Interview with Joe – Design Team Leader Accessories

Joe is a Design Team Leader working in the Accessory Design Department at Triumph. He tells us why he enjoys working for Triumph, why he believes the Design awards is so important and about his experiences of hiring young people into engineering careers.

What is your role at Triumph and how long have you been at Triumph?

I started at Triumph as a student in 2006 on a placement year as part of my university course and came back after university to start full time in 2008. Since returning to Triumph, I’ve had various positions ranging from Graduate Design Engineer to Design Team Leader.

In my relatively recent role as a Design Team Leader, I am really enjoying engaging with so many different people around the company about all the different elements and stages of design and the design process. I have responsibility for the people in my team, including recruiting, mentoring and ensuring they get the training they need.

What is your role at Triumph and how long have you been at Triumph?

The advantage of working at Triumph is the amount of design work that we do – I feel that there can be a lot more design than in other automotive sectors. A lot of our work and designs are on show when on the final bike and that’s really cool. For example, you don’t see the engine in a car but you do on a bike. This means that not only must our designs must perform well but they also have to look great.

I also love working for Triumph because it’s very relatable. Working for a big brand, you can talk about your work with friends and family, and you can show them the exciting things we work on. I find that the people I tell about my job are often more excited to hear about what we do than I am to tell them!

What is your role at Triumph and how long have you been at Triumph?

The Triumph Design Awards highlights and showcases people’s work – they can demonstrate that they have exciting new ideas and also the ability to communicate them. Additionally, the competition is an opportunity to see how skills learned at school translate into the world of work. I really enjoy getting involved in the Triumph Design Awards each year and last year I was a judge at the finals.

I think D&T is one of the few subjects to allow free thinking – you have a process to follow, but there are no prescribed answers. It’s also far more practical, less academic and far more vocational – and we at Triumph can really see the connection between D&T at school and the practical application in industry. The only other subject I’d say was similarly important is maths – you’ll need this to justify your design decisions, which is of great significance.

When I see students who participate in the Triumph Design Awards or similar competitions on CVs it really differentiates them as a candidate. It gives me something to talk about in the interview, and makes them stand out compared to the other candidates. One of the key skills that the Triumph Design Awards gives people is the ability to talk about their design, but also how they can improve it, take it to market, and make it a real product that can be sold and used.

What is your role at Triumph and how long have you been at Triumph?

I studied A level – Maths, Physics, D&T and IT. D&T was my favourite as it allowed me to demonstrate and acquire practical skills. It gave me skills that you can’t learn from a book and the ability to think creatively. Now, I think it’s important to think about what you have to offer over and above robots, as more jobs are becoming automated. For me, the jobs that involve thinking creatively are those that robots will never replace humans.

When I was studying for my A levels, my D&T teacher encouraged me to enter the Audi Design Awards – a design competition for students that was very similar to the Triumph Design Awards. I entered a touch sensitive wood laminated lamp at AS level. At A level, I entered my adjustable ergonomic corner unit desk. You could adjust it for improved ergonomics, and I thought about the types of materials to ensure it was environmentally friendly, but also aesthetically pleasing. I made it to the second round of the competition with it! The awards really gave me validation beyond my teacher, my grades and just my school. Real engineers thought that my work was good; and that was really important to me as a student.

What is your role at Triumph and how long have you been at Triumph?

Whilst I place a high level of importance on the academic grades which a student or graduate has achieved, I am equally interested in the things they do outside this. I really want them to communicate their interests to me in their cover letter and CVs. The Triumph Design Awards shows me you have an interest and passionate above and beyond what you do in the classroom. You should aspire to find a job that you can really enjoy each and every day – you spend so many hours in your day in a job that you really need to be enjoying it. I want to see that engineering and design is something you’ll be excited and motivated about every day.

A lot of young people excel in having a highly in depth knowledge of the subjects that they have studied so hard. I want to see people explaining how they apply this to real world problem solving – people often struggle to demonstrate a good thought process. I want to see a sensible and logical thinker when working through a problem; a process that could be applied to any design scenario.

There are so many directions that you can take after studying a subject like engineering or design-  you need to work out which direction you want to take. What are your strengths ? Whether it be sketching, sculpting, computer modelling, analysing, testing or anything, make sure you enjoy it!