MEng Product Design Engineering, 2013
Director, VH Innovation Ltd
Why did you choose to study with us?
It was actually my High School Art teacher that suggested I look into the course initially. She knew what I was interested in and thought Product Design Engineering would be the perfect mix of maths, physics, art and design that I’d be looking for.
I went to a few different open days at a few universities and explored a few courses, but what attracted me to Strathclyde and this department was its friendliness and the variety of classes I could study.
Where do you work now and what does your role involve?
At the moment I work for myself. I am the founder and director of VH Innovation Ltd, which is the parent company of the Recoil Kneepad. Recoil Kneepads actually started in the department as my fifth year design project and, after winning some funding in two business start-up competitions (Young Innovators Challenge, 2013 and Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards, 2013), I decided to turn my final year project into a commercialised product.
My role involves all aspects of the business – product development, manufacture and operations, sales, accounts, legal obligations, customer service. It’s challenging and it’s a massive learning curve, but its great fun and means I never get bored!
How did studying with us help you to begin or further your career?
The skills and general knowledge I learned in the first two foundation years of the course equipped me well for understanding the basics of a range of engineering applications and also in business operations.
The support and encouragement I got to take my fifth year project forward after university was invaluable. It completely changed my life, I actually had a graduate scheme lined up for after I graduated, but with moral encouragement and expert design and business support from the department, I entered a number of business start-up competitions and secured the funding I needed to set up my own business.
What's been the highlight of your career to date?
Pitching at The Entrepreneurial Spark Entrepreneuring Awards Dinner in January 2014. I delivered my one-minute live pitch as part of a competition to an audience of around 700 people. This included a number of high profile politicians and some of Scotland’s top business people, such as Ann Gloag, Lord Willie Haughey and Sir Tom Hunter. To top it off, I was announced as the winner of the pitching competition!
What advice would you give to current students?
Make the most of your time in the department! Utilise the facilities available, get involved in as many societies and clubs as you can, take advantage of all the opportunities such as field trips, work placements and study abroad.
I think the most important thing you can get from university is the experiences and to grow your networks of people.