The Design Enterprise Skillnet delivers high quality training programmes, at reduced cost, for designers and design businesses in Ireland. Our goal is to strengthen the skills and competitive advantage of a network of businesses from across the Irish design sector.

Our training responds to the needs of designers at all stages of their careers; from entry-level graduate to manager, to running a successful design business. Led by expert trainers and educators, our highly acclaimed courses cover everything from how to price design work, how to understand a brief, presentation skills, project management for creative projects and strategic leadership. We also cover topics such as Typography for the Web, UX Design and Marketing.

Change and Challenges in Design

There isn’t a designer or design practice that is not challenged to keep up-to-date with software, hardware and new production techniques. Increasingly, designers are working in multi-disciplinary teams and find themselves having to learn new skills from other design and non-design disciplines. Some designers are converting from one design sector to another as barriers between design disciplines disappear. The Design Enterprise Skillnet provides avenues for practitioners at various stages of their career to learn new practices or transition to new career areas.

Whole of Career Training – Graduate to Manager and Beyond

The quality of Irish graduates entering the employment market is increasingly strong. Graduates are not expected to know what it takes to run a studio, win business, or coach junior staff. And yet, as their careers progress, many designers are asked to slot into managerial roles without the necessary formal training. The Design Enterprise Skillnet provides management training for individuals in the design industry at all stages of their careers, as they move from design, to manager, to running and finally exiting a business.

Cross-Discipline Up-Skilling

‘Design’ is a broad church but there are fundamentals that apply across the sector. Soft and hard skills that are common to all: how to price a job, how to understand a brief, how to pitch, how to apply project management skills to creative projects. We provide training that addresses these crucial project and client-management skills.

What is a Skillnet?

A ‘Skillnet’ is a training network comprised of a mix of private sector businesses that have come together to develop and promote inter organisational learning. The aim is to arrange for formal and high quality training, that matches the needs of its members, at reduced costs and as a result improve and strengthen the competencies and skills of the network of companies involved. Skillnet Ireland began in 1999 and is financed from the National Training Fund (NTF) through the Department of Education and Skills (DES). 
Skillnet Ireland distributes this funding across all sectors and regions through the numerous training networks that exist across Ireland. For more information on Skillnet Ireland, please visit the website skillnetireland.ie.

Who can be supported by Skillnet Ireland?

Only private sector or commercial semi-state companies can join a Skillnet training network.

The following cannot become member companies of a training network:

  • Public sector organisations
  • Charity or not-for-profit organisations
  • Companies based outside the Republic of Ireland

Some important information to note:

  • Training networks only provide training to employees of private sector/commercial semi-state businesses based in the Republic of Ireland
  • Your business needs to join a Skillnet training network that is providing the training course – membership in most cases is free
  • Funding is to networks directly – no funding is given directly to individuals or to individual businesses

Who are Design Enterprise Skillnet?

The Design Enterprise Skillnet secured it’s funding in December 2016 and is in its second year of operation. By working in partnership with Skillnet Ireland and our promoters, the Institute of Designers in Ireland and ICAD, the Design Enterprise Skillnet aims to provide opportunities to our members to gain competitive advantage and remain competitive in an increasingly complex and dynamic work landscape.

Our mission is to develop and deliver both new and existing training programmes that are industry related, and focus on the needs of our Network Member companies. Apart from delivering training the Design Enterprise Skillnet will facilitate:

  • Networking events and activities including workshops and seminars.
  • Best-practice visits, case studies and other learning activities
  • Inter-firm mentoring, coaching and other knowledge transfer activities

For information on other Skillnet Ireland Networks offering free training programmes for those seeking employment, see the Skillnet Ireland website.

Design Enterprise Skillnet Steering Group

The Design Enterprise Skillnet Steering Group is composed of the following people:

  • Andrew Bradley (Chairperson), Bradley Brand
  • Brian Herron Principal, Each & Other
  • Brian Stephens CEO, Design Partners
  • Denise O’Connor MD, Optimise Design
  • Karen Hanratty Director, Pixel Design
  • Marc O’Riain Chief Design Officer,  Rua Architects
  • Shane O’Riordan Design Director, Rothco
  • Simon Richards Creative Director, Richards Dee
  • Zanya Dahl CEO, Artizan
  • Aileen Dempsey Network Manager, Design Enterprise Skillnet

How can I join?

Membership of the Design Enterprise Skillnet is free to IDI members and ICAD members.

Click here to join through the IDI.

Click here to to join through ICAD.

Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.

Become a member

Find out how you or your company can become a member of Design Enterprise Skillnet.

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How it works

Find out more about how The Design Enterprise Skillnet works.

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