Kyle Withey

“I get satisfaction from knowing I’ve made something easier for somebody, so choosing product design will hopefully mean that other people benefit”

Read our interview with second year Product Design student Kyle Withey on why he chose the degree and his experience of the course.

Hi Kyle. What made you choose Brighton and Product Design with Professional Experience BSc(Hons)

“I visited Brighton for the first time back in 2015 and I instantly fell in love with the energy this town has. In 2015 I also got my first 3D printer, which I used to start a small business, through that I developed a plethora of skills related to product design, doing this was both my job and my hobby so picking product design was an obvious choice.”

How did you decide what to study? Was it an easy choice or did you do lots of research? 

“I originally picked electrical engineering at Brighton before finding out about product design, as soon as I found out about it I switched course straight away (this was around a month before the start date).”

Did your personal values or ethics have anything to do with your choice?

“I’ve always been the sort of person who likes and enjoys helping other people, I get satisfaction from knowing I’ve made something easier for somebody, so by choosing product design I feel like the skills that I will gain will hopefully mean that other people may benefit and there for I will be helping people.

Can you tell us a bit more about your course? How would you describe it to a new student?

“In choosing product design you’ll be learning about more than just physical items, you’ll learn about all the “behind the scenes” and also different types of products that may not come to mind when thinking about the world.

How have you found studying for a degree to be different from college?

“I never actually finished college, I hated everything about it. University is extremely different to that, I went to college back in 2014 and dropped out and then in 2018 I did a access course which felt a lot like uni, it was a lot more independent and just like uni they treated us like actual adults.”

What aspects of the course do you find most interesting and why?

“My favourite module so far has to be XE404. It really explored the different methods and technologies behind product design. This module really appealed to me due to the fact that it was more of an electrical side of product design and electrical engineering has always been a hobby of mine.”

Can you give an example of a person, a lesson or something that happened that has made you feel studying at Brighton was the right choice

“The first time I knew I made the right choice was when I had my initial interview with Tom Ainsworth – we sat and spoke about the things in design that interest us and ended up talking for longer than the interview was meant to last for. He made me feel extremely excited for the start of the course and made me feel like I made the right choice. The course leader James Tooze always pushes and encourages you to do better. He recognises your talents and helps you play off that in a way that will benefit you the most.”

Do you have the opportunity to go on placement or any other external learning opportunities? 

On this course we have a placement year (our 3rd year) where we spend the year in industry learning through experience. I’m currently working on finding a placement for next year, my ideal placement would been a prop design role however anything that hands on or works with CAD will be just as enjoyable.”

Can you think of ways that you’ve developed transferable skills on your course?

“Since starting this course, my presentation skills have drastically improved. I’m quite socially anxious and before this course it was my worst nightmare however I now weirdly enjoy it.”

Is the University of Brighton a supportive place to study?

 “Yes. I’ve found that anytime I’ve needed support the Student Support and Guidance Tutors are always ready to help, and it’s always been useful. In my year there are around 18 of us, and we got super-lucky as we all get on extremely well. This made it so we could all learn from each other and support each other with both our work and our personal lives.”

What’s Brighton like as a place to live?

“Brighton has an amazing energy. I’ve visited a fair amount of unis around England and none of the cities feel as exciting as Brighton. It’s such a happy place with great places.  

A few of my favourite things about living in Brighton include; going on my morning run to either the beach or Preston park, public transport links are amazing however when I’m living basically everything is in walking distance, the street art everywhere you look is beautiful and you can’t forget the amazing support for smaller businesses.

Did you choose to live in halls or private housing, and have you got any tips for communal living? 

“I lived in Varley Park for my first year, and the building I lived in was one of the newer ones. I had a nice size room with an en suite. The facilities were good and it was easy to get to uni every day using the free uni bus that came every hour. When you’re living in halls you have a few memberships for the year to the Falmer gym, I highly recommend you take that offer up as it has great facilities and it’s free.”

What are your plans after finishing your course? 

“I plan to hopefully get a job in the prop design industry as I’ve been making and selling props for the last six years and would like to take it to the next level. I’m feeling positive for the future despite some large setback (yeah I’m talking about COVID). I feel like I’ve changed a lot since being at university. I’ve felt myself becoming more confident and having a much better work ethic.”

Find out about studying Product Design with Professional Experience BSc(Hons) at Brighton.


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