Discovering the world of Design with AOD’s Design Foundation programme
Aisha Jiffry, final year student of AOD’s Interior Design programme and budding Interior Designer shares her journey through design education
The start of a successful career is marked with a decisive step towards realising your dreams and a desire to follow your passion. Design is a modern day career path which presents an incredible future for those that possess an exciting mix of skills, knowledge and an attitude to make a difference in the world with design. Design is already making a difference in business both locally and internationally as industries such as apparel, fashion e-commerce, hospitality, tourism, real estate, advertising, and entertainment look to designers to enhance and even reinvent their businesses. Each aspiring designer possesses a unique blend of skills and this teamed with the right education will create a design professional that will be able to provide custom, design based solutions that add value and improve the face and the process of a business. To identify and nurture these skills at a young age AOD presents its Design Foundation programme for students after O/L’s to get a head start on their path towards a successful design career.
Aisha Jiffry, a past pupil of Bishop’s College, after her O/L’s started on a more conventional path of education for her A/l’s but struggled to keep her interest alive. Sharing the reason behind her decision to join AOD’s Design Foundation programme, she states, “I visited AOD at an Education exhibition and was completely intrigued by what I was seeing that I immediately decided I wanted a change and switched to join the foundation program. I haven’t regretted making that decision for a second since I thoroughly enjoyed the programme. Once we started hands-on work, I was learning new skills every day. It made me realize that design is where I belonged”.
Creative education is quite limited in most schools, leaving students without much exposure to contemporary creative arts and its relevance in leading industries and the business world. This in turn means that students who are inclined to explore higher education in design do not have the fundamental studies required to harness and apply their creativity in commercially applicable ways—which is what design essentially stands for. AOD’s Design Foundation Programme bridges this initial knowledge gap and prepares students for higher education in design through preliminary studies in all creative essentials from ideation, brainstorming and the processes of communicating your ideas through different media from drawing, basic photography, painting, illustration, sculpture, collage etc. Similarly, the programme also familiarises students with digital channels of creative expression which are an essential aspect of contemporary design.
The Design Foundation programme is delivered in a way which introduces students to several design disciplines leading to in-demand careers—such as fashion design, fashion marketing, interior design, visual communication design and animation design—with the help of an expert international faculty. After completing the programme, the students have a guaranteed place in a 100% internal Northumbria UK design degree of their choice, which can be completed at AOD. Currently enrolling for its 2018 intake, this unique programme will be closing its last remaining positions within the next few weeks.
This early exposure to design education proves to be an advantage for students when progressing into the degree programmes. Aisha opted to study Interior Design, gaining the knowledge and skills needed to create aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces. She acknowledges the importance of identifying your true passion early and getting a head start when it comes to design; “Since I had already been in the foundation programme I found that I had trained my mind to a certain extent to understand design better. I understood the design process, starting from research to conceptualization to final execution. The basis of skill was laid down during Foundation for me and it has developed at each stage of the degree programme. Developing your own ingrained skills and also being able to adapt and move forward with advances in technology and the design industry is a major part of being a fully fledged designer and I believe starting with Foundation molded me in a way I could maintain an open mind and absorb changes faster”.
The AOD Design Foundation programme also offers a secure pathway into bachelor’s degree level studies in design with guaranteed placement in a Northumbria UK design degree at AOD. These degrees which are available in Fashion Design, Visual Communication Design, Interior Design, Fashion Marketing or Animation Design at AOD, annually accept the students filtered through the Design Foundation Programme as qualified to join the undergraduate studies and from there, successful careers or even postgraduate studies at Masters level and beyond. Due to the the comprehensiveness of the programme and because it allows early access to younger students, AOD graduates who started with this programme have gone on to do great things at a very young age.
Sharing her experience in studying at AOD and the incredible exposure she gains as a student as well as her dreams for the future, Aisha states, “I currently freelance whilst focusing on my Final Year of the Interior Design Degree. I’ve completed interior design projects for a couple of jewellery stores and residential apartments for clients. I interned at Cindesign through the internship program offered by AOD, last fall which gave me firsthand experience into working in the industry. Being appointed as the AOD Student Council President 2016/17 gave me wider opportunities to build my personality and leadership qualities and mainly work as a team outside of the course work further building skills that would help me survive in the industry. I envision myself to be a great asset to any design firm that hires me after graduation as I am a headstrong, adaptable and ambitious person. I dream big so maybe in the near future I hope to operate my own sustainable art and design studio”.