What were your favourite subjects when you were at school?
Maths, Physics and Product Design!
When you left school, did you have a career path in mind?
I would say taking my time selecting a university course really helped me have clarity on my career path so, all going well, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do. However, it wasn’t until I was immersed in my course and had experience with various projects that I knew I would like to pursue the medical industry.
Did you find it tough getting your first role after graduating or was the pathway quite straightforward?
I unfortunately graduated during the first year of the pandemic, which meant there was a lot of uncertainty with the market. I found it quite tough initially as there weren’t many opportunities I was interested in, which caused a bit of anxiety. However, I worked in hospitality to keep me ticking over while applying, and after a few months I found a great opportunity in Edinburgh with an exciting start-up. Looking back, I’m glad I was patient and applied for jobs that were applicable, rather than rushing and potentially ending up in a less relevant role purely to succumb to the pressure of getting a job straight out of university. There’s no rush!
What helped to guide you to your role today?
In school I always enjoyed, and knew my strengths lay with, Maths and Physics. I was intrigued with how things worked and therefore knew engineering would favour these skills. However, I also had a very keen interest in the creative aspect of Product Design and the relationship between people and products, which is what made my university course so ideal, as I was able to combine these passions. Over the five years of the PDE course, the huge variety projects and opportunities helped guide me towards my career today.
What inspired you to pursue a career in product design in the medical sector?
I was always drawn to medical based projects at university and completed a few throughout my five years. On the back of my fourth-year project, I was fortunate enough to be selected for an internship in New Zealand, where I spent 7 weeks working for a Telecare company designing assistive devices. I believe this solidified my desire to work in the medical industry as I got to see first-hand the positive impact you can make on people’s lives through great innovation. It was no shock then that my final year project, where you can choose whatever topic you please, was medical related. I was able to speak to some incredible medical professionals and users in the hospital throughout the project, which was an invaluable experience and one I won’t forget. I also followed Shore’s work during university, even applying to intern some summers, and was always interested in their amazing projects. So, I think a combination of these various experiences and research within the medical industry are what inspired me to pursue this area.
Can you tell us about a project that you have worked on that is live in the sector?
In my previous job I worked on a product called BackHug, which is a robotic physiotherapy bed that is designed to mobilise the joints around the spine to help people with chronic back pain and conditions like Multiple Sclerosis. This is currently the only project I have worked on that is live in the sector, which is amazing as I’ve been able to see how user’s day-to-day pain has been reduced drastically, and their lives improved with it.
An exciting project that will be live in the future that I have been working on since joining Shore is a novel, reusable drug delivery system designed for self-administration. We are designing this for a large pharmaceutical company, which has been an amazing experience to work so closely with the clients. I’m very excited to see how the project comes out as I think it’s an incredible concept for the future of drug delivery systems.
What is your role at Shore and what does it involve day-to-day?
I am a Design Consultant / Mechanical Design Engineer. The great thing about working at a consultancy like Shore is that my day-to-day tasks can vary greatly depending on the phase of the project we are in. I was very fortunate to join my project from the early stages, so I have had a diverse range of tasks since joining in December. For example, in initial concept generation, I spent a lot of time on CAD, 3D printing prototypes, and then testing these before making iterations. Then further along the process I have been involved in human factor studies, testing out a shortlist of concepts to be taken forward for development.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety of tasks I do is one of my favourite things about my job as it allows to me continue developing my skills over a wide range of areas. However, my favourite thing is knowing I’m contributing to designing and creating products that are helping people and improving their lives in some way.
What has been the most challenging part of your career so far?
Probably moving jobs from my previous one to Shore, as there was a lot of anxiety when handing in my notice, worrying about letting people down or moving on too early. However, if you’re sure of something you want then you have to put yourself first and take your chances while you can.
Do you have any advice for pupils at ESMS who might wish to follow a similar career path?
It’s really beneficial to take your time looking into your university course and what it can offer you. The projects and extracurricular clubs are extremely valuable in helping you decide what you enjoy and are passionate about. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions or to question something! I think if you’re curious about things, creative or even just enthusiastic, then engineering is a career that I highly recommend. Having a job that provides you with such a diverse range of skills and a variety of projects to work on and learn from is extremely rare, in my opinion, so go for it! You never know, your blue-sky ideas could change people’s lives.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still designing and innovating medical devices with hopefully some projects that are live in the sector and doing well! Shore have previously won The Red Dot Design Award, an international competition, for their designs so I would love to have been on a project that is nominated or successful in this in five years.
What’s your fondest memory from your schooldays?
I think it has to be the Christmas Panto. It was always such a fun time of year, everyone was in the best of spirits, and the teachers always put on a good show.