00:01 My name is Gary I and I’m the contract sales manager at Ulster Carpets here in Portadown.
00:08 We supply primarily five star hotels around the world and we develop carpeting schemes for those hotels so a lot of my job is actually involved with speaking to designers and architects, coming up with design schemes. They may come up with them, they may ask our designers to come up with them and it’s basically doing all that’s necessary from taking a piece of paper, a design on a piece of paper and translating that into a luxurious carpet for a five star hotel.
00:36 When I was at school my strength really was foreign languages. I was very good at French and I was very good at German and I always felt that I would probably go on to, to teach those languages. I then decided to go to university where I did a very academic, a very traditional degree in German and French.
00:55 When I left university, I think I was probably like quite a lot of people, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, but once I did my degree I applied to, to go to teacher’s training college and there was a little bit of a hiatus between being accepted or having applied and leaving college so I was fortunate in that I was given the opportunity to, to teach in a grammar school in, in Belfast, without a teaching qualification and I taught German and French I think for a period of eight or nine months. It was covering an extended maternity leave. And although I enjoyed it and was reasonably good at it, I decided that I didn’t want to be a teacher and instead I went into industry and I was fortunate enough, there was a, a linen company in Northern Ireland which was offering graduate placement schemes and I managed to be accepted for that scheme, to do sales and marketing. So really since then and I suppose initially based on the fact that I could speak a couple of foreign languages, I have been in industry. Now I’ve done in-house training, I’ve gone to various courses to become sales aware and to become a, a reasonably good salesman but that sort of happened accidentally in a way.
02:06 I was the only the only child from my family who went to university and I was under no particular pressure from my parents, they basically said, Gary do what you want to, do what you’re happy doing and my father worked for Blue Circle who are a large cement manufacturer so there was no correlation at all. I was never under any pressure from my parents to, to go to university or to, to leave school at sixteen or eighteen and go and find a job. It was left very much to, to me to decide what I wanted to do.
02:38 Unfortunately my father passed away during my first year at university and so he didn’t have the opportunity to see me graduating from Queens with my honours degree in German and French but my mum was there and I knew she was very proud.
02:51 I, I didn’t really enjoy my O level years, uh GCE, GCE O levels at that stage. I didn’t really enjoy those because we obviously were obliged to do eight or nine subjects and I found myself doing some subjects which I didn’t necessarily enjoy but really just to make up the quota. But when I go to the A level side of things obviously it was different. I, I chose the three subjects I enjoyed most.
03:12 I wanted to work for a company which still manufactured in Northern Ireland and exported to, to other parts of the world and I’ve been here now for just over two years and for me, I enjoy it.
03:26 My career path has changed very dramatically over the last few years. When I was at school I couldn’t see beyond using those subjects which I was best at, namely French and German and I thought, oh it just makes sense to be a teacher because that’s what everyone else does. But, but the more I have been involved in business and in lots of different areas of life, I, I think it’s so important that people should have at least one foreign language. Nothing gives me greater pleasure to do my presentation about Ulster Carpets in their language.