Andrew Barclay

There are so many amazing products in the world - products that make our lives easier, more enjoyable and safer! However, there are also some parts of these products that still cause frustration, confusion or even danger. As well as fuelling my love for making things, I saw engineering as an opportunity to make an impact, make lives easier, and put a smile on people’s faces. Why be happy with something that isn’t as good as it can be?

 "Whilst working at Dyson, Andrew has utilised his breadth of knowledge and skills to bridge the gap between pure engineering and product design, delivering on a wide range of tasks at every stage of the product development process. With the ability to collaborate confidently with people from different functions across different levels of the business, he has been a real asset to the team."

Phil Gordon, Lead Design Engineer, Dyson

The Arkwright Scholarship was a great opportunity to prove and develop my skills as an engineer, with the opportunity of financial support for my final years of school to really allow me to showcase what I could do.

I also knew of previous students from my school who had received an Arkwright Scholarship who had gone on to top universities and I could really see the benefit of having it as part of my CV to show my commitment to the career path, as well as my ability.

I studied an MEng course in Product Design Engineering; a course split between Glasgow University and the Glasgow School of Art.  It was an ideal mixture between the mechanical engineering side and design project side, which enabled me to develop my technical knowledge in a way that allowed me to put it into practice on the projects we worked on.  The Arkwright Scholarship had opened doors for some work experience prior to university, but it had also got me used to writing formal applications and gave me experience of technical interviews. This then allowed me to be confident in my knowledge at university and job interviews and know how to approach people more professionally.

Before my final year of university I undertook an internship at Dyson, working in the Personal Care side of the business - helping design some of the user interface elements of some of the future products. This gave me great experience in an innovative company that set me up well for final year.  After my 5 year integrated masters, I took a year out to work for a charity called UCCF which helps run the Christian Unions at Universities around the country. This was a year that taught me how to present to groups of people, how to interact with a wide range of characters, and to manage my time in a way I hadn’t had to at university.  It also allowed me to be excited to return to the engineering world, which I did.  I returned to Dyson, to work in a different team within the Research, Design and Development department.  It is difficult to talk about what I’m working on, because it is so top secret - something which itself is pretty cool - but I was put in charge of the prototype builds and looked at the assembly process for an assembly within an Asia-specific model we just released. It has been amazing to see parts that I helped build and test come back and be part of a product that has really improved people’s experience. I was also involved in an in depth home trial of a product yet to be released, which really opened my eyes to the challenges we face and the opportunities to disrupt the markets we operate in! I’m excited to see the other projects that I’ve worked on coming out in the next year or two.

As part of New Product Development, we work on the next generation of products. At Dyson, we use an iterative process known as “design, build, test” to make sure our parts and assemblies work as desired and that they will survive everything users will throw at it. Currently for me, this means designing, building and testing motors and drive systems within some of Dyson’s newest designs!  Millions of pounds of investment is thrown at RDD every week at Dyson, which allows us to try new things without a fear of failure - failure gives us opportunities to learn and become more of an expert in our field, which will mean that the products we make will continue to get better and better, bringing more joy to people with each iteration.

The Arkwright Engineering Scholarship offered me opportunities to develop my skills as an engineer, to meet with other engineers at different stages of their career and gave me financial support through sixth form, allowing me to push for better quality in my design and engineering projects - both academically and outside of school time. I benefited from the application and interview process, which encouraged me to really put into words why engineering excited me and prepared me for university and job interviews in the future.

Arkwright Scholar 2010-2012

Sir James Knott Trust

Design and Technology, Maths, Physics

University of Glasgow / Glasgow Schhool of Art, MEng in Product Design Engineering

Design Engineer, Dyson