October 3, 2023 ITERATE

Meet One of Our Product Design Engineers – Robert Riley

Sitting at my desk with a coffee in hand, a panoramic view of the Severn Bridge and Estuary out of the window, I await a chat with my colleague Rob Riley about why he chose to work for ITERATE, as a Product Design Engineer.

Rob has been working for ITERATE Design and Innovation for six months, yet with his vast knowledge and positive contribution to the team it feels as though he has always been here! Prior to working at ITERATE however, I was fascinated to learn that Rob has been on quite the journey before settling in the South West of England.

Born and raised in Lincolnshire, Rob is the son of a Bike Mechanic. With a workshop attached to the house, much of his childhood involved watching his Dad fixing, taking apart and generally tinkering with lose parts. This sparked a natural curiosity in Rob and instead of playing with toys, he admitted to being more interested in modifying them or making his own! Design and Technology in secondary school, along with Art quickly became his favourite subjects and it was an inspiring teacher who provided him with an insight into what Design looked like at a higher level.

Rob graduated from Northumbria University, Newcastle, with a Transportation Design degree and full portfolio displaying his expertise. He went straight into a role as an Industrial Design Engineer, in a leading wheelchair accessible vehicle provider. Creating products that serve a purpose and assist others has always been important to Rob and he wanted his portfolio to portray this. Therefore, with this in mind, he enrolled on a Masters course in Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University. This course confirmed the route of ‘Product Design Consultancy’ Rob knew he wanted to go down. Once graduated, he was employed as an Industrial Designer at a company specialising in power tools. This role was fulfilling for a few years, yet Rob felt that along with his passion for design, he harboured a desire to live abroad and explore other opportunities. This led Rob to enrol himself on an online Teacher Training course, so that he could teach English in South Korea.

I have quickly learnt that Rob is a very self-motivated individual and it was no surprise to hear that he fully immersed himself into life in Seoul, South Korea. He took language classes, had trained in a different profession and was now teaching English to young children, along with exploring the country and culture in his spare time. It was in this time that Rob met his now wife, and after a couple of years of life together in the country in which they met, the pair travelled back to the UK choosing the vibrant city of Bristol to settle in.


Being in Korea provided Rob with endless, unforgettable experiences and transferable skills, however he knew that his heart lay within the Design industry. Rob began carrying out research into UK based design consultancies, seeking out ones that he believed generated products that provided a purpose and helped others in some way. ITERATE caught Rob’s attention, firstly because he was enthused by it being a young company that is growing and evolving, along with noticing that many of the products they had designed were medical based, fitting with his own selfless desire to help others.

Rob was offered a permanent position with the company and immediately accepted. The convenient location of ITERATE being based in Chepstow was appealing to him along with the flexible working policy offering him a sound travel balance. Most significantly, being part of a highly skilled team of designers, meant his own professional development could continue to grow and develop.

Rob’s natural enthusiasm when talking about his role with me was very apparent. His vast array of design skills that stretch from sketching, rendering, basic electronics, research to prototyping, are all being fully utilised in his current position. His design colleagues are supportive and on hand if required, for they each have a varied set of skills and experiences that they bring to ITERATE. One piece of advice from Rob for anyone contemplating entering the design industry or applying to work for ITERATE; do it! Possess an open attitude and willingness to try different approaches to the task at hand, for you will have many opportunities to grow your skill set, particularly here at ITERATE, describing it as a “fun, motivating, professional environment.”

I could continue to talk to Rob about his Design career and past experiences all morning, however I am also aware he has a variety of exciting projects he is eager to get back to, and with that said, so do I!


by Jenni Manning

Business Development Executive

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