GDST alumna, Anoushka Patel on her exciting degree apprenticeship at the new Dyson Institute
I left Oxford High School in 2019, having studied Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry for A levels. Throughout sixth form, I was determined to study Engineering at University, a decision consolidated by work experiences and internships over the summer. My interest in creative problem solving in Engineering was sparked in In Year 12, when I organised and facilitated the GDST’s first Technology and Ethics forum, which provided a platform to empower young leaders of the future to lead with moral, financial and technological astuteness. Society as we know it is undergoing a period of intense digital disruption, and businesses are developing an urgent need to build and promote sustainable business models.
I applied to university degrees in Design and Electrical Engineering at Imperial, UCL and Kings, but chose to accept my degree apprenticeship offer at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. Despite it being a different path, I could not pass up the opportunity to get involved in such a dynamic and innovative company.
“I could not pass up the opportunity to get involved in such a dynamic and innovative company”
The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology is unlike any other University and I was attracted to being part of a new and evolving higher education institution. The fact that the programme is so new meant that I would be able to shape my own and future year’s experiences, in a way that could not be achieved with older and more traditional higher educational institutions. And with a competitive salary and no tuition fees to pay, it also meant that I will be able to graduate debt free.
The Dyson Institute is very different to a traditional university experience. The approach throughout the entire programme is disruptive and innovative but I think the key difference is gaining real-life, hands-on experience in Global Engineering teams right from day one. I’ve learnt lots by working on live projects, from workplace etiquette to collaborating with colleagues in Singapore. Studying for my Warwick Engineering BEng, alongside working on active projects, has taught me crucial time management skills, and the degree aspect of the course aligns very well with my workplace activities.
Over the first two years, we are rotated through different Engineering teams around the company, so we get to experience all aspects of engineering before choosing a team for years 3 and 4. This not only allows us to develop a wide range of skills, but it also widens our perspective of how the business works, as well as introducing us to various management styles.
I’m currently in my second year of studies and working in New Product Innovation. Working in a Design Engineering team at Dyson gives me the ability to improve my creative problem-solving skills, whilst developing key technical and analytical skills at the same time. The work also involves collaboration with commercial, markets and research teams, which is another fantastic learning opportunity. Work in New Product Innovation is novel and varied, and it’s a real honour to be given real responsibility. After a day ‘in the office’ (pre COVID of course!), I’ll work on my University studies and relax; I enjoy the convenience of the Dyson Gym, and the classes/personal training they provide. Throughout all this, the Dyson Institute staff have been incredibly supportive, with their utmost focus being our wellbeing and development. The community formed by Dyson Institute staff, colleagues, interns and employees is genuinely warm and caring.
One of the wonderful things about the Dyson Institute are the opportunities outside of work and academic studies. For example, I’ve been involved with the Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility team, as well as engaging in conversations around sustainability design and internal sustainability initiatives. Another highlight was being asked to facilitate a panel during Women in Engineering Week last summer with five of Dyson’s women engineers. It was streamed live to the whole company, and it was great to have this presenting experience and to meet these inspirational women. I’ve also been involved in launching a scheme that allows employees to become wellbeing champions in their local areas; it’s nice to know that people will benefit from my efforts.
Upon graduation, I’d love to spend time developing my commercial, finance and engineering skills in South East Asia, and I’m keen to apply my engineering experience to management and strategy roles in the future.
Three years ago, at the beginning of Sixth form, I had no idea about the Dyson Institute or the opportunities a degree apprenticeship could provide. It’s an honour to be able to share my journey, and I hope it will inspire others to consider embarking on a degree apprenticeship.