The IPC Schools' Design Programme was initiated in 2005 to complement Time Warner's (IPC Media's parent company) community focus on youth and arts education, giving students an insight into magazine design, and why they might want to consider it as a career option.

IPC Media is a leading UK consumer magazine publisher with a diverse print and digital portfolio. Its more than 80 brands include TVTimes, Woman, Marie Claire, Soaplife, Country Life, NME, Wallpaper* and

A New Direction is an independent charity working with London's schools and young people to develop creative approaches to teaching and learning, build aspirations and skills, and connect young people to their city and the opportunities around them.

A New Direction brokered the relationships between IPC Media and the schools, and provided the framework, quality assurance and evaluation for the programme. Through refining the model, A New Direction continued to develop and support the delivery of the programme.

The partners worked in collaboration with the London College of Communication (University of the Arts, London), Croydon Education Business Partnership and Croydon College on the delivery of the programme.

Objectives of the programme

  • Strengthening links with local schools
  • Encouraging secondary school students to consider a career in magazine design
  • Developing graphic design skills that are directly related to employability
  • Encouraging employee engagement through the participation of IPC designers
  • Creating opportunities for IPC to meet potential employees of the future

Who was it aimed at?

Students were recruited on the basis that they were taking a relevant GCSE course such as art or graphics, and had a genuine and proven interest in design.

The 2008/09 programme was aimed at Year 10 students from three Southwark (the borough in which IPC's headquarters is based) secondary schools: St Michael & All Angels Academy, St Saviour's and St Olave's School and Sacred Heart R.C. Secondary School.

The programme also expanded to Haling Manor School in Croydon, where IPC bases 15 of its titles and 170 employees. As a result of their work, a number of the students entered for the ABC Level 3 Desk Top Publishing qualification.

Programme Structure

Stage 1 Students attended 10 after school training sessions in design software delivered at the London College of Communication, provided expert teaching in the inspiring environment of a higher education establishment.

Stage 2 Students undertook a 'work simulation' week at the LCC, during which they produce work that is published in the Schools' Design Programme magazine, '4 Real'.

Stage 3 Students completed a work experience placement at IPC, working alongside art editors on IPC magazines. In 2009, nearly half of participating students produced work of such high quality that it was published in the magazine on which they worked.

Benefits to IPC

The programme had many direct benefits to the business. It represented a training and development opportunity for art editors at IPC in terms of teaching, coaching and mentoring skills. Employees appreciated the opportunity to be able to contribute positively to the local community.

The programme also provided the chance to review students for possible longer work experience placements, as well as early access to potential future employees, and enables the company to get much closer to a key audience than they could achieve in any other way.