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Find out how David and Lynne benefited from our Technology Placement Programme
Inverness-based medical device product designer and developer iDE8 was founded in 2015 with a vision to help medical device companies develop the technologies to help improve health across the globe. iDE8 founder and company director, David Howarth, had spent two decades at the forefront of the industry and saw an opportunity for a complete design, validation and product release service. The company now provides this for its international client base.
When COVID-19 limited travel in 2020, iDE8 was faced with a challenge. Typically the company would undertake a comprehensive face-to-face quality and innovation management process with clients as part of their service, and suddenly these vital tasks had to be carried out remotely.
With no suitable quality management solution available, iDE8 began to look into ways of developing the bespoke technological innovations required in-house.
“There was no off-the-shelf software available to us that ticked all the boxes,” says David. “The cost would have been prohibitive and the solutions we did find would have meant an intensive education process to software suppliers about medical device development.”
He had considered hiring an external software supplier, but decided to take the project in-house when he learned about the Technology Placement Programme. David was attracted by the potential and saw it as a great opportunity to innovate by bringing in someone with up-to-date technology skills.
It has given me the opportunity to showcase my skillset, and then build on that, improving my technical and personal skills while gaining valuable experience.Lynne Buchan, Web Development Graduate , University of Aberdeen
After a comprehensive recruitment drive, University of Aberdeen graduate Lynne Buchan began a one-year paid placement at iDE8. The web development graduate was tasked with simplifying iDE8’s internal systems as well as creating a bespoke web application product for electronic quality and innovation management.
Three months into the placement David already knew it was paying off: “We chose Lynne from the many excellent candidates because she demonstrated that she could delve into the detail of the project but also talk from a big picture perspective.
“I’ve been really impressed with her progress. She is a graduate with a Masters, a great portfolio and a fantastic attitude. Lynne’s the perfect fit for us and right from the start she was asking key questions and challenging our assumptions.”
Lynne says that the placement at iDE8 has got her career off to a fantastic start, and she is thankful that the company was willing to take her on without her needing to have a set number of years of industry experience.
“iDE8 is an incredibly supportive company”, says Lynne. “It has given me the opportunity to showcase my skillset, and then build on that, improving my technical and personal skills while gaining valuable experience.”
I’ve found graduates are extremely quick to pick up new skills and apply new technologies while bringing in fresh thinking to your existing team. By bringing that skillset in-house, your business will benefit.David Howarth, Founder and Company Director, iDE8
David’s top reasons for taking part in the Technology Placement Programme were its ability to reduce the risk involved in hiring in a new skilled employee thanks to the contribution to wages, and the business support received from HIE staff in exploring the opportunity to grow iDE8 in the Highlands. His advice to other business owners is to think about how they want their business to grow and David has no regrets about choosing the placement route over buying in software or hiring in an external consultancy.
“Taking on a graduate is a way for almost every business to prepare for the future post-COVID-19,” adds David. “I’ve found graduates are extremely quick to pick up new skills and apply new technologies while bringing in fresh thinking to your existing team. By bringing that skillset in-house, your business will benefit.”
Davids final bit of advice is to consider the programme even if you’re not a technology-focused business. He says, “Whether you see yourself as a tech business or not, most businesses have adapted as a result of the pandemic, and you can find ways to develop a digital service or to improve an existing business process. The majority of companies could benefit from having someone who can solve challenges around developing a digital solution.”
The Technology Placement Programme is delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub, designed to build on and accelerate business innovation.
It is funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal - a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands. This programme also receives financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Innovation strategic intervention.
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