QHow did you come to join the organisation?
AAfter receiving some excellent training through my apprenticeship years as a heating/gas engineer, I always wanted to enter into teaching at some stage of my career. When I got an opportunity to work with some really inspirational people at an outstanding college, it was a very easy choice. I was offered a role as a lecturer in the plumbing department.
QWhat was the organisation like then?
ASouth Devon College had moved to a new and exciting venue and was emerging as one of the best colleges in the country, inspired by excellent leadership and vision, which was very clear to me from day one. It is an organisation that invests a lot of time and resources into developing staff and improving the quality of teaching, which was recognised in the Ofsted report 2009. The college was graded as "Outstanding" is all areas of provision.
QWho has been your most significant mentor?
AI have been blessed by the fact I have come into contact with so many excellent mentors in my career though the years. My dad being the first, I was his apprentice for the first five years of my working life. He showed to me the importance of developing skills both in life and in your career. When I started work in the college my mentor was Barry Jones, who really inspired me to develop my skills and move into management and my current manager, Simon Friend, is carrying on that good work of mentoring.
QHow did you get appointed to your current role?
A The college is always striving to provide new opportunities for everyone in the community in new and emerging employment areas. The low carbon sector is the fastest growing sector in the UK and will continue to grow over the next 10 to 20 years, with a high level of growth predicted in the South West. I was lucky to be part of the visionary team which identified the need for skills in this sector and was given the role as director of the Energy Centre, previously being the section head of building services.
QHow have thing changed since then?
A The new South West Energy Centre is due to complete in July 2013. With the support and guidance of college's senior management team and a lot of hard work, we have taken an idea and made it into a reality. The centre will provide training, guidance and advice to people and businesses in the South West on matters relating to the low carbon sector including energy consumption, carbon management, sustainable construction and government initiatives. My job involves working closely with large organisations and developing relationships within the industry. A very important part of the role is to encourage businesses to become part of the project through sponsorship, with companies including Worcester Bosch, Schneider Electric, SSE and Jewson's are already at an advanced stage of negotiation. The South West Energy Centre will also deliver a range of full-time courses to give young people in the community, from 16 years upwards, an opportunity to learn new skills to be trained and gain employment in this exciting sector.
QWhat major challenges have you faced?
A I have always strived to develop in my career; I suppose the transformation from working on site as an engineer to academia was a major challenge, which needed a lot of support from both from my employer and my family. I am a great believer in lifelong learning as I don't think there is a stage in life when you stop having to adapt to circumstances. The current challenge is creating awareness of the opportunities that the low carbon sector will bring over the next 10-15 years both for industry and the community and getting people to realise the positive effect on our community by providing jobs, new careers, business growth and consumers saving money through energy efficiency activities. I have found that most major challenges in people's careers can be overcome with determination, support, hard work and a positive attitude.
QHow would you describe your management style?
A Lead by example and make sure that the team is supported in whatever way they need to achieve their outcomes. Honest and fair in decision making.
QHow do you keep enthused and keep things fresh?
A Teaching is one of those professions that has great job satisfaction, especially when you see learners develop their skills and achieve, or they return some years later to share news of their successful careers. Home life plays a big part with children, grand children and a loving wife, Maria. I am in a very privileged position in that I work for an organisation that encourages you to inspire, which will always keep things fresh.