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The accidental engineer

Unafraid to stand apart, James Dyson has always done things differently. After toying with classics and art at school, he studied furniture design at the Royal College of Art. But instead of dowels and drawers, he found engineering. And with it, his passion.

Sir James Dyson building a prototype for the first bagless vacuum cleaner

"At school I opted for arts, put off by all the formulae in science. There was nothing that combined the two like design engineering does. I only stumbled on engineering by accident and immediately decided what I wanted to do – make things that work better."

James Dyson

Chief Engineer

Drawing depicting a cyclone

Dissatisfaction, reapplied

There had to be a better way

In 1978, dissatisfied with the performance of his new Hoover Junior vacuum cleaner, James had an idea. He'd spotted a local sawmill using cyclone technology to separate sawdust particles from the air. Could this work on a vacuum cleaner? James ripped off his Hoover's clogging, stinking bag and replaced it with a crude cardboard prototype of his cyclone design - and it worked!

notepad containing sketches of the Dyson cyclonic vacuum cleaner.

Perseverance and perfectionism

5,127 prototypes

James knew he was onto something, but it would take time to perfect his idea. Five years and 5,127 prototypes later, he created DC01, the world's first bagless vacuum cleaner.


Dyson is a global technology enterprise

Fast-forward over two decades. Dyson has grown from one man with one idea, to a global technology enterprise of over 7,000 people. More than 3,000 of them are engineers. From acoustic to robotic, software to electronic, they use their diverse skills to solve the problems others ignore.

Dyson engineers in Dyson's research and development lab working on a vacuum cleaner prototype.

Engineering tomorrow

The James Dyson Foundation

Every year, the UK faces a shortfall of 69,000 engineers. Failing to address it could cost the UK economy $34.8 billion. Every year. Very simply, we need more.

Feeling strongly that bright young minds shouldn't miss out on an engineering career, as he nearly did, James set up the James Dyson Foundation in 2002 to challenge misconceptions about engineering and combat the shortage.

Two school students in Japan building a cardboard prototype.

Worldwide ambition

The global challenge

The demand for engineers isn't limited to the UK. In order to keep up with economic demand, the US will need to produce one million more science, engineering, and math professionals over the next decade.

The James Dyson Foundation launched in the United States in 2011 and in Japan five years later. The Foundation also runs activities in 27 countries, encouraging young people from across the globe to pursue an engineering career.

A young engineer in practice.

Next generation

The Dyson Institute

James was determined to build on the work of the James Dyson Foundation.

The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology teaches the next generation of engineering enthusiasts: people with a passion for solving problems and a fascination for how things work. Students at the Institute work towards a degree in engineering, while holding a real engineering job in Dyson's cutting-edge Research, Design and Development department. They are Dyson engineers from day one.



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