Intern at LEGO, Billund, Denmark
University of South Australia Bachelor of Design graduate and Masters student, Jaime Sanchez has secured a six-month internship with LEGO in Denmark. Working with designers from all over the world, he is reconnecting with a childhood passion for LEGO and able to fully indulge his love of drawing robots.
"An internship at LEGO in Billund is like winning the Golden Ticket to a magical place," says Jaime, who still has buckets of these iconic blocks from his childhood.
It was not until his late twenties that Jaime found his true passion for industrial design and it was several years before he could follow it. He spent his twenties switching in and out of university courses, completing a Bachelor of Arts, travelling and spending time teaching English in Spain. Eventually he returned to Adelaide, married and settled into a steady job with Telstra.
Jaime was intrigued by an article in the paper about UniSA Industrial Design students doing a project with Haigh's Chocolates and it led him to an Industrial Design open day at UniSA's City West Campus. However it was not until several years later in his mid-thirties that he was in a position to study again.
"Eight years of part-time study while working full-time, and two kids later, I graduated with a Bachelor of Design. I gave myself a year off study to focus on getting an industrial design job, but during this time I was made redundant from my Telstra job after 15 years, so I started studying the Master of Industrial Design full-time. Not being in full-time work also allowed me to pick up little design jobs here and there," says Jaime.
"I applied for an internship with LEGO in October 2014 and was successful, so I brought my family with me. I am working in the Super Heroes team, designing Marvel and DC LEGO sets, based on movies and comics," says Jaime.
"LEGO is in a little town of about 3000 people in Jutland in the middle of rural Denmark, about three hours by train from Copenhagen. It is considered to be 'in the sticks'. Pretty much the whole town has grown due to LEGO, so it has a weird mix of amenities. There is no post office, and the banks are cashless (you have to go to the next town 13km away to deposit cash). It has no train line but it has Denmark's second largest international airport, a huge international population of designers who mostly commute from bigger neighbouring towns, and robot-filled injection moulding factories that are so big they have road rules and footpaths on the inside," says Jaime.
Jaime managed to combine study as a mature-aged student with full-time work, raising two children, and paying off a mortgage.
"UniSA was instrumental in my being able to do this. Teaching staff are understanding and flexible, the campus is very well equipped and centrally located, resources like the library, CAD pools, the workshops are excellent, and UniSA has great scholarship programmes and travel grants. Also students come to this University with a good attitude, for the most part I was with people who wanted to learn, were interested in the subjects and put in the effort," Jaime says.
When stuck for inspiration Jaime says he turns to "something completely unrelated and brainless" like mowing the lawn, doing the dishes or riding his bike.
"The good ideas then start percolating again. I also try to draw regularly, without anything particular in mind, but I usually end up drawing robots," says Jaime.
Jaime has three pieces of sound advice for graduates starting out in a design career.
"Draw, draw, draw as much as you can, practise hours per day. Design is a visual medium and you need to be able to communicate ideas quickly and accurately on paper. When you can show someone a concept on the back of a napkin, a little bit of magic happens, which is worth thousands of slick computer renderings.
"Reach out to professionals and people already working in the field, for example, join the South Australian Branch of the Design Institute of Australia, get as much work experience as you can, join online design forums. This is the best way by far to get your dream job.
"Have a concrete goal and work towards it. Actively work out how to go about it and give yourself a timeline. Do this and you'll either get there, or get so close that it is perfectly acceptable for you to give yourself a bit more time to actually make it," he says.
Click back arrow on browser to return to newsletter