Tech Industry Gold graduate, Josh Wintersgill, turned inventor and entrepreneur has won the Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs 2018. Josh, who graduated in 2015 from the University of the West of England, Bristol with a first-class honours degree, developed the “Able-Move” sling, which helps people with reduced mobility transfer safely, comfortably and with dignity to and from aeroplane seats. Josh who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, says he faces many physical challenges himself but wanted to help people with reduced mobility overcome the difficulties associated with travel.
Josh’s ‘eureka moment’ transpired from being frustrated with waiting for transferring equipment and specialist assistance when flying. The entrepreneur spent five months developing the product, which he says is “between a sling and a seat” that can be hoisted in and out of a wheelchair and plane seats. The award, jointly run by the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Leonard Cheshire, started 12 years ago. It recognises the achievements of disabled entrepreneurs in the UK. Josh secured the winning prize of £30,000 from a short list of five entrants which came from a diverse mix of sectors.
It’s getting the mix right.
Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees give students industry-relevant academic learning, integrated with the technical, business and interpersonal skills that place them in high demand in digital careers.
As Josh studied for the Tech Industry Gold accredited degree, he learned the knowledge and fundamentals of project planning and turning a concept into a product. Josh explored all the opportunities which the degree offered, from an industry placement to representing his year group, as a student ambassador, which involved acting as the conduit between students, the course leader and, Tech Partnership Degrees. Taking these opportunities on board put him in a strong position to network, communicate with others and have the confidence to take an idea and develop it into a product.
Josh added: “The Tech Industry Gold accredited degree provides a platform to give students the best possible place to develop the fundamental skills and experience required by employers in the IT industry of today. Since graduating, I became a Cyber Security manager and have set up my own company aimed at making the aviation industry more accessible for people with physical reduced mobility”.
We wish Josh all the best of luck with his aviation innovation.