After graduating from BU with a BSc (Hons) Design Engineering in 2017, Helen Bermingham has gone on to work for Dyson, a leading UK technology company designing household appliances. “Half our team is from Bournemouth Uni!” she says.
While studying at Bournemouth, Helen was awarded the James Dyson scholarship for her self-contained, wave powered navigational aid, branded as Bright Buoy, which works alongside current solar power competitors. Helen evidently has a strong passion for engineering which begun to blossom when she moved to a sixth form with excellent engineering facilities. Her time at BU allowed Helen to further develop her design engineering skills, helped by the contribution of dedicated academic staff.
“For me, Bournemouth was great – I loved it. The lecturers were really supportive mentors but they were also very thorough in critiquing your work, pushing you to get better and better” Helen enthuses.
As a Dyson scholarship student, Helen received funding to help finance her final year project and got involved in leading schoolchildren in design and engineering challenges, with the aim of inspiring the next generation, something she feels helped develop her professional skills and confidence.
In the final year of her studies, Helen presented Bright Buoy at BU’s Festival of Design & Engineering and was then selected to represent BU by again exhibiting her project at the New Designers event in London. At both shows, Helen was invited to attend a recruitment event at Dyson’s Assessment Centre.
Helen was impressed by the creative challenges and atmosphere of the event. “They were really interested in understanding the thought process behind your ideas, not just looking at the most artistic sketches” she explains. She was offered a new graduate role in the Lighting and Professional category at Dyson’s Malmesbury Campus and, a year later, was promoted to become a Design Engineer for the company.
Helen was in Paris for the launch of the Dyson Lightcycle, a Task light which is designed to provide the users the ultimate light conditions to the task they are performing considering their body clock needs and help reduce eyestrain. After being involved with the validation testing of the new product, she describes her role of helping communicate the new product to the world’s press and social media influencers at the Paris Launch event as “the glitzy, glamourous side” of her work.
As Dyson are known for innovation, it’s not surprising Helen cannot talk much about the specifics of her day-to-day contribution to products currently in development, but does share that at Dyson there is design, build and test process. She will be sketching in her book, brainstorming ideas with multiple engineers and building 3D models in CAD for rapid prototyping. There is also a practical element to her day job, in workshops building rigs and testing them; this could be mechanical testing to pick the best design or user trials to help build understanding of what consumers want. Helen won’t be drawn on what innovative products the company has under wraps at present.
Dyson’s website states that their engineers are inventors. “We start with a problem. Then we figure out how to make it better”, they explain, and it is this company vision that Helen clearly thrives on. When asked about her aspirations for her future career, Helen simply says: “My role is creating products that bring real benefits to people’s lives and I want to keep doing that.”