Washing away a tired old image

Dyson sweeps away emphasis on those dull, purely academic courses and brings in creativity.

Schools and universities need to emphasise the creativity of engineering to make the career more attractive to young people, a senior designer at Dyson has urged.

Phil Bommer, design manager, said the company relies on its image as a young, fun place to work to attract potential recruits. ’A lot of engineering courses are very academic and lack excitement,’ he said. ’At Dyson there is a huge amount of creative opportunity, and it is full of people who find it fascinating.’

The company — with around 20% of its workforce either engineers, designers or scientists — invests 18% of its annual turnover in research and development, and recruits engineers from across all disciplines.

Part of its creative success is due to people with different backgrounds working together. ’Dyson encourages people to step outside their field of expertise,’ said Bommer.

When a recruit joins Dyson, in whatever capacity, he or she builds a vacuum cleaner on the production line, which the recruit can then keep. According to Bommer this is essential to gain a perspective from the consumer’s as well as the producer’s viewpoint. ’It’s central to what we do, so new recruits have to learn what we do and how we do it.’

Entrepreneur and inventor James Dyson opened Dyson Appliances’ first factory in 1993 after his bagless vacuum cleaner was rebuffed in the European market.

Its growth has been phenomenal — today it is the brand leader in the UK floorcare market selling almost 100,000 units per month. It produces five vacuum cleaner models and has recently branched into dual-drummed washing machines.

Dyson took Hoover to court last October over patent infringement. A High Court judge ruled that Hoover’s Triple Vortex vacuum cleaner infringed Dyson’s patented ’cyclonic technology’. The two companies will return to court in July this year.

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