Courteney Eccles

Courteney Eccles

Product Development Engineer, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare  
Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design

She had plenty of highlights throughout her time at AUT, says art and design alumna Courteney Eccles who completed a Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design, with a minor in creative entrepreneurship.

“A highlight for me was forming unexpected friendships that I will maintain for a lifetime, but also finding my passion and unlocking my motivation as my degree progressed.

“One particular standout for me was a pair project that required an app design alongside a physical product, and included new design thinking techniques. That project taught me about how valuable and enriching collaborative work can be for a successful product, and gave me great insight into the areas of design I really enjoyed; the health and wellbeing space, ergonomic, intuitive and human-centred design.”

Her passion for health and wellbeing design also earned her some well-deserved attention.

“I had three of my products chosen as finalists in the Designers institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards in the student product category, and received an award for outstanding third-year project with my graduation project. I’m incredibly proud of my projects gaining recognition as finalists in the Best Design Awards.”

Making a difference to healthcare
Since graduating from AUT at the end of 2020, Courteney now enjoys applying her understanding of product design to surgical technologies through her role as a product development engineer at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

“Our team is responsible for the development of new products that encompass innovative technology to improve the patient outcomes after surgery. Our team works in a multi-disciplinary manner, meaning we see products through the entirety of their development. I enjoy the hands-on problem-solving approach of this role, and love working in the healthcare industry with such a big focus on patients and their wellbeing.”

For Courteney, her career at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare initially started with an internship after she finished university.

“I’m really proud of gaining my internship at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which opened the door to my current role. Throughout the application process I thought that not being an engineering student may be a disadvantage, but the skills I gained through my industrial design degree enabled me to talk about my projects and design practice with utter confidence. I truly surprised myself with that.”

Advice for other students
Courteney has some great advice for other students who are just starting to think about their university journey.

“Take your time to make your decision. Don’t let outside influences dictate your next move and once you find your passion, run with it.”

She knows all too well what she is talking about and admits that industrial design wasn’t what she had initially planned to study.

“Based on the classes I enjoyed throughout high school – graphic design, photography, and design and visual communications – it felt like a natural move to study architecture. Although I enjoyed parts of this course, I felt that it wasn’t a fit for me. I then began a science degree with the intention of moving into engineering, but unfortunately this led to a few years of feeling lost, uninspired and just plain confused.

“A turning point for me was visiting LA with a friend to stay with her cool musician aunty. My friend was in a very similar situation at the time, and we were both not enjoying our areas of study and feeling stuck. After being encouraged to reassess what I was doing, I found the industrial design degree at AUT and it seemed to fit like a perfect puzzle piece. I was drawn in by the focus on designing products that had a more meaningful and direct impact on the end users.”

*The Bachelor of Design is now known as Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design.