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Design and technology

Design and technology is an important subject in the school curriculum. It is about learning how to design and make things, ranging from foods to engineering products.

There are many careers related to design and technology. They are found across a wide range of industries including:

  • agriculture

  • engineering and construction

  • healthcare

  • food and drink

Careers related to art and design can be placed into 2 broad groups: careers related to design and product development, and practical careers where you make or mend things.

Besides the knowledge you gain through the subject studying design and technology helps to develop skills like logical thinking, problem solving, team working, research, ICT and planning which are useful in many different career areas. While design and technology is not often a required subject for a career, it is often on the list of preferred or useful subjects.

Depending on the job or course you want to apply for you may be asked for good GCSE grades in English and maths, and perhaps science or art.

Careers related to design and product development

Before developing a design into a product, designers have to consider who will use the item, how many will be needed, how the product should look, its effect on the environment, the materials required, their cost and availability.

Some designers work in technical areas, like engineering or industrial design, where they need to understand manufacturing processes. Others work on the artistic side, as textile or fashion designers, for example:

In communications, designers use images and words, perhaps on films or DVD’s for education, training, advertising or entertainment, some work on magazines, newspapers, posters and packaging etc.

Product design and development also involves market researchers, marketing and public relations staff. Within the food industry, ideas for new ready cooked meals need to be carefully researched, tested, evaluated and developed, by food technologists, market researchers etc.

Many jobs in design and product development require a degree or HND. There are some opportunities at technician/support level for those with fewer qualifications. People in such jobs can undertake part time study or training leading to NVQs, HNCs, foundation degrees or full degrees.

Make or mend careers

The satisfaction of making things may appeal to you. You need an ability for using your hands, tools and machinery. There are repair and maintenance jobs, where a problem solving approach is required. Some of these jobs you can do with a few GCSEs in appropriate subjects. Less skilled jobs may not require any particular qualifications. There may be openings at technician level for people with around four GCSEs at grades A* to C. Professional engineers have a degree and often further qualifications.

Other ideas

You may consider teaching design and technology in a secondary school or college. There are jobs within consumer advisory services, advising on products for the home. Some health service careers, such as occupational therapy, use design and technology skills. You may want to use your knowledge of technology to help the environment.

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