00.01 My name’s Graham S, I’m a partnership manager in employer engagement at Cambridge Regional College. Employer engagement is delivering qualifications in the work place, and my job is to work with those training teams and help them overcome problems and make sure they hit their targets. A good example would be health and social care, where we work with carers in residential homes and I have to help the organisations manage shift programmes, help them find new staff if they need more staff. Just overcome any problems that arise as they’re going forward.
00.34 I was probably not a very good student. I think I’m bright enough but I always used to get “Could try harder”. I enjoyed history, I enjoyed English but I didn’t really enjoy school at all. When I was at school I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do later on. None whatsoever, so when I left school I didn’t know what I was going to do.
00.58 When I was growing up my family were always very clear that we were going to grow up and we were going to be adults and it was our responsibility to look after ourselves. Yes, of course, they’re a family and they’re there behind us when we have problems, and we all have problems, but it was up to us. I was pushed into banking because I didn’t know what else to do. And that was about the help that I got. From there it was up to me to make my own way. To study or not study, to progress or not progress. I think that sink or swim approach in the long term has helped me. We all have difficult times, but at the end of the day I know I have to fall back on my own resource. If something happens to me, I have to put it right. If I’m responsible for something, I have to take that responsibility and see it through. And that’s something I learnt from my parents.
01.43 After I studied business studies at college, I still didn’t know what to do. My parents were really rather keen that I did something, so they suggested in a forceful manner that I should try joining a bank. And so I applied to all the major High Street banks and was interviewed by three of them and offered a number of jobs. I was working at Barclays Bank for only four years and I went to London to go on a training course for two weeks, which I really enjoyed and I watched the instructors having a great time in showing everybody what they needed to do and helping everybody.
02.14 And I thought, “I could do that.” So when I went back to my branch I said, “I really want to be a training instructor, what can I do about it?” They organised for me to go for a week’s training, which was a test week. I was filmed delivering presentations and so on and so forth, and then you go back to your branch again and at some point you’re called back when there’s a vacancy for an instructor and you go there for a year. I was doing what’s called branch accounting which is supervision of that initial department I started in. And you only go for a year because you have to remain current with what’s actually happening in that department. And then you go back to the branch again. And I loved it.
02.51 The turning point was really going on the course and seeing other people getting paid to do this job which looked like great fun, having a real laugh, meeting different people couple of weeks and that’s what I wanted to do. I’d really enjoyed the training, I’d personally had grown a lot from that experience and had benefitted greatly. When I went back to branch work so I could retain the currency of my skills, I realised that that didn’t have the variety, it didn’t have the people interaction that I wanted. So that was where I changed and moved out into working in government training and private training providers, and really effectively that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
03.28 I’ve got loads of hobbies. I keep 10 free-range chickens. I collect guitars, I have seven guitars which I play for my own amusement. I’m interested in American history. I’m interested in birds so I monitor the local bird population. I have four children, three cats, two dogs, one wife, not necessarily in order of importance.
03.51 If I could go back in time and talk to myself at school I don’t think there’s too much I’d change, but I’d say to myself earlier on, “Have more confidence in yourself, be yourself. Everything will work out. You don’t have to have a plan, as long as you know what you need and you can get it, it will all work out.”