How to get your kids into engineering with Dyson
24 Aug 2016
Working in engineering can open up a world of opportunity. Engineers get involved in everything from designing robots and machinery, to constructing skyscrapers and space stations. Far from being an ordinary 9-to-5, working in engineering can make for a thrilling career.
That’s why, just this weekend, we hosted a very special event at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester encouraging kids to consider a career in engineering. The action-packed day was held in association with Dyson – one of Britain’s most innovative manufacturing companies.
Lee, a senior engineer at Dyson, kick-started the event with an informative product demonstration.
He chatted to the audience of bloggers and children about some of Dyson’s most celebrated products including the V8 cordless vacuum cleaner, a Dyson upright vacuum cleaner and the Dyson fan.
The workshop continued with some fun challenges for the kids to try out, and finished with an exciting tour of the museum.
We took the opportunity to asked Lee a few questions about his career. We also quizzed him on his top tips for getting kids into engineering.
Q: How did you get into engineering?
A: It all started in my early teens when I worked with my dad to fix my mountain bike. My bike had a puncture and I really loved the hands on approach of fixing it with tools. So, I did an engineering diploma (equivalent to GCSE), which I really loved.
After that, I decided to do an electrical mechanical engineering apprenticeship at a car production facility. I was working on production lines, fixing things that went wrong. There came a point where I thought, rather than fixing products, it’d be great to actually design them.
So, I decided to go to university to study product design. I wanted to pursue the creative side of engineering but also learn the theory behind it. Doing that helped me get into design engineering at Dyson.
Q: What’s the most exciting part of working in engineering, and working at Dyson?
A: For me, it’s seeing your products in shops and people’s homes. So, for example, going into places like Currys and seeing your company’s products there, or products you’ve helped design. Knowing they’re going into people’s homes and they’re using it and benefiting from the technology, is really exciting.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about working in engineering that you’d like to challenge?
A: Some people think engineering is all about getting your hands dirty and fixing things. On the other hand, some people think it’s purely about calculations and using your mind to solve problems. The reality is, there are so many different routes you can go down. I think it’s just about understanding which area appeals to you most.
Q: Do you have any tips for getting children interested in engineering?
A: Any products your kids use - whether they’re riding their bike or eating dinner - involve engineering in some way. So why not get them thinking about how that item is made, and how it functions? That’s what got me really interested in engineering from a young age.
Q: Can you tell us about the process of designing and engineering the products we have here today?
A: We’re always listening to people who’ve used our products or competitor products to make sure our new technology is satisfying them and incorporating their feedback. But it’s not always a simple journey.
There are so many iterations that we have to go through in the design process. You’ll design something, test it and it may fail. You’ll then learn from it, make some modifications and repeat that process again and again until you get the optimum solution.
With the first cyclonic vacuum cleaner that James Dyson built, there were 5,127 prototypes before he reached the final solution, and that’s really good. It’s one of those things we’re always encouraged to do: using prototyping and iterative design to learn from your mistakes and really get the best out of the products.
Looking to get your child into engineering? Why not get them to try one of the fun engineering challenges below.
And if you want to see more snaps from the Dyson event, check out the #Dysonchallenge hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
Would you love to own an iconic Dyson vacuum cleaner? Then check out the exciting range of Dyson products available at Currys.