Seven months on from the start of my nine-month placement at Leon Paul and I can honestly say I have learnt so much. The degree I’m studying at Nottingham Trent University is Sport Engineering, so being part of the Product Development Team here has been the perfect application of my studies. A lot of what I had been learning in my first two years at university were the fundamentals, the science behind why things happen, this included some applied practice but typically not sport specific. So being here and seeing what I have learnt being applied to existing products, using the techniques and equipment myself to create my own designs, has been exciting and rewarding. In addition, the work environment has allowed me to develop my communication skills, through research and sourcing, I have built relationships with suppliers. Working within a close team has also enabled me to get a holistic feel for the whole business and is another reason why this placement has been so valuable to my degree and my personal development.

It’s always hard putting yourself in a completely new environment. So, leading up to my move to London, on my own, living the furthest I have from home, for my first full-time job, it’s fair to say I was genuinely nervous. This move was a big step for me, but my personal growth has been huge; the support and opportunities I have received have made the whole experience a lot less daunting. I finally have a much clearer idea of the career path I would like to pursue after university, with a great network of colleagues who have supported and advised me over my time working here.

I am now looking forward to going back to university with a deeper understanding of the content, and with new ideas, for my final year project. Before I leave my placement here, I hope to write another blog post on what I plan to base my final year project on and the concepts around it. Ben Paul has been really forthcoming with ideas and advice; I will just need a solid plan for the assignment, ensuring I can meet the criteria, then I can acquire confirmation from my lecturers and start the project.

Unfortunately, due to the current unprecedented events, everything has been thrown a bit in the air, creating constant speculation of what the rest of the year brings. One certainty is that I have had an amazing opportunity to learn and create, which I will continue to do, developing the skills that I can, from wherever I am. If not this year, then maybe in 2021, there could be some products being sold that I worked on as part of a placement project. Perhaps a bag, a chest protector or glove, I’ll say no more.

I don’t have many photos of me working here at Leon Paul, but here is a short time-lapse of some reverse engineering I completed earlier in my placement, and yes that just means taking a product apart, there is a logical reason I promise.