The industry’s hopes for a formal qualification pathway through education have been dealt a major blow as Buckinghamshire New University has confirmed it has dropped the Foundation Degree in Kitchen Design from its course offering for the 2022/2023 academic year.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the University said: “Following a review of our course portfolio, we are not offering the Foundation Degree in Kitchen Design for the 2022/23 academic year. The studies of those who have previously enrolled on this programme are unaffected, and we remain committed to providing these students with the best learning and teaching experience for the duration of their degrees.”
At the time of publication, kbbreview was unable to get confirmation on the exact number of students who remain on the course.
The three-year course – the first of its kind in the UK – was launched in 2014 by the now defunct KBB National Training Group (NTG) with support from leading industry figures including designer Johnny Grey and Craig Matson, Roundhouse MD and chairman of The Kitchen Education Trust (TKET). Over the past eight years the degree had also garnered support from some of the industry’s leading brands including Quooker, AEG, Blanco, Blum, BSH, CDUK, Cosentino, Egger, Franke, Häfele, Miele, Rotpunkt and Symphony. The founders even received the Special Achievement Award at the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards 2015 for their efforts in trying to raise industry standards.
Although unconfirmed, it is thought that the failure of the course, which was hailed as an industry milestone, was down to a number of factors including the pandemic, a lack of interest and support from retailers and designers, and a change of direction for Craig Matson and TKET – that have a renewed focus on apprenticeships – and Johnny Grey, who were deemed as some of the driving forces behind industry support for the course.
The news of the course’s demise comes less than a year after it was confirmed that students of the Foundation Degree (FdA) in Kitchen Design could take on an extra year to obtain a full BA degree. The plan had been for the BA top-up to start with the 2022/23 academic year.