Centre of Excellence Award

The BDS offers a ‘Centre of Excellence’ recognition to colleges and retail in-house training schemes offering courses in the field of Visual Merchandising, Display, Exhibition Design,  Retail Fashion, 3-D Design, Interior Design and other related professions. We are now pleased to offer this opportunity for your course to be awarded BDS recognition status, improving recruitment and giving your students additional professional credibility when entering the work force.


What are the benefits?

  • The BDS Centre of Excellence recognition is a confirmation of the quality of your course content, instruction and facilities.
  • The establishment will be listed on the BDS website as a recommended course.
  • The establishment and student will have the use of a BDS logo to display on stationery and publicity material.
  • OFSTED looks for ‘the effectiveness of partnership in promoting learning and well being’. This endorsement of your course proves that you are looking to improve the outcome for your students and investing in their future.
  • A BDS approved qualification gives a student professional credibility. Design is a highly competitive market and this will be an essential addition to any portfolio. Having BDS recognition is similar to an industry kitemark, BDS qualifications are recognised as a seal of approval.
  • Following recognition of a course, each student may apply for BDS membership ensuring that your students are starting on a pathway to professional accreditation.
  • As an awarding body for the vm, display, p.o.s. and exhibition design fields of practice, we can enhance professional standing by the granting of a designatory affix. Students who have completed and passed a BDS recognised course will be entitled to use the affix Cert.BDS or  ProDip.BDS

How to apply

After completion of the application form for more complex courses the BDS would make an inspection visit to confirm the standard of delivery and facilities of your course, for simpler courses you are invited to submit a portfolio online. Information is required about your tutors, workshops, design and display equipment, student’s work, studios, and student placement records. Occasional additional inspections may be carried out by the BDS, at the recognised establishment’s expense, but for simpler courses it would be taken on trust and good faith that agreed standards are maintained to ensure our continued endorsement.

Centre of Excellence Application Form

What are the procedures?

Once the establishment has been approved we will provide a ‘BDS Centre of Excellence’ certificate. The BDS will also supply a letter template so that a confirmation letter can be issued to each student that passes their course. This will be a great addition to the student’s portfolio and will confirm they have completed a course approved by the BDS to meet work placement and professional standards. If each student is registered as a BDS member and the course contains a large amount of vm specific content, upon graduation the student will be awarded the affix Cert.BDS or ProDip.BDS depending on the level of education. The graduate will also be able to use the BDS logo on their stationery and publicity material.


How much does it cost to be accredited?

Application is FREE but the establishment will be liable for any expenses incurred in the application process and the continued oversight of the course. Individual student registration as a BDS member costs £20 per annum.

The college is responsible for collecting the student fees and registration details and sending them to the BDS. Different levels of approval are available to suit the level of your course, please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss the detail of this opportunity with you.

BDS Centre of Excellence students Apply or renew here