Ellie Byerley spent her childhood building garden furniture with her dad, now she’s working on the latest products for Dyson – from haircare to vacuum cleaners.
Ellie was born in NZ, but grew up in the UK. She’s always loved problem-solving, which is why she chose to dive into the world of engineering.
“Some of my favourite childhood memories are building garden furniture with my dad, which led me to want to continue with something practical in my adult life.
“So I always wanted to do something that would help people, but I realised quickly that I wouldn’t make a good doctor.”
After studying engineering at the University of Bath, she secured a position as Graduate Ergonomic and Human Factors Engineer at Dyson where she applies her knowledge of the human body and mind to make products more user-friendly.
“While I was at university, I realised that my favourite part of design engineering was learning from and understanding the end users, so I have basically turned that into my career.”
Ellie recalls being one of very few women on her university course.
“The hardest part about university and school was coping with others saying how easy they found things that you found difficult.
“It took me a long time to shift my mindset and understand that I was just as capable as them, and that I was just better at admitting when I’d struggled,” she says.
“I think this is quite a big theme in women and we end up believing we’re not good enough.”
She hopes to see more women around the table when talking about design and engineering in years to come.
“As an ergonomist, I try to be the voice for user groups (like women) whose wants and needs can often get overlooked by the design teams simply because they aren’t there to vouch for products being too big, too heavy, etc.
“I hope that in the future more women are part of the conversation.”
Jaimey Clifton is working to help pregnant women suffering from sleep apnoea by finding a solution (like an app) to help control this condition.
Ella Guy hopes to develop a device to record respiratory data to ensure access to adequate healthcare for all Kiwis.
Trudy Caljé-Van Der Klei's ultimate goal in engineering is to help people, but she also wants to inspire the new generation of wāhine and people of colour.