James Higson

James Higson

What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career? 

After studying my fourth year I went to New Designers in London. I put in loads of time to prepare myself for meeting employers. I created my own website and business cards to help advertise myself. This turned out to be time well spent and just a month after graduation I managed to get a job as a Graduate Design Engineer at Dyson. 

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

I currently work at Dyson as a Graduate Design Engineer. Dyson is a great place to work with lots of exciting projects going on. Day to day I design, build and test new ideas, this involves sketching, prototyping, CAD, 3D printing and a several types of testing. This variety of work is great, it keeps me on my toes and constantly learning. 

What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career?

Leeds is a fantastic university. The product design course has prepared me really well for working at Dyson. I use the skills I developed and learnt at Leeds daily. I think Leeds University strikes the perfect work/life balance. A large part of going to university is learning to be independent. The university is not just great academically it also has a successful student union. There is always something happening in the union and I strongly recommend trying out plenty of societies. 

Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I applied to Leeds because it’s a well-respected university in a thriving city. After applying to study Mechanical Engineering I was offered a course change to Product Design. Accepting Product Design was one of the best decisions I ever made. The course suited me perfectly, I was able to explore my ideas, work with industry in my fourth year developing products to solve real problems and learn about things I’d never studied before like economics and lean manufacturing. 

What was the best aspect of the course/the University and why? Any highlights?

I think aside from the course, the students at Leeds make it the great University it is. The city is alive with students day and night. There are simply too many good memories from Leeds, so here is a shortlist of a few highlights; spontaneously joining the skydiving society halfway through my third year, certainly the craziest decision I made at university. Working on a real project with an external company in my fourth year gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal about business and design. Our team are still attempting to revolutionise hygiene in hospitals now. Finally, the amazing friends I made and the things I did being part of the Leeds University Officer Training Corps (LUOTC), certainly memories I’ll never forget.   

What other activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

I was in the LUOTC for three and a half years, only leaving at Christmas in my fourth year to focus on my studies. The OTC gave me some of my best friends and memories of Leeds. I would highly recommend giving it a go. You might even get paid to go skiing! I was also part of the Skydiving society during my third year. They are an amazing group of daredevils who love living life on the edge. 

What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds/thinking about the same career?

Studying product design at Leeds enabled me to get my job at Dyson. It’s certainly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I think if you’re passionate and enthusiastic about creating things, you’ll love the course and be successful. Leeds is a great city and I loved it.