KLC School of Design’s Founder and Principal, Jenny Gibbs, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2020, for services to higher education and the interior design industry.
This official accolade recognises Jenny’s pioneering work in the design industry over the last 40 years and her major contribution to the significant rise in standards of the profession over that time, as well as her steadfast commitment to encouraging new design talent.
Jenny’s passion for education has always stemmed from a desire to make positive changes in people’s lives and to demonstrate the real value of design. KLC School of Design courses are based around real-life projects and Jenny has encouraged these projects to be community-based wherever possible.
As the Principal of KLC School of Design, Jenny has championed innovative modes of delivery to widen access and participation in interior design education. KLC is at the forefront of technological advances in course delivery with a BA (Hons) degree in interior design now being offered entirely online. This more affordable and flexible learning method has opened up the possibility of studying to many students who would not traditionally consider going on to higher education. In the academic year 2017/2018, 49% of KLC Students were studying by flexible online study.
Always determined to enrich the student experience, Jenny’s latest initiative is KLC Connect, which helps students to bridge the gap between their course and employment. KLC Connect facilitates students to foster strong links in the design community with the close support of industry and KLC alumni representatives.
In addition, Jenny has devoted considerable time and energy to the British Institute of Interior Design. She was BIID President at a pivotal part of the organisation’s history when it assumed Institute status. Jenny was also instrumental in driving forward a more formalised Professional Pathway to ensure high standards of practice, which has substantially built up the reputation of the industry.
Through publishing, Jenny has reached a wide audience having authored four successful books and contributed to a wealth of leading industry magazines, national press articles and podcasts.
Jenny also established the Design Changes Lives Foundation, which works with local Councils and schools to give talks and run competitions to inspire young talent about the potential of design as a career. It also provides some funding, as well as expertise, to help make effective changes and improvements to healing and care environments such as schools, hospitals, hospices, youth clubs and refugee centres.
Jenny is both a driving force and a treasured part of the UK’s design industry and it is lovely that she has been honoured with an OBE. Needless to say, Jenny is thrilled, albeit in her usual modest way!