers.
He worked with Out of the Dark, an award winning social enterprise co-founded and run by Jade.
“We were able to give him many of the life-skills that most young people take for granted, building his confidence and self-esteem as well as providing practical skills, experience and training.”
Through Jade’s introduction Sketch Studios became Yassir’s sponsor and took him on to their shadowing programme. It wasn’t long before Yassir was recruited as a full-time employee at Sketch Studios and then promoted to become contracts manager where he currently works.
Yassir explains: “I value my position at Sketch and feel very fortunate to be part of Fourfront Group. I wouldn’t be in this position in life today if it wasn’t for all the help and guidance I received from Jade throughout the years and the opportunity from Justin to take on the role. The work Jade does is so important; I have worked with Jade to mentor young people who lack a vision of what their future could be, and I think this project at Clerkenwell Design Week is a really great chance for them to see what opportunities are out there in this industry. For myself, working at Sketch has opened my eyes to so many different roles in the industry I wasn’t aware of before I joined.”
Jade says: “We know Clerkenwell Design Week is always an exceptionally busy time for the participating showrooms, we believe this initiative presents a real win-win solution – the showrooms get some extra help while offering deserving young people some experience and an insight into an industry they might otherwise never have the chance to experience first-hand.”