Product Design students at The University of Nottingham impressed business leaders with their design skills at a unique showcase event.
The event was to demonstrate some of the outstanding work from their Product Design and Manufacture degree course.
Twenty five students from the course presented prototypes and posters depicting their work, which included mini-projectors, water purifiers, SD card holders, innovative furniture for elderly people and a number of other novel designs.
The event also gave businesses the chance to preselect some of the top product design talent in the country. In addition, they also had the opportunity to submit a brief for a student to work on a specific product design project with them.
The University of Nottingham, unlike many other design courses, has a great emphasis not only on product aesthetics but design for manufacture, material specifications and ergonomic sciences.
The resulting products are not only designed to be stylish and functional, they are also accurately costed and developed for manufacturing.
One of the business visitors at the event was Stewart Trewern, of Rapid Expansion Systems Ltd, a Kent-based business which manufactures innovative crowd control barriers for sports venues, policing and festivals. He said: “We were hugely impressed by the innovation, presentation and professionalism of the work displayed at the event.
We are very keen to partner with one or more of the students we spoke to, to work on our projects, with the intention of bring new talent into our team at the end of the project period.”
One of the students at the event, Emma Hartley, created a light-weight portable seat which elderly people at a retirement village could use on stone benches. Emma’s invention provided arms to assist in standing up and sitting down, back support, and padding to protect them from the cold stone of the benches. Speaking about the showcase event, she said: “The showcase was the first time we have ever exhibited our work to people outside of the university — it gave a real chance show our passion for product design, to network with businesses, and get our names out there as designers.
“It was great hearing how impressed businesses were with our projects, and students have given glowing feedback about the event, commenting on the opportunities this has presented to them not only for the remainder of their degree but also after they graduate.”
The showcase has already resulted in a number of students being offered the opportunity to work with businesses on various project briefs.
Speaking about the success of the showcase, Simon Harrison, course director, added: “There was a great buzz to the event and an eagerness on both sides to match projects with students. It was a really successful morning for all involved. The conversations I had with industrialists and students alike were always positive. We have already agreed several projects and more requests are still coming in.”