How University of Chester mother’s interlocking toy design got a dream job

A CHESTER University graduate got her dream job working in interior design after designing a toy to combat the boredom of confinement.

Danielle Maw, 28, earned a first-class degree in product design while juggling home schooling for her two young children during the pandemic as well as sometimes commuting up to five hours to university.

As part of her degree, Danielle designed an anti-boredom children’s toy, Lumi.

This “box of possibilities” can be transformed into a play kitchen, riding toy, doll pram, car track or theater.

It was designed to relieve the boredom and pressures of locking restrictions for kids and parents alike and is also durable and eco-friendly.

University of Chester graduate Danielle Maw.

From Todmorden in West Yorkshire, Danielle learned new digital skills as part of her degree and created a portfolio of her time at university that showcases her skills and examples of her work, including Lumi.

She said it helped her land the design job at Harp Ceramics, a bespoke bathroom and ceramic showroom in Colne.

She said: “I felt like I lacked computer aided design experience and my teacher Rebecca Falcon helped me a lot in that regard. She was very knowledgeable on the subject and helped guide me through what I struggled to grasp. I also spent a lot of time in self-study to learn new skills.

“I was trying to home teach two young children during a pandemic and try to adapt my studies around them. My parenting duties were my first priority and when the kids were finally asleep I was working on my diploma.

“Sometimes they were on the sidelines during lectures and trying to entertain them while listening was quite difficult, especially having a young child. I recorded the lessons and when the children slept, I caught up.

“Even though public transportation was a nightmare and sometimes I wanted to give up, I had a lot of determination to complete the course and achieve what I knew I was capable of.

“Sometimes life’s challenges make us feel like we are incapable. I wanted to overcome that perception.”

In addition to earning a first-class degree, Danielle also received high praise at the university’s annual Art and Design Diploma Awards Show.

She said: “When I heard the result of my diploma, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and that all my sleepless nights and efforts had paid off. I didn’t expect to be recognized at graduation and it was a nice surprise.

“I look forward to gaining more experience in this area and hope to buy my first home in the coming months.

“If I hadn’t had the expertise and support of my tutors in college, I don’t think I would have achieved what I have.

Rebecca Falcon, Lecturer in Art and Design at the University of Chester, said: “Danielle is an impressive graduate. She juggled two young children, as a single mother, and was homeschooled throughout the pandemic alongside her studies.

“Her family had to isolate themselves several times, and her commute time to university by public transport took up to five hours on one occasion!

“However, despite this added pressure, before the end of the year Danielle got a design job by beating hundreds of other applicants. We’re incredibly proud of her.”