Health and well-being the focus of Headstart Cymru product design course


UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art have hosted another successful Headstart Cymru. The residential scheme, which is organised by the Engineering Education Scheme Wales, is an annual course that is open to Welsh Sixth Form students who are interested in pursuing a career in Engineering or Product Design.

CAD design studio

Professor Ian Walsh, Dean of Swansea College of Art, said: “Having worked with young people through the Engineering Education Scheme Wales for a number of years, it’s always a thrill and a delight to see the creativity and enthusiasm shown by this new generation of young designers and engineers as they come through. We would encourage more people to take part, and to get involved with Headstart Cymru in the future.”

Swansea College of Art was delighted to welcome Autodesk back to this year's event. The software company have been working on a design challenge with Sixth Form students who have travelled from all over Wales to take part. Students were given training in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software in order to complete a design challenge, which they presented to the whole group on the last day of the course.

Steve Cox from Autodesk said: “It’s been absolutely amazing to see so many students taking part this year. They walk in with absolutely no knowledge of the software and at the end of three days, they come up with the sort of ideas that we have seen here. That’s an inspiration to us, I find it fantastic, and I walk away from events like this with a real buzz after seeing what the students have done because it makes me think that the future is in safe hands. These students are the future of design in this country and I’d like to give a big thank you on behalf of Autodesk to everyone who has taken part so enthusiastically.”


This year, the theme was The Attack of the Killer Chairs. Students were given information about the ways in which an increasingly sedentary lifestyle impacts upon health and wellbeing, and some of the health problems associated with sitting.

The young designers used the latest research and design software to come up with a solution. They presented it to a panel of judges who then chose a winner.

This year’s winners were the Zimmer Chair, a team comprising of Lauren Gooch, from Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen in Bridgend, Cai Evans from Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr in Swansea, and Sam Bentley from Ysgol Glan Clwyd in St Asaph.

Lauren said: “It was amazing, I loved every part of it. I learnt so much as well! The CAD work was something I had never done before and it was amazing. Before I came here, I wanted to come to Swansea College of Art to study Product Design so this has given me a really good taste of what it will be like. Everybody did amazingly in the challenge, I wasn’t expecting to win against such strong competition so well done to everyone who took part!”

Cai said: “It was a very good learning experience, I’ve learnt so many skills throughout the week – team work, CAD design, modelling. I think that anyone who wants to work in design should definitely consider taking part in this course because

Sam said: “Doing the CAD design was great, I’d used something similar in school but this was the next level so it consolidated everything I’ve learnt so far and it’s helped me shape my ideas about what I want to do in the future.”

Student in workshop

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