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Criterion Supports The Designers Of The Future

11 April 2005

Criterion Supports The Designers Of The Future

Auckland, 11 April 2005: New Zealand’s future designers are getting a head start in the industry from a joint venture between UNITEC, and the country’s leading furniture manufacturer, Criterion Limited.

The partnership, which is in its second year, allows UNITEC design students to visit the Criterion Furniture factory and see first hand how a cutting edge furniture producer operates on a day-to-day basis. Criterion managers also offer students an insiders look at the marketing processes that are involved in distributing their high quality product to an international and domestic market.

Students get a rare chance to build creations of their own design after working closely with Criterion’s design staff and have virtually unlimited access to hardware and fibre-board materials.

Mount Albert based education provider, UNITEC boasts strong links to both industry and the professions, and provides its 50,000 students with theoretical and practical training.

Martin Boult, lecturer in Product Design, says Criterion’s support is invaluable to UNITEC, “Criterion has given students the opportunity to learn first-hand how to design and research a product and take it to the market,” he says. “From this close affiliation with a leading furniture designer, students gain real world learning experience. The project is the highlight of their year”.

Dale Pikett, Criterion Marketing Services Manager, says the venture is an excellent opportunity for the company to put something back into the education system, and develop the industry as a whole.

“If we as a business don’t help to train the professionals of the future, then how can we hope to get quality graduates? This is a win-win agreement. These are bright young minds. They are likely to have some fantastic ideas to help create some commercially viable products in the future,” Mr Pikett says.

More than 30 students are involved in the furniture design project and will present their ideas to a panel of judges, including executive managers from Criterion, in three stages.

Criterion will give the top three proposals a cash grant, and they will have the opportunity of presenting their finished projects to the Criterion marketing and design team.

Mr Boult says Criterion will benefit commercially if the students develop an innovative product range that can be produced for the market, while the students will learn invaluable skills in design, business and project management.

The next group of year two students will begin their projects in June and will hand in their final proposals by the end of November.


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