Daniel is typical of Ravensbourne’s entrepreneurial students. Always alert to opportunities that allow him to use knowledge accumulated for real world projects. He participated in Maggie Philbin’s Young Digital Task Force, presented Teen Tech Awards and also won a six-month paid internship working with the Package Design team at M&S. And he has one year still to go…
Q: What were the circumstances that lead to your joining the Young Digital Task Force?
D: I heard that TV presenter Maggie Philbin was looking for students from schools, colleges and universities to come together to form the Young Digital Task Force. The Young Digital Task Force has been set up by Maggie Philbin to form a politically neutral parliamentary report to be used to inform all political parties on the best way to address the digital skills shortage across all industries within the UK. And I jumped in!
I was surprised to hear that IT lessons had barely moved on since I finished school and technology was not being utilised within classrooms. After compiling our findings we went to Portcullis House and gathered in the New Shadow Cabinet room where we met several MPs and Ed Miliband himself. Representing my group within the Task Force, I addressed the room about issues raised in our group discussions. The information we had collected during this day was then collected to form part of the report.
Q: And then, out of the blue, you find yourself presenting Teen Tech Awards…
D: Yes. Shortly after the initial meeting of the Young Digital Task Force, Maggie Philbin contacted me asking if I would like to MC (not the hip-hop kind!) at the final of the TeenTech Awards 2014 held at the Royal Society in London. The TeenTech Awards are for UK students aged between 11-16 years of age working in teams of up to three to look at problems large and small to see if they can find a better way of doing things. There were many categories to choose from, such as energy, keeping safe in cyber space, wearable technology, transport, healthcare, education, environment, programming, entertainment, design & construction and future of food. Prior to the awards ceremony, the Duke Of York took the time to look at every submission and engage with the students through challenging questions about their products.
Q: What were your exact duties during the Awards’ night?
D: Along with other members of the Digital Task Force group, we had the pleasure of standing on stage and introducing to an audience of 150 people each of the technology celebrities. We were lucky enough to meet and introduce the likes of 'national treasure' Stephen Fry, Top Gear's James May, Dallas Campbell, Martha Lane Fox, Helen Czerski, Janice Long and Kate Russell. The celebrities came on stage to give a 'one-minute wonder' and announce the winner for that particular category. It was a fantastic day of modern technology, innovation, fun and excitement.
Q: An important success for you this year was the M&S paid internship. How do you manage this coupled with your studies?
D: A collaborative live project between Ravensbourne and Marks & Spencer was taking place in the form of innovative packaging design. Each student in my Product Design class was pitted against one another, tasked with the role of developing feasible design solutions, selecting two of four design briefs submitted by M&S. Sixteen students all competing against one another for the prize of a six-month paid internship working with the Package Design team at M&S head office based in Paddington, London.
We worked on our projects, researching, sketching, creating CAD files, testing, prototyping, 3D printing, breaking things, testing some more, and finally produced our final presentable prototypes and presentations. On the final day I, and seven course-mates, made the rather nervous journey to the M&S offices to go through an exciting day of presenting and answering tricky questions to the design team. After a long day, it was announced that the winner of the competition brief was me and that I would begin as a packaging design intern within one month.
“Knowledge I've obtained from Ravensbourne has helped me succeed in a working environment.”
Q: How would you describe your experience so far?
D: Two and a half months into my internship I can honestly say that never before have I enjoyed a job this much, using the skills and knowledge I've obtained from Ravensbourne and putting them into action in a working environment, problem-solving and being the facilitator of solutions is a rewarding and satisfying position to be in. I am working on several projects, dealing with product developers, technologists and buyers, as well as suppliers, producing innovative design solutions that not only meet the brief but exceed the expectations of those around me. I communicate my ideas with the team through sketches, CAD models, photo realistic renders and technical drawings.
“Third and final year is approaching, the year where it all counts, however I feel confident that it will be a successful year with yet more opportunities and excitement.”
Q: What was the best piece of advice your tutors gave you?
D: I remember my lecturer Nadine Bennett telling me, 'never underestimate your ability to draw', and from my experience, also the ability to create 3D models, renders and prototypes. The two years spent at Ravensbourne, in addition to my apprenticeship days as a design engineer, have equipped me with the skills and knowledge, as well as the confidence to go into a role and take charge.
Q: How would you describe your Ravensbourne experience?
D: In just two years at Ravensbourne I have been exposed to some incredible experiences; presenting my work to Jay Osgerby, working for a 3D print consultancy, giving guest lectures on 3D printing at the Ipex print convention held at London ExCel, and many more opportunities. Third and final year is approaching, the year where it all counts, however I feel confident that it will be a successful year with yet more opportunities and excitement.
Daniel is a 2nd-year student in BA (Hons) Product Design.