Graduate employability: the link between design education and the graphic design industry.

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In recent years, based on a rash of complaints from employers in the design industry, entry-level graphic design graduates in the industry are considered largely incompetent. The design industry expects certain kinds of employable skills which graduates from training institutions do not adequately possess. As a result, a gap has emerged between academic institutions and the expectations of design industry. Accordingly, the study explored and described the skills, attitudes and knowledge plus the contextual pressures needed to meet the demand placed on Ghanaian graphic design graduates. The study primarily adopts qualitative research approach, using interview and participant observation as the primary methods for data collection. Two categories of informants: employers in the design industry and employees (thus, Ghanaian graphic design graduates) were used for data collection. The study area covers ten graphic design firms in Kumasi. The results of this study indicates that employers in the design industries expect graphic design graduates to have a clear evidence of additional knowledge, skills and behaviours aside from their university certificate. The changing nature of the workplace, coupled with changes in global economy, technology, differences in people’s behaviour put considerable responsibility on graphic designers. For a graduate to have a competitive advantage in design industry, he or she must possess a broad range of competencies which include industry knowledge, changing nature of work, time-management, work experience, communication skills, problem-solving, broaden knowledge, technology, collaboration, emotional intelligence, self-respect, self-usefulness, and confidence. A graduate designer must therefore be multi-skilled to begin professional practice.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Communication Design in the Faculty of Art, College of Art and Built Environment in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Communication Design: (Communication Design), 2015