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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Learning how to 'do it herself'
Carrieann Heath
Carrieann Heath is designing a range of "girlie" power tools
Carrieann Heath found cultivating innovation was not at the forefront of her educational curriculum.

She left school with a smattering of CSEs - and a desire to be creative which led her to hairdressing.

But two decades later she has a degree in graphic design and is designing her own range of "girlie" power tools, in feminine sizes and coloured hot pink.

"I've always been creative but I just didn't think I could do something like this," she said.

Carrieann, 36, from Sherborne in Dorset was diagnosed as having dyslexia at school and did not thrive in an academic environment.

She worked as a hairdresser until taking an evening class in jewellery design - all the while looking after her now teenage son on her own.

Her tutor encouraged her to pursue her interest and she did an art foundation year before doing her degree which she completed last year.

Her degree led her to do the design work for a tool company - where she suggested they produce equipment designed specifically for women.

Do It Herself

"They laughed," she said. "So I thought I'd have a go at doing it myself."

Her aim is to produce a range of power tools and DIY (or DIH - Do It Herself) kits aimed at the female market.

"I found through my focus groups that women wanted smaller handles, for example," she said.

She is currently taking part in the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship's three-day Flying Start event.

Held at Manchester Metropolitan University it involves 59 creative entrepreneurs who were selected competitively to take part in a series of workshops to boost their business ideas.

They will also be offered advice on topics such as securing funding.

The NCGE is an independent organisation aiming to raise the profile of entrepreneurship.

I've had more support in my educational experiences since school

Carrieann's experience echoes the thoughts of inventor James Dyson.

Mr Dyson plans to set up a school aimed at encouraging would-be engineers and designers.

He said schools often failed to encourage such skills.

'Out of control'

Carrieann said: "I wasn't really encouraged at school. I've always been creative but I didn't know where to channel this.

"I tried hairdressing immediately after school and was always the colourist as that was creative but it just wasn't enough.

"It was only when I went to do a night class that the tutor took me to one side and said 'you've got to carry on with this'. So I've had more support in my educational experiences since school."

She added: "The evening class was about seven years ago and I graduated last year - since then I've been spiralling out of control creatively."




SEE ALSO
Dyson school 'to boost engineers'
10 Jul 06 |  Education

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