Strode News

24/02/12 - Clarks Help Schools Design a Bright Future
Strode News

Thirty students from schools and colleges across the area were recently invited to take part in a specially organised ‘Design Workshop' at the head office of Clarks in Street.

This full day event, aimed at encouraging young people to develop their design skills and understand how they might use them in the modern-day workplace, was organised in association with the East Somerset Partnership and involved students from Strode College and five secondary schools: Ansford Academy (Castle Cary), Crispin School (Street), Sexey's School (Bruton), St. Dunstan's School (Glastonbury), and Whitstone School (Shepton Mallet).

In stylish surroundings and with the support of various professionals from the company's design teams, the students heard about the workings of the fashion industry and the way the latest trends hit the shops. They were then given the task of imagining new shoe designs themselves. Thinking carefully about the leathers and fabrics they might use, as well as colour, shape and comfort, the students worked in groups with those from other schools, before standing up to present their ideas.

Everyone that took part had an enjoyable time, producing some impressive work under the guidance of staff from Clarks. The insight they gained into the international design process was of immense help to them in their GCSE and A Level studies and plans are already being put in place to repeat the opportunity next year.

The students returned to class with some good memories, some great ideas and some excellent comments: "Excellent - really interesting and inspiring!"; "It was amazing - I learnt loads! "; "I've been able to see first-hand what a career in design would be like"; "I enjoyed doing the design brief as we were all able to contribute our ideas collectively and it was a fun experience"; and "I found this a very useful workshop as I am studying DT."

Carol Authers, Training and Development Manager at Clarks said: "The day was a huge success. I was amazed at the way in which the students took the project briefs and worked together to produce
coherent designs. It was a great opportunity to work with students from the local area and I hope that it will have inspired some of them to follow a path into design. With luck some of them will join us at Clarks HQ in the future."

Adrian Ash, East Somerset Partnership Director, said: "We are very grateful to Clarks for the support they have given us in arranging this incredible opportunity for local students. Schools and colleges in Somerset are always looking at ways to offer exciting and unusual learning experiences to our young people and the involvement of one of our region's most respected companies in achieving this is greatly appreciated. The students left the building buzzing and took many great ideas back to the classroom."

Jon Hampton, Innovations Department at Clarks, said: "It was great to work with such enthusiastic and capable students. They all seemed to pick up on everything that was presented to them and created some very relevant and exciting projects. I attended both St Dunstan's and Strode College, so it was fantastic to see such talent coming through from the local area. I very much look forward to the chance of being involved again in the near future."

The day at Clarks was the first in a series of events being organised for young people in East Somerset. In coming weeks students will get the chance to learn about study and career possibilities in Engineering and Event Management, as well as trying their hand at writing for television and radio and looking at the importance of language skills in international business. Each event will involve major employers and universities from across the area.