“You’re pursuing your dream of making vacuum cleaners!” is something I’ve heard often since applying to Dyson as a student as part of their relatively new Dyson Institute scheme, alongside applying through UCAS to University degree courses. Whilst it is true that Dyson does focus on seemingly mundane products in the household, the technology and engineering behind these products are exceptional, and the result is products which are in a league of their own. This ideology of thinking logically as well as creatively to find novel solutions to problems is what really fascinates me about the company as a whole and is part of what lead me to apply and be offered a place at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology in September 2019.
The Dyson Institute is a new kind of university-style experience, giving candidates real-world engineering experience from the start, whilst also providing world-class education throughout. The course is four years and will allow students to progress with a Bachelor of engineering degree (BEng) at the end, as well as going forwards with four years’ experience from Dyson which cannot be matched by a University. This experience, as well as having no tuition fees, and being paid throughout the degree course as you are a full-time Dyson employee, is what really sets this experience apart from any university engineering course. A year in industry would provide some experience during a standard university degree, but will be a fraction of the time spent in the workplace in comparison and disrupts the learning for the degree as a year-long break will be taken, albeit with much support from the university whilst you are away.
From the Institute, I am hoping the exposure to world-class engineering knowledge and education from lecturers will allow me to progress and expand my understanding and application of engineering practises rapidly, as well as setting me up for future technologies and giving me an effective stepping stone from the sixth form to work, as there is extended holiday compared to a standard job and a wealth of support from the Institute team along the way. At the end of the course, if a 2:1 or a 1st is achieved in the degree, then Dyson will make your job permanent should that be desirable, or you can leave at the end of the course should you so wish. This flexibility is unusual for an experience like this as many companies which provide, or sponsor, degrees would require the graduate to work for them for a period of time following the degree.
The ‘student experience’ of a university is lacking here as there are no societies as such, and the community is far smaller (around 150 students), although the extended Dyson community is close to 4,600 employees, and the network is tightly knit, so brings in some of the university experience. The overall experience will be different from any other university, but I think this is healthy, as it encourages students to mature into a workplace at an earlier stage. Whilst also having a strong support network to rely on and being part of a company which has a more relaxed and fun side, as well as giving students the chance to ask questions on real engineering applications whilst they are studying to enhance their knowledge further.
Overall, this is an exciting opportunity, and I am grateful for the support the school and individual teachers have given me through the application, as well as previous engineering experience in the form of the EES project coordinated by Ms Ling which helped my application no-end.
Find out more about the Dyson Institute here.