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Rebecca Board

Rebecca Board, BA Product Design & Engineering

Freelance Designer

BA Product Design & Engineering, 2012

What made you choose Middlesex University?

I was making a career change and Middlesex offered a conversion course for Design. When I visited for an interview I thought the Trent Park campus was beautiful and I was impressed with the facilities.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply?

I previously studied BSc Social Sciences at University of Bath. I started the course as a conversion to teach design but within the first few months I decided to continue with the full undergraduate course. I found the course really inspiring and was compelled to change my career path again.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

I think the course had incredible links with the design industry, it provided opportunities to work with established companies as part of project briefs as well as providing support to gain industry experience outside of university hours.

What were the facilities like in your department?

The facilities were amazing; there were huge workshops with a wide range of machines including the latest technology such as rapid prototyping (3D Printing) machines.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

I have made some great friends at Middlesex and my fondest memories consist of working with amazing people on exciting projects. I continue to work with many of my peers now in the industry.

What one piece advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

Make the most of opportunities at Middlesex; this includes the facilities available, the help and advice from the tutors and technicians and the chance to gain industry experience.

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you get to where you are professionally today?

The course has provided me with a set of skills which enables me to work in this specialist industry. The course helped me to develop my own style in design while also introducing me to people with a range of different skills and design styles. It encouraged us to work together and utilise people's talents. Today I continue to work with a number of the people I graduated with as well as a number of other designers and we try to ensure that we always learn from each other and encourage each other.

What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?

The course at Middlesex influenced the industry I chose to work in, it opened my eyes to what a career in design could consist of. It is such an exciting industry, it is ever changing and evolving as new technologies emerge. You learn new skills every day and you must continue to widen your skill base to ensure you stay ahead of the curve. I guess this could be seen as both a pro and a con. As could the flexible working hours, the majority of jobs even in multinational companies are on a freelance basis, and therefore you have to work project to project. It can be frustrating to constantly be looking for work, but it also keeps your work fresh and ensures you only take on work you really want to be part of.

How did you get your first foot in the industry?

I was recommended to assist Moritz Waldemeyer in the production of Ellie Goulding's music video. After graduation I then worked on a number of projects as part of Studio Waldemeyer over the summer of 2012 including the London Olympic and Paralympic Closing Ceremonies and Philip Treacy's London Fashion Week catwalk show.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

The London Olympics has to be my highlight to date, to be part of team that created 140 illuminating costumes for the Rio handover in the closing ceremony was a very surreal and exciting experience.

What are the top three tips you would give to current students and recent graduates who are looking for a similar career to yourself?

Firstly, make the most of the opportunities whilst you are at university, if someone gives you the opportunity to gain experience take it, you never know where it could lead.

Secondly, always strive to learn more, in this industry you have to keep up to date with the latest technology, manufacturing methods and software to succeed. So make sure you learn as many of those skills as you can while you are at university so you can build upon them once you leave.

Thirdly, mix up your skills, get talking to people from other courses and industries you would be surprised
what skills complement each other in a project. Open yourself up to other perspectives, you can't design in isolation, you should try to get feedback from as many different people as possible to allow the idea or
design to develop.

What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?

I would say find something that you enjoy doing and make a career from it. Trust your instincts pick a subject that inspires you. You spend the majority of your life working so make sure you will be doing something you enjoy. And don't be scared of change, embrace it!

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