LEGO Designer Tells National Radio How Course Helped Land Dream Job

17 February 2014

'LEGO graduate' Sam Johnson

Product Design graduate Sam Johnson is now a Designer for toy company LEGO in Denmark.

I would say not to give up, even if it sounds a bit silly. I wanted to be a LEGO Designer and ended up making it.

Product Design graduate Sam Johnson's advice on pursuing your dream job.

LEGO designer and University of Derby Product Design graduate Sam Johnson was interviewed on BBC Radio 4'sSaturday Live programme, for a feature on 'dream jobs'.

The popular 90 minute weekend programme - which regularly attracts well over a million listeners - runs from 9am on Saturdays on the national BBC station.

Last Saturday (February 15) presenter the Reverend Richard Coles interviewed Sam, a 2011 graduate of Derby's BA (Hons) Product Design course, about his work as a Designer for toy building brick company LEGO, based in Denmark. The interview was for a running feature on dream jobs and doubly apt, as The LEGO Movie was released in UK cinemas at the weekend.

Asked by presenter, the Reverend Richard Coles, about how he'd gained his own dream job Sam said that, having known even as a child what he wanted to do, he'd then written a letter asking LEGO headquarters what training he'd need to work for them.

Sam told the programme: "They sent me a list back of qualifications that a Designer would typically have. After I got the letter I just went off on my own. I ended up going all the way up to University to study in Product Design, all based on this letter I got from them.

"When I was in University, coming towards the end of the course, I was trying really hard to get chosen for an (annual) exhibition in London, called the New Designers' Exhibition. I was lucky enough to get a place and I found out LEGO would be searching for new designers there. I sent a ton of emails from my University to all different LEGO addresses and explained that this was my life story. They sent a reply back thanking me for my persistence."

Meeting a LEGO representative (who would later become his manager) at the New Designers' Exhibition, Sam was invited to attend a two-day interview at the company's Denmark headquarters; which included having to build a model without instructions or the box to guide him. He was later offered a permanent job with LEGO.

On what advice he'd give others pursuing their dream job, Sam told the BBC programme: "I would say not to give up, even if it sounds a bit silly. I wanted to be a LEGO Designer and ended up making it."

To listen to Sam's interview on Saturday Live go to the BBC iPlayer website online at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03v9nng - the interview runs from 1:17:15 (one hour, 17 minutes and 15 seconds into the programme) until 1:22:26.

The programme will be available online until the end of Friday (February 21).

To read more about how the University of Derby originally featured Sam's story see www.derby.ac.uk/samjohnson.

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