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My Jobs Growth Wales Journey

The Jobs Growth Wales program is a great opportunity for those who are potentially struggling to find a job or more importantly start a meaningful career. This program does exactly that, allowing people to apply for a six month position. From an employee perspective this is a great opportunity to gain vital experience, and from the employers perspective it is a great opportunity to put someone through their paces. At the end of my six month stint at ITERATE, I can safely say this has been the most valuable learning experience I have had to-date. Written by: Ross Johnson, Product Design Engineer.

Becoming a more confident designer (and more importantly, a confident person)

During this time, I have been able to learn new skills and develop existing ones; these skills have allowed me to communicate ideas and design intent with both colleagues and clients more effectively. One of the biggest learning experiences has been the exposure to clients that academia sometimes shelters you from. During the past six months, I have met with some of the most interesting people from multiple backgrounds and industries. These meetings have allowed me to become a more confident communicator and has helped boost my confidence in general.

Designing in the real world (the difference between academia and industry)

The main difference I have found between schooling and industry is that it requires a completely different design mind-set. You quickly have to switch from designing for marking criteria to designing for a client or a user need. The other difference is that you don’t spend 3 months constantly working towards one goal (handing in an assignment) but over the same time you may work on multiple projects that are all completely different to one another; some of which stretch your skill set and others which are completely new experiences.

Throughout the six month period, I have also had the opportunity to step out of the office and visit manufacturing facilities as well as various trade exhibitions. Having the chance to visit such places has proved invaluable as they helped me to gain a greater understanding of the different manufacturing processes I would be designing for – this exposure has influenced my design process and made me much more commercially aware.

Trade exhibitions are a great learning opportunity as they allow you to gain insight into available technologies and processes. They also allow you to see other products that may have features or functions that could be applied to a future project.

Conclusion

My time at ITERATE has been invaluable, it has given me the chance to develop my skillset and to become a better designer. Having the opportunity to work in the industry has validated that industrial design is the career for me, it has also shown me that although University ends, you never stop learning and that you can learn more from six months in industry than you can in four years in design school.

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