Nick Hook - BSc (Hons) Product Design and Innovation
Engineering has become something of a family business. My dad’s an engineer; my brother’s an engineer. Safe to say I was destined to become an engineer. That doesn’t mean I didn’t want to do it my way, however.
I’ve always had an artistic streak and while I didn’t see a career in the arts, I still wanted to bring that side of me in to whatever I did. After plenty of contemplation I landed on Product Design, it was the perfect marriage of maths, science and art – the chance to come up with beautiful ideas and have the engineering know-how to make those ideas a reality.
When looking at different universities I wanted to find a course that left my future open and gave me as many options as possible. Of all the universities I researched, Portsmouth had the most well-rounded course. It was perfect. I’d learn artistic skills such as design, but also the physical engineering behind products, as well as the business skills to let me strike out on my own.
I landed a job and was working in the automotive industry at Alpine just a week after graduation.
On top of that, all of my lecturers were coming straight from industry, which gave the course a real-world focus. It was realistic, down-to-earth and, above all, I felt confident that it would lead to an actual job. That’s a good thing as university is quite a big commitment and, at the end of the day, after graduating I’d want to work for a company that would pay me to design products that were actually going to be built – not just sit at home thinking about them.
To gain some experience and, yes, earn a bit of money, I decided to take a work placement year. One massive advantage that Portsmouth has over other cities, at least for my industry, is how much of the aerospace and military sector is based here. It meant that Portsmouth could set me up with a really exciting company to work at. I still can't believe it, but I was 20 years old and working on top secret projects; designing helicopters and seeing my ideas from concept right through to production.
My lecturers were coming straight from industry, which gave the course a real-world focus.
What I learnt on that work placement really put me ahead when it came to my final year. The skills and techniques I’d learnt in industry shaped my final major project and made me ready to work. In fact, I landed a job and was working in the automotive industry at Alpine just a week after graduation!
Now, I’m a few years into my career and I’m having the best time. I’ve been on work trips to Japan, freelanced for exciting companies and am leading a team on concept vehicles at Jaguar-Land Rover. Thank God I took the time to find the path that was right for me.