During the run-up to the Skills Fair 2020, I will be celebrating the fantastic career opportunities in Copeland from A-Z.
A is for Architect
After finishing his GCSEs at Millom Secondary School, Allard studied his A-Levels at Keswick Sixth Form and went on to graduate from Northumbria University with a First Class Honours in Architecture. Allard has worked on some fantastic projects but perhaps his most impressive to date is the truly beautiful b&b 1692 Wasdale. Unlike most architects, Allard loves to get involved with the construction, as well as the design, and has enjoyed developing a plethora of skills from a range of trades.
You can find out more about Allard and his career as an architect during the Skills Fair 2020 from the 24th of August. Allard and 1692 also featured on 4 in a bed, which you can watch here.
B is for Brewer
I had the pleasure of meeting Dave, head brewer at Ennerdale Brewery who took me on an insightful tour around Ennerdale Brewery. Before becoming head brewer at Ennerdale, Dave studied Chemistry at the University of Manchester and worked within the beer industry - including Heineken. Along with the successful and award winning ales, Dave also designed and created the newly Gold winning larger Seven Bridges - which has been a great success and is absolutely delicious.
You might get the chance to meet Dave and the rest of the team during a brewery tour, where you can understand the fascinating process of how the beers are created. For more information please visit http://www.ennerdalebrewery.co.uk/
C is for Chef
It was lovely to meet Mark, chef at the award winning restaurant Mizu Pan Asian Restaurant within the truly stunning Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa. Mark originally trained in France and has been a chef for 22 years, 6 of which he has spent working for Lake District Hotels. Mark enjoys seeing the customers’ excitement when they are presented with the dish and the creativity that being a chef allows.
If you would like to visit Mizu and try the incredible Pan-Asian style food, you can find more information here.
Look out for videos from people working within the food and drink industry from the 24th of August.
D is for Dog Walker
Before owning her own dog walking business - Happy Hounds West Cumbria - Sara initially wanted to go down the hospitality route and although she loved her role, she wanted to be her own boss. Sara always enjoyed the outdoors and had a big interest in animals - but dogs especially! Whilst having the responsibility of looking after others’ dogs is a challenge, the reward of spending the day with dogs in the beautiful countryside makes it all worth while. You can see Sara, the dogs and some of their amazing adventures over on the Happy Hounds West Cumbria Facebook page.
There will be videos and advice from risk takers and entrepreneurs just like Sara from the 24th of August for the Skills Fair 2020.
E is for Electrical Engineer
Savannah began studying NVQ Level 2 in Electrical Engineering at Furness College in 2016 and secured an electrical design engineering higher apprenticeship at Athena PTS in September 2018. Like many businesses, Savannah and her colleagues had to quickly and efficiently adapt to a new way of working due to the coronavirus outbreak, yet the team successfully managed to work on many projects remotely. Savannah recently completed her first year HNC in June this year, meaning she is one step closer to qualifying as an electrical engineer. As her favourite aspect of being an apprentice is the on-the-job learning, Savannah hopes to continue gaining and developing valuable skills whilst also being part of a friendly and professional team. Check out Athena’s website for more information.
You can find out more about the projects, goals and opportunities at Athena PTS and other businesses from the 24th of August.
F is for Farmer
Robert grew up on a family farm and has been involved in agriculture from a young age, he is now director and project manager of Beckside Farm & Construction within the Whicham Valley. The 650 acre farm stocks 230 dairy cows and 950 adult sheep, as well as providing construction facilities and equipment hire. Robert has taken an active role in renewable energy, since 2011 Beckside constructed 6 hydro-electric schemes, with number 7 nearing completion. Earlier this year, Robert installed a state-of-the-art rotary milking parlour, with animal welfare and environmental sensitivity receiving equal importance. His latest achievement is becoming chair of the Millom Town Bid Board. Robert and his family have taken an active role in the community – his energy and commitment is inspirational.
You can find more information about the work Robert does and Beckside Farm over on the Beckside website.
We will be representing our fantastic agriculture industry during the Skills Fair 2020 from the 24th – 28th of August.
G is for Geologist
And Dennis rocks! Brought up in Darlington and despite an early intention to set to the skies as a pilot, Dennis headed in the opposite direction and completed his geology degree at the University of Leeds. After graduating, Dennis hit gold, mining in Northern Ireland then headed down under, and then further under... to work at a metallurgical (coking coal) mine in Australia.
Dennis has a deep understanding of his industry and had our team fascinated by his geological knowledge and passion. Over the last four years, Dennis has worked on the Woodhouse Colliery which will bring 500 jobs to West Cumbria, local benefits and infrastructure improvements. Dennis is a vital asset on the West Cumbria Mining team and it’s brilliant that he’s settling into Whitehaven. You can find out more information about West Cumbria Mining on their website - https://www.westcumbriamining.com/.
Look out for future WCM open days and find out more about careers in geology at my Skills Fair 2020.
H is for Hairdresser
Diane Lawson has been hairdressing for a whopping 29 years, most of which spent as a freelancer, in control of her own diary - working in her client’s homes and from her purpose built, boutique cabin. Diane began her apprenticeship at a salon in Seascale, studying at Workington College. An advocate of life long learning, in 2007 Diane advanced her skills by attending an 18 month course at Kendal College whilst continuing to work. As I am sure many hairdressers will appreciate, Diane’s world crashed when she was told her business had to close due to the coronavirus outbreak.
After a tough 24 hours, she picked herself up and redeployed her skillset onto the frontline as a carer. Now back at the cutting edge, Diane has returned to her clients, she loves being a hairdresser as she is able to meet many people, make life-long friends and continuously develop her skills. I certainly appreciated her being able to sort out my hair after a very overdue cut and colour!
You can find more about Diane's career journey plus get advice about joining the profession on the 24th of August.
I is for Interior Designer
Amelia moved to Cumbria and sought a career where her creative flair and love of interiors could combine in our beautiful county. She has a wealth of experience renovating older properties, something we both share a love of. With some night class courses behind her, in furniture restoration and upholstery, Amelia put her interiors knowledge and passion for people, experience of working with trades and project management to great use and has now had five successful years running her own Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd based from her home at Asby.
Amelia’s projects are as diverse as her clients; from rooms to restaurants and pubs to clubhouses she has an ever growing portfolio. Seeing the process through from initial client consultation to mood board concepts and ideas to the completed project is hugely rewarding says Amelia, especially to see the delight on her clients’ faces.
J is for Joiner
And speaking from experience, a good quality, reliable joiner is worth looking after. Darren qualified after leaving Millom School and has spent his adult life honing his skills, building up a bank of happy customers. He has enjoyed the transformation of a great variety of projects, both residential and commercial working on his own and as part of a team.
Whilst Darren knew what he wanted to do early on, it really is never too late to learn. During Skills Fair 2020, between 24th - 28th August we shall explain the many options to gain a trade. From night classes to apprenticeships, NVQs to degree qualifications, across a broad range of subjects. Reliable, talented tradespeople will always be in demand and having the skills to craft and create will not only make and save you money but will also provide a real feeling of personal satisfaction.
K is for Kettlebell Instructor
Ten years ago, mum of three, Debbie was working in an office with a dream to become healthier. After joining her local fitness club, Debbie embarked upon a Level 2 Fitness Instructing night class at Kendal College. She hit her own target weight and went on to instruct, motivating others to also enjoy the many benefits of being healthy. When lockdown struck, her usual classes had to pause... but there was no stopping Debbie who swung her kettlebells into action, and aided by virtual technology, kept the community fit with online classes three times a week.
Debbie has doubled Bootle Fitness membership and brought attendees from further afield. Now, chair of Bootle Fitness, qualified gymnastic, kettlebell and spinning coach, Debbie says her confidence has grown from a personal appreciation for exercise, to feeling huge satisfaction as she helps others to get fit.
Life-long learning will be a feature of the Skills Fair 2020 from the 24th-28th of August.
L is for Laboratory Scientist
Ciao! Meet Antonio, born and raised in Italy, he studied his Masters in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Pisa, completed his PhD at The University of Manchester, and now works at the National Nuclear Laboratory. Antonio is paving the way for wireless technology to feature in nuclear decommissioning.
His pioneering work will advance the progress across the Sellafield site. The facilities at NNL along with the walking, climbing, cycling and friendliness of us West Cumbrians made moving to Copeland a good choice for Antionio and his wife Guilia, who has also taken up her own career as a Building Information Modelling Architect. Two incredibly exciting roles, right here in Cumbria.
Find out more about careers in nuclear and the National Nuclear Laboratory during Skills Fair 24-28th August.
M is for Marketing Director
With seven fabulously beautiful hotels, Dani’s role as the director of marketing within Lake District Hotels is abundant with inspiration, inside and out. Educated at Keswick School, Dani knew she wanted to play an integral part of her family’s business so undertook a marketing degree at Manchester Metropolitan University followed by a year out in the US, which she recommends anyone working in marketing to do.
Dani attributes much of her creative flair to her mum, who she says has an infectious passion for interiors, and a visit to any one of the hotels demonstrates that abundant talent. Dani is particularly interested in skills development across the team and takes a keen interest in the next generation of hospitality roles. Dani and her team will explain more about these opportunities during Skills Fair 24-28th August. You can find more about the family business here - https://www.lakedistricthotels.net/
N is for Nurse Cadet
For as long she can remember, Francesca has wanted to be a nurse at West Cumberland Hospital. When she received her GCSE grades two years ago, she thought that dream had been shattered. Failing the grades in Maths and English meant she couldn’t get onto her Nurse Cadet course. Picking herself up, and supported by Lakes College Francesca enrolled on an NVQ3 in Health and Social Care and also secured a job with Cumbria County Council at their Lapstone House Residential Care Home. She retook her exams 12 months later, got back on track and became a Nurse Cadet. With an agonising wait of just one further day, Francesca hopes to embark on the next stage at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Medical School where she would undertake a degree in nursing whilst on placement at West Cumberland Hospital.
Francesca’s determination to succeed has led to her securing a job on the bank of health care assistants at WCH, ensuring she’ll have both the academic training and practical experience. Never giving up is Francesca’s attitude, which I commend wholeheartedly as a way to get where you want to be in life. Find out more about the health and social care opportunities in Copeland at my Skills Fair 2020, from the 24th to the 28th of August.
O is for Outdoor Instructor
Want to spend your days scaling mountains, kayaking across lakes, building rope bridges over rivers and abseiling down spectacular descents? Whilst you can do this in your spare time living in Cumbria, how about a career where everyday is an adventure? Consider a career as an outdoors instructor like Steve, who became smitten with our area during a school trip to the beautiful Eskdale Valley.
With some 17 years experience Steve and his wife Caroline’s business has grown each year and despite a really difficult start to 2020, West Lakes Adventure is open and busy again, which is brilliant. Of course, when daily physical challenge is your game, personal and business development is an associated aim. In addition to a successful outdoor pursuits business, Steve and Caroline have built an impressive portfolio of international corporate clients which means lots of travelling - and an even greater appreciation for their home in the simply stunning Eskdale Valley.
P is for Politician
And there are as many routes to becoming a politician or Parliamentarian as there are positions. After leaving Wyndham Comprehensive I studied hospitality at Workington College. I started out stacking shelves on a Saturday, then took up waitressing, became a travel agent then moved to Sellafield where I worked as a tech clerk across the site. When we started our family, I felt a burning instinct to get more involved with the community, to effect positive change. Working as a childminder, becoming the local pre-school chair, school governor then parish councillor paved the way to joining Copeland Borough Council as a regeneration officer, where at age 35, and a mum of four, I undertook my part-time foundation degree in sustainable communities at Uni of Salford.
More recently I have worked in social care, managed community projects and worked with renewable energy companies whilst volunteering. I became Copeland’s MP in February 2017 and three elections later I still really enjoy the role. My day is hugely varied, often challenging but also incredibly rewarding. I have always enjoyed working with like minded ‘can-do’ positive people and this job is no different. I’m blessed with a hard-working team who strive each day to do their very best, and I’m privileged to work alongside the most wonderful people playing their part in Copeland’s future.
You can find out more about how to get involved with your community, in paid and voluntary roles during Skills Fair 2020. 24-28 August.
Q is for Quality Assurance
In an area where highly regulated industries dominate, there will always be a requirement for talented quality assurance roles. Doug started out as an apprentice at the then Barrow Shipyard (now BAE). He progressed up the compliance ladder to the quality control department where submarine inspection filled his days. Doug’s interest in QA has led him to work across the energy sectors, travelling all over the world. Doug became a lead assessor for Lloyd’s and set up his Limited company over 20 years ago.
Understanding the standards required for each job is critical, it also means knowing what qualification an individual needs to hold, what metal a component should be made from or which process must be followed. Doug’s job is varied, though his specialist knowledge is ISO 19443 which is a critical standard required across the nuclear industry. Doug is a perfect example of how apprenticeships can pave the way for a fantastic career. You can find out more on the Department for Education website - https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship
R is for Ranger
From a young age, Nathan had a passion for the outdoors and wildlife, and where better to develop that interest into a lifelong career than here in Cumbria. A student at Whitehaven School, Nathan went on to study Countryside Management at the University of Hull and although he enjoyed his time in the city, his appreciation for Cumbria grew stronger. Nathan was successful in gaining a 1 year student placement with Forestry England - that was some 20 years ago! Nathan loves being so close to nature whilst being able to call the forest his office, but his favourite aspect of the job are the people - whether it's working with fantastic colleagues and dedicated volunteers or visitors from around the world, coming to develop the same appreciation for the countryside as he has.
Nathan is one of many inspirational people that you will be able to listen to during Skills Fair from the 24th of August. You’ll find more information about Forestry Commission careers and the work they do on their website - https://www.forestryengland.uk/careers and do tune in to Skills Fair 2020 next week.
S is for Software Developer
Whether you’re looking for bespoke software development, mobile application design or a lovely new website, Buzy Bee Software Services has a solution. With Keith’s many years of tech experience and Trish’s artistic design flare this duo are a perfect compliment. Keith and Trish started Buzy Bee Software in 2013. Trish previously worked as a mental health nurse, after her training at Workington College. A Multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 1998 meant Trish was forced to change her career. She attributes her fighting spirit to staying busy, editing newsletters and designing. Trish was a finalist in the MS National Awards for the layout and content on the Copeland Branch MS Society website. There is much more to learn about this inspirational duo and you can find out so much more next week.
Trish and Keith are currently in the process of updating their website this week but for more information about the services Buzy Bee Software Services provide, check out their current website - https://www.buzybeesoftwareservices.co.uk/
Whether you’re celebrating or contemplating next steps, just finished school or justifying a career move, Skills Fair 2020 will provide plenty of inspiration, advice, tips and contacts for further and higher education, apprenticeships, jobs and developing your business.
T is for Tourism Manager
Vanessa absolutely loves her job as Tourism Manager with the Keswick Tourism Association, but it wasn’t what she set out to do. Leaving school, Vanessa worked for British Steel and then went into the banking industry. Not surprisingly, knowing Vanessa, she moved to work in a role where the focus would be around people (a desire I can easily relate to). Vanessa says her job is varied with no two days the same and it’s her pleasure to promote the wonderful market town of Keswick and surrounding area.
She spends her days liaising with industry leaders, local businesses and the public, promoting our area across various social media platforms, updating the KTA website and compiling written articles for press and the Keswick Guide. Recently, Vanessa’s role has focussed on advising the visitor economy with up-to-date legislation, financial assistance and Covid secure guidelines. I know from speaking with businesses that Vanessa’s positivity and enthusiasm for Keswick and her personal skills, along with her dedication to the job has been a vital support line, particularly over recent months.
Vanessa will be talking more about her role as Tourism Manager at the Keswick Tourism Association at the Skills Fair 2020 next week.
U is for Undertaker
Anyone who has experienced the passing of a special someone will know the unbearable pain of the aftermath. After the death of my dad I was daunted by the prospect of organising his funeral, but Ross and the team at Adams, Read and Hocking calmed my nerves, talked our family through the procedure and ensured that the darkest days of our lives had aspects of perfection and pride in the way that we celebrated my dad’s life. Like many in our A-Z, Ross didn’t set out to be an undertaker but a job change from being a fitter has resulted in an incredibly rewarding career. He says whilst he enjoyed working at Sellafield he doesn’t look back with any regret about his mid-life career change. There are no specific qualifications required to become an undertaker or funeral director, but it does require very special personal and organisational skills. Ross enjoys being there to provide support, he will visit the bereaved family and will advise on everything from death certification to the perfect song choice. It’s not a job you can call 9-5. Being an undertaker requires immense professionalism - Ross speaks of his team with pride, it’s a job not everyone could do, but it’s a job we shall all need.
If you’re like Ross and considering the possibility of a career change, there will be advice, support and more inspiration available next week during the Skills Fair 2020.
V is for Vet
A full on five year degree, long unsociable hours and hard graft might be off-putting to some, but not Mark. He had an early ambition to become a vet and worked on farms and with animal charities to gain vital experience needed to compliment a degree undertaken at the University of Glasgow, to make his way as a fully qualified BVMS MRCVS veterinarian working at West Lakeland Vets.
Many will know that a vet will tend to animals small and large, domestic and farm, cuddly and fluffy, scaly and scary but what I hadn’t appreciated is that the role of a vet is also critical for public health and especially food safety. Originally from South Lanarkshire, Mark has settled in Copeland having been based at his Whitehaven surgery since 2013. Mark’s advice for anyone considering a vet role is to keep the end goal in mind, get the grades, be dedicated and stand out from the crowd by finding ways to demonstrate a passion for animal welfare - because that’s what it’s all about.
W is for Wedding Planner
Visiting Hazel’s spectacular wedding venue,
in the Vale of Lorton brought me to tears, not because of the beautifully designed ceremonial hayloft room and all other rooms, nor the stunning setting, but because Hazel’s 30 years of passion and perfection are currently jeopardised by a global pandemic. The wedding industry is worth £10bn to the UK economy but it is currently one of the worst affected sectors. Thankfully the Association of British Wedding Businesses is fighting back and I’m supporting Hazel at New House Farm along with other venues and businesses. They contribute so much to Cumbria. I have every confidence that weddings will resume because the stakes are simply too high to face the inevitable closures. So perhaps right now isn’t the best time to be talking about the incredibly rewarding career you could have as a wedding planner, but as we nudge towards normality I hope weddings and all that goes with them - the churches and venues, stationers, florists and cake makers, hairdressers and beauticians, food and drink providers, music and entertainment, the outfits and cars, jewellers and all other businesses will recover and resume with weddings for more than 30 guests so Hazel Thompson and other wedding planners can deliberate over every detail to ensure the bride, groom with their family and friends can enjoy their perfect big day.
X is for X-ray / Radiographer
When Gareth completed his studies at Wyndham School, he was unsure of his career aspirations and options for further education. He started out as a DJ at local pubs then worked in a range of industries before securing a role at Sellafield as a Site Inspector - where he developed an interest in radiography. Since working in the nuclear industry, Gareth has completed qualifications in radiography, magnetic particle, penetrant, weld and paint inspection and is now Operations Director at Responsive Limited for the Non-Destructive Testing department. Gareth’s favourite aspect of his job is the problem solving and variation, whilst many of Responsive’s clients are from the oil, gas and nuclear sectors, Gareth has also carried out radiography on road bike frames and motorsport fuel injectors - always ensuring their trademark ‘integrity saves lives’.
To find out more about the array of services and career opportunities that Responsive Ltd provide, check out their website - https://responsivendt.com/
Radiographers work across medical and manufacturing sectors, and you can find out about careers in both during our virtual skills fair this week.
Y is for Yacht Maker
Cue the Howard’s Way theme tune for the intro to this wonderful couple’s business venture at Whitehaven Marina. Back in the late 80s, Howard’s Way was one of my favourite TV programmes - little did I know that we had our real life Tom and Jan operating a successful business in Copeland. When Julie and Mark retired from the Royal Navy their futures were uncertain but their love for sailing was ever-growing. Since building Boatwork Ltd and moving to Whitehaven, Mark and Julie have brought clients from all over the country to the area and have kept themselves very busy. Their business offers a range of services from general yacht repairs and maintenance, to full restoration - both taking a hands-on approach in every service they provide. Julie and Mark are a perfect example of turning a hobby into a successful business venture.
You can find out more about the services Boatwork, and other business at the Boatyard, on the Boatwork website - https://www.boatwork.co.uk/
If you’re interested to find out how Mark and Julie developed their business and their career journey, look out for their video this week for the Skills Fair 2020.