When looking at our work at TPXimpact, the thing I’m consistently most proud of is how our teams support the development of design and research skills in the organisations we work and partner with. This includes giving people the opportunity to step into new roles, learn new skills, and to build confidence to work in new ways.
So I’m delighted we’re officially launching a Design Graduate Scheme at TPXimpact.
Our first cohort of trainees will join us from September this year, with a full years’ programme led by Tash Willcocks (Learning Design and Delivery lead), along with input from our design and research teams.
Why a Design Graduate Scheme?
In the final chapter of the Multiplied book, I wrote about the importance of investing in a future public sector workforce. I also explained some of the challenges we face in collectively having enough of the types of skills that are increasingly in demand. The need for specialist design and research has never been higher, with organisations continuing to invest in how they build and run modern services to meet the needs and expectations of users.
With this in mind, the case for our own Design Graduate Scheme has been made on the following basis.
- Investing in a new generation of designers and researchers – as a consultancy business this is the right thing to do. For ourselves, our clients, and the sectors we work in. There’s not only a shortage of people with specialist skills, there’s also a lack of entry level opportunities for those capable of developing into the experienced professionals we all need.
- Growing a diverse and representative workforce – as an organisation we want to truly represent the places and organisations we work with. So our scheme is open to everyone, – whether or not they have a degree – and with flexibility to accommodate people living anywhere in the UK.
- To develop and scale our ways of working – our teams have a clear design philosophy. We believe the way to scale this is by investing in developing our workforce, rather than only hiring senior, or more experienced team members. How we work, and the consistency and application of ways of working, matters as we continue to grow. This is one of the ways we think we can increase the impact and value of what we’re able to deliver through our client work.
The details of our Design Graduate Scheme
This is a paid scheme, aimed at early career designers, or people wanting to make the move into design from another career. This will give members of each cohort:
- a peer network
- hands-on training
- the opportunity to develop their skills under the guidance of experienced professionals
- the opportunity to apply for a permanent position with TPXimpact at the end of the year
Starting this September, our first cohort will be onboarded through a Bootcamp, before building their experience through internal work and client projects. For one calendar year, they will gain exposure to aspects of each of our specialist design and research roles, and work that supports our clients. This is the key part – for people at the start of their careers, the scheme will be an opportunity for them to develop real experience.
Challenges and opportunities
Our ways of working have continued to adapt since the start of the pandemic in 2020. We want to ensure that our cohort will come together effectively and have the best possible learning experiences over 12 months. This will mean a mixture of in person and online learning, and members of the scheme will also benefit from the hybrid delivery models that are now the default across most of our work.
To support this, we are designing how the scheme will run in practice, and especially how this can link into our project work at both a national and local level to meet our goals, and to make sure the scheme is accessible.
We believe it’s important to give our graduates the chance to explore different skill sets. So we will be setting these roles up as generalists, with the opportunity for individuals to specialise more across design research, service design, content design, and interaction and product design, over the course of their first 12 months with us.
We are also committed to finding ways to partner more closely with our clients to meet their needs for skills and role development through similar schemes. If this is something you think we can help with, or if you’re interested in connecting your organisation directly with our training, then please get in touch.