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Where are they now?

Lewis Brown explains how being a 2018 DIP finalist helped

Lewis Brown, a finalist in the 2018 DIP competition (pictured here with his garden product), has now graduated from Teesside University with a first class honours degree in Product Design BSc, and has secured a great position as a Product Development Engineer at NYMAS.

A specialist manufacturer of inclusive washroom equipment, NYMAS is an established company with 50 years’ experience of which at least 20 years has included supplying the accessibility market, making bathing safe and accessible for all people, whatever their physical ability.

Lewis says: “The benefits I derived from the Design Innovation in Plastics competition included having a great portfolio piece and a product I could demonstrate. There’s no doubt, being able to say you reached the top six of a prestigious national design competition is a real game changer. The media attention we commanded from the competition is ideal to show potential employers, and gives real credibility to your story.

“I joined NYMAS as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). This is a government scheme which links three partners: the associate (myself), the company I work for, and a local educational institute – in my case this is Teesside University where I studied for my degree. They link to share knowledge and facilities and through the work I do, help to drive growth in that particular market.

“During this two-year KTP, I have been allocated a budget to spend on things which will help my personal work development, such as additional training and education, going to conferences and the like. The aim is to release a range of new products within the next couple of years, and my particular project is to embed a bespoke New Product Development function into NYMAS utilising emerging concepts in ‘design thinking’. I’ll be trying to use novel material applications and associated manufacturing methods in the creation of innovative accessibility bathroom products.”

Lewis had already developed an interest in disability products, through his entry to the DIP competition with his ‘Dynamic Grip’ an ergonomic garden multi-tool, which helps gardeners with arthritis.

He says: “It means I can demonstrate the tangible relevance of my involvement in DIP to my current position with NYMAS. At NYMAS I have an academic supervisory team spanning design, engineering and health, and this is great because I’m working closely with people with disabilities and using the insights from that research to inspire development of innovative new products. It is a truly multi-disciplinary approach.”