A 22-year-old Fermanagh native is among the first cohort of 33 students to graduate from the prestigious Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology and accept a permanent position with the innovative design company.

Leigh Crozier, who is originally from Florencecourt but currently lives in Bristol, began the BEng Degree Apprenticeship in Engineering course in 2017 after securing a prestigious scholarship with the Dyson Institute, set up by billionaire inventor and vacuum cleaner entrepreneur Sir James Dyson.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, Leigh commented on her delight to have graduated with all of her peers.

“There were 33 of us in the beginning and it was great to have every single one of us there in the end. Each of us had to work out how to complete a degree that had never been done before, adjust to 16 week working rotations of different disciplinary teams, as well as trying to maintain a good work-life balance whilst in the middle of the cotswolds.

“And I think we all did pretty well. I am extremely proud of all of us,” said Leigh.

From a young age, Leigh was intrigued by the way everyday objects and mechanisms worked.

“From the intricate workings of a watch to much greater requisites of a gravity defying skyscraper,” she said.

This interest, alongside her love for Technology and Design, and Physics while she was a student at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, inspired her to pursue a career in the field of engineering.

Obvious choice

“A career in engineering was the obvious choice. Engineering is a fast-paced, ever-changing world, with new technologies forming every day - who wouldn’t want to get involved!” said Leigh, who applied for the Dyson Institute after her dad drew her attention to a news report highlighting the course.

“It seemed like a no-brainer to apply! The application process wasn’t quite that straightforward. It consisted of answering some initial questions and providing a portfolio of any relevant work I may have done.

“After this, I completed an online assessment to try and measure my numerical aptitude and ability to think logically and solve problems. Following this, I completed a telephone interview and when this was successful I travelled to Wiltshire to complete an assessment day where I completed a technical and HR interview,” she said, outlining the rigorous application process, which led to her being offered a place at the Dyson Institute by Sir James.

Throughout her four years on the course, Leigh worked within various different teams, each teaching and showing her a different way of working.

When asked which was her favourite team to work with, she responded: “I couldn’t fault any of them. However, having the opportunity to work on the Electric Vehicle was a totally different experience.

“I was dropped right into the deep end and given huge amounts of responsibility from the word go. Of course, for the last two years of my course I decided to join the Technology Development Team, immersing myself in the world of Fluid Dynamics. I just love it. It is that face-paced, creative and innovative environment I had always imagined.”

Now having graduated, Leigh is looking back over her four years at the Dyson Institute with fondness.

Commenting that there are too many highlights to choose from, she said: “As the first cohort to graduate from the Dyson Institute, we had so much to learn, including everyone around us. At the end of the day, we were 33, 18 year olds working in an Engineering Company without a degree!

“The welcomeness and enthusiasm from everyone that I have encountered was unbelievable. It was incredible to see so much of the business, work with some really amazing and inspiring people and help shape the Dyson Institute as James foreseen it to be.”

On her graduation, Leigh was offered a full-time role at Dyson, an opportunity she has chosen to accept.

“I am joining Technology Development as a Fluid Dynamics Engineer. We sit within the Research, Design and Development sector of the business, helping to develop future Dyson products. Day-to-day, I will be supporting aerodynamic and thermal testing and analysis alongside computational simulations,” she explained.

As she continues her journey with Dyson, Leigh has many hopes for her future within the company.

“Currently, I want to grow my skills as a Fluid Dynamics Engineer so I can begin to take a lead role in the product development cycle. I am very enthusiastic about Simulation and would love to start building upon our capabilities, introducing new methods of simulating increasingly complex physics,” she told this newspaper.