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Meet the Sponsor: Debbie Buchan, AVACadCam Group Ltd

2 September 2018 by Editor in Fashion, Features, Home, Interiors & Auto, Sponsors, Judges & Champions

TexSelect has worked with the AVACadCam Group for three years now.  AVA supports financially, for which the not-for-profit organisation is most grateful, and by generously running one of their 5-day software courses each summer for a hand picked group of TexSelect designers at AVA’s HQ in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

The 2018 designers selected were Cassie McDonald, Eve Campbell, Beth Porter, Sam Wilde, Florence Yexley, and also Hayley Chapman (who will do the course after Première Vision Designs).

Of the experience, Cassie MacDonald enthuses: “The AVA software has changed the way I see designing – in particular designing a repeating pattern. Having such brilliant help from the AVA technicians meant I really gained such a good understanding of what is possible – plus, saying that you can use AVA is such a good thing to have on your CV!”

“The training went beyond designing print – we also went more in depth about industry processes – for example the different types of printing and colour, printing and screen calibration. And the team at AVA were very welcoming – they have so many industry contacts and have already helped by connecting us with several possible job opportunities!”

“All this plus we receive 6-months access to the programme to use and abuse – just invaluable, particularly as it will be so helpful in creating new designs for our TexSelect show at Première Vision Designs this September.”

Eve Campbell adds: “The programme completely transforms and simplifies the process of creating repeats and colour separations, allowing you to concentrate on creativity while it solves the technical complex challenges of creating repeats and separating colours. Designing with AVA will allow me to increase the output of designs without compromising on quality or creativity – given the simplicity of use I question how I managed without it! 

Championing the relationship between AVACadCam and TexSelect is Debbie Jane Buchan, AVA’s Customer Service Director. We spoke to Debbie in some depth:

Are the training courses usually undertaken by working design professionals, and why? AVA has many different types of training products from one-to-one training, refresher training, e-training, through to group training sessions. Within our portfolio of training products is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of the AVA Advance product range, the CAD Specialist Training, or CST, course. The AVA CST courses can be 1 week, 4 weeks or 9 weeks depending on how in-depth you want to go. They are usually attended by working design professionals or design graduates from across various different industries and design disciplines from fine art, graphics, textiles and surface pattern.

These courses cover all the AVA main software modules, as well as an introduction to some of the specialist industries that use it. The aim of this course is not only to help educate the designers in the many design processes, industries and jobs out there, but to also provide the designers with useful tips and tricks to help aid creativity and speed up work flows, demonstrating AVA’s strengths over other software systems. Educating designers to use the right tools for the right job is key – after all you wouldn’t use a hammer to cut a cake!  Over the many years they have been running AVA courses are widely regarded as a well-respected industry qualification and have resulted in 80% of graduates moving into full time employment within the industry – a figure that we are extremely proud of.  

What is such a course worth? The cost of the one-week AVA CST level 1 course is £1,500.  Group training is excellent value for money, not just because its cheaper, but because it’s structured to give designers help with understanding the industry and processes, as well as full access to our teams extensive knowledge of design tips and tricks. But the cherry on the cake is that at the end of the course we provide assistance and contacts to help find the designers jobs. It is not guaranteed, but as we are first port of call in industry for AVA-trained designers and cad operators we have had much success in this area. This I believe is what makes our courses very special and so popular and successful.

Why does AVA think it so important to support UK-trained textile designers? This is a subject very close to my heart and much talked about recently. Here at AVA we are passionate about good design. About supporting the designers and industries we service and ultimately about the future. I believe the quality of UK-trained designers now graduating demonstrates what an exceptional educational system we have here in the UK, supporting and nurturing the students and helping them develop their ideas and creativity. The UK is traditionally a world leader in arts and culture and we should be supporting and encouraging this. The creative industries are worth £92billion to the UK economy. The UK creative industries are well established and admired on a global stage and you only need to look at the quality of students graduating to see why, but we need to continue to nurture this.

And finally, what is it about TexSelect designers that makes them so special? The special thing about TexSelect designers is that they are all so unique and diverse. They have all gone through rigorous interview processes and been hand picked for their forward thinking, creativity and skills by industry professionals and creatives. The TexSelect team are professionals who really know what they are looking for and what industry want, so we always know that the TexSelect shortlist will be of very high quality and of much interest to us and our customers.

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TexSelect is a registered charity, entirely funded by the generous sponsorship of industry, by British charitable foundations, and by individuals connected to the industry. All believe wholeheartedly in supporting the next generation of textile design talent and in encouraging innovation and excellence.

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