The future of the toy industry may hang in the balance, depending on the government’s next move regarding education and EU laws.
Funding at both secondary and further education level has been called into question by members of the toy design and engineering community for the potential impact it could have upon innovation within the industry.
The government has been called out for its ‘big push’ on grammar schools, its new ‘non-coursework’ based curriculum and it emphasis on children achieving an Ebacc.
“These do nothing to promote creative design engineers in my opinion,” Lucas Tyler, creative director at Fuse London, a toy design and engineering firm, told ToyNews.
“The conservatives have consistently marginalised design and technology as a subject and put very little emphasis on the arts.”
With a requirement for specialist equipment, workshops, specialist skilled teachers and technicians, educating the next generation of toymakers and designers through design and technology classes can not be done on the cheap.
“This is the main reason so many schools are dropping the subject from their curriculum,” he added.
“At further education level, the access to good quality design education is expensive and this teamed with a lack of students coming out of secondary education with the required skills to join a course is a concern to me.”
With Brexit negotiations set to commence next week, calls have been made for the government to address UK business’ access to EU workers, something which a coalition between the Conservatives and DUP and the potential for a softer approach towards Brexit may determine.
Based in central London, Fuse currently employs design graduates from across the UK, Europe and beyond and has a working relationship with Brunel University.
“For this to continue, we need a government that welcomes skilled individuals, and gives them the opportunity to invest emotionally and financially in our city as well as our country,” continued Tyler
“Managing Brexit and encouraging talent to study and stay here is essential.”
However, with Brexit certain to be the major topic of discussion for the foreseeable future, the design community insists that – with the outcome of the impending negotiations so vastly uncertain – attention is not diverted from encouraging home grown talent at grass roots level.
“Education has to become a priority,” added Tyler. “An emphasis on funding the arts and design is essential.
“Feed our degree courses with inspired and motivated young people and they will, in turn, feed our design, engineering and manufacturing industries.”