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Degree of creativity with dash of anorak

FE colleges and universities have collaborated to create a radical new degree with a practical slant. Simon Midgley reports

A NEW-STYLE degree has been created to meet the demands of the burgeoning new media industry in north-west England.

A consortium of further education colleges led by City College Manchester will be offering students a foundation degree in new media design this autumn.

Validated by Manchester Metropolitan University, it will be offered by City College, Hopwood Hall College and Tameside College.

New technologies are converging and the degree reflects this, bringing together the study of multi-media such as video, website production and digital animation with the study of graphic design.

With the help of 20 small new media businesses and employer organisations in the region, the colleges are writing a curriculum to take account of the industry's real needs.

A wide range of topics are covered. Traditional graphic design studios offer print-based work with digital technology. The needs of the broadcast media or those of the fast-growing electronic games industry will also be met.

Local firms do not just want technical anoraks, says Clinton Cahill, the degree's project manager. "They are looking for creative ability and design knowledge as well as technical skills. There is no one single progression route for people wanting to enter the new media industry."

So when the course starts this autumn, with some 60 full-time and 20 part-time students, it should mix people with traditional design and new technological backgrounds.

"The chemistry of this mix should be interesting," says Mr Cahill.

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