Industrial Design student is highly commended for their economical response to managing money

Industrial Design and Technology student, Matty Hodgkins, has been highly commended by the RSA Student Design Awards for his project 'ProQuo', an economical response to their 'Just About Managing' brief.

The RSA Student Design Awards is a global curriculum and competition that challenges students to apply their skills and creativity to tackle today’s most pressing social and environmental issues. The 'Just About Managing' brief, sponsored by Marketing Trust asked "How might we support displaced individuals to find hope, dignity and safety to rebuild their lives?"

When he heard about the brief, Matty immediately knew that he was going to engage with the opportunity, as it provided the chance to use the toolkit of skills he'd been developing over the past three years in an entirely new way. It offered the oppotunity for Matty to blur the lines between the creation of physical items, applications and experiences, and use design as a tool for solving wider social issues, something which he could apply his skills to issues he cared about.

Pro quo Problem

Within the UK, gig workers make up the largest section of the economically insecure through various issues such as volatile hours and a lack of workers rights. When faced with economic hardship, universal credit cannot respond to their cash-flow challenges fast enough, before taking on debt becomes the only option and debt forces you to repay with the resource you fundamentally lack.

Matty explains that:

"My response to this challenge was ProQuo, an online platform for the exchange of cash injections for services. Gig workers can sign up as a service provider and offer their varied skillsets to their extended network of friends, who, in return, provide cash injections equal to the amount of services they receive. The sum of funds, not immediately withdrawn by gig workers, are invested by ProQuo. The profits from these investments are then used to support the platform and sponsor gig workers to receive specialist training in the field of their choice. Through this service gig workers are offered both short and long-term pathways into economic security."

Pro quo Solution image

Speaking of his commendation, Matty says that:

"It feels validating to have been commended in the RSA awards this year. Before entering the competition, I was unsure of how I wanted to progress my design career. Having gone through this process, I’ve been exposed to a completely new way to apply the skills I’ve developed at Loughborough and I now have clear aspirations about the type of designer I want to be and how I can create a career in this field."

You can view Matty's project and online degree showcase here.