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What an eye-opener the past year has been, in more ways than one! This is my first job out of university, while dealing with a pandemic to boot. I graduated in June 2020 with a BSc (Hons) in Product Design Engineering, starting my role at LST in July 2020. As part of my degree, I also undertook a placement year at a company called Promach 3D in Derby, which provided me with invaluable work experience and helped me to decide what I wanted to do.

“Starting my first job during COVID has been surreal”

In 18 months, I’ve had to learn fast – starting my first ever job working from home during COVID has also been a bit surreal. Since coming back into the office, having people right there in front of you to talk with face to face rather than via Teams or on the phone has been a novel experience!

My job entails taking a design brief or concept through a series of development stages, right through to engineering where it’s then ready for manufacture. We combine as many ideas as possible into one design or product to deliver the best solution for the customer. This is done via 3D models on CAD and 2D engineering drawings required for the manufacturing process.

I find the technology side of the business really intriguing. It’s fairly new and still expanding at a rate of knots. With AgriTech, we can help farmers grow the best crop possible and it offers the potential to solve the global food shortage with an ever-growing population.

“I’ve learned that it’s OK to ask questions”

I’ve very quickly picked up in my job not to be afraid to ask questions. There’s no such thing as a silly question. That’s the best way to learn, so my advice would be to anyone starting out on their career path is, don’t be afraid to speak up.

One of the personal challenges has been bringing my creative skills into an environment that’s very much scientific and technical. Fortunately, my degree offered me the best of both worlds, which has helped me to understand how to successfully marry these areas together in my role.

Everybody is helpful at LST, and I don’t feel that there’s any hierarchy as such. We’re always encouraged to contribute ideas and comments, and to offer constructive criticism. Everybody’s opinion is valued. There’s very much a team spirit about us and a willingness to get stuck in, so it’s a healthy environment to work in and to prosper.

“Indoor farming is a win-win solution”

It’s inevitable that we’re going to see the industry grow sooner rather than later, as more farmers will start to realise the benefits of growing crops in a more sustainable way. I think the newer generation of farmers are more responsive to the whole environmentally friendly ethos and a different way of working, as well as understanding the crisis with the food system and climate change. They’re also getting a clearer picture on how indoor farming can help them produce a better crop yield, so it’s win-win all around really.