Search begins to find next generation of designers for assistive technologies


Blackwood-Care Industry NewsStudents across the country with dreams of a career in design are being called upon to enter a competition seeking the next generation of innovative inventors.


Budding young designers can submit their entries to Blackwood’s Student Design Competition 2014 by the end of October, for a chance to be crowned Blackwood’s Designer of the Year.


Talented students who think that they have a concept capable of changing a disabled person’s life by helping them live more independently will have the chance to scoop up the prestigious accolade along with a £500 cash prize.


The competition, organised by The Blackwood Foundation has seen previous winners go on to achieve great success with the competition giving them a real platform to help kick start their careers.


Former winner Ian Mcdiarmid, a Bath university student, said: “I used the experience to enhance my CV and I’m confident it made a real difference, as I am now working as a designer in the Czech Republic.


“I secured my place on the graduate scheme with Ricardo, who are the leading provider of automotive engineering, design and consultancy for the passenger car sector.


“I would definitely recommend anyone to enter the competition, the opportunities are huge and you get to compare design ideas with other budding inventors – and see what they are working on, it’s a very creative atmosphere.”


Not only have the winners of the competition received continued success, with runner up Michael Tougher also experiencing tremendous accomplishment from his entry, going on to help build and design the Queen’s Commonwealth Baton.


Michael said: “After the competition, I was lucky enough to be chosen to work with 4C Design to help design and build the Queens Commonwealth Baton.


“I have also recently won first place in the Design Innovations in Plastic Competition and I was also lucky enough to be a winner of the Scottish Institute of Enterprise Young Innovators Challenge.


“For those thinking about entering it is a great opportunity. You will get to show your idea to your potential users and get very valuable insight and feedback. It can hopefully lead to you helping people.


“Blackwood provides a very essential service for those in need and they do a great job. They are constantly pushing new technology that engages more people and improve its service.”


The Blackwood Foundation in Edinburgh is dedicated to helping disabled people, their families, care professionals and other experts to identify and develop technology which helps transform lives by helping people live independently.
Colin Foskett, Head of Blackwood Foundation, believes the competition is a perfect example of the new Blackwood ethos which aims to provide beneficial digital and technological improvements to vulnerable groups of people.


Colin is delighted with the success of the competition so far, saying: “At Blackwood our aim is to allow our customers and tenants to live their life to the full, by investing in future technologies and equipment we believe we are successfully able to do this.


“Innovation is ageless, and we feel there are many young people out there who have wonderful and creative ideas that can help to improve the lives of others.


“By investing in, and promoting, new design talent we aim to provide a platform for individuals to showcase their designs whilst also providing a helpful innovative technology to those with disabilities, the elderly and those with impairments.


“Many previous entrants have gone on to achieve great things so it is definitely a worthwhile opportunity for all budding designers out there.”


Blackwood has been a leading name for 40 years in the housing and care sector, operating all across Scotland and is renowned for its work in adapting properties to let people who are disabled, elderly or have sensory impairments, to live independently.


The Foundation is its research and development arm and aims is to be a catalyst for innovation, development and improvement for those with disabilities, and says good design can transform lives.


It shares information, stimulates innovation and puts disabled people at the heart of the design process, particularly through its free online service,, which offers product testing, review and advice service for disabled people, their families, care professionals and equipment manufacturers.
The competition has been promoted on bespoken, which allows its users to discuss and share new ideas and insights as to how they can improve their quality of life.


Entrants can participate by signing up to bespoken, for free, and posting their idea in the Student Design Challenge forum.


The design brief should cover no more than one A4 sheet of paper and also be accompanied by a short video, approximately one minute long, which outlines why the design is innovative, it’s potential to change lives and why it will enable people to become more independent.


Established by Dr Margaret Blackwood in 1972, Blackwood now has 350 staff across and manages 1600 properties across Scotland.


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