What is your name?
What company do you currently work for?
Johnstons of Elgin
What is your job title?
Trainee Textile Manager
Provide a brief description of your business.
Fashion Textile Manufacturer
Describe your career pathway after leaving school.
I began at Johnstons of Elgin as a Textile Colourist after leaving school. I did that for a year before being promoted to Lab Coordinator. I held that position for a further three years.
Then decided after four years of work to go back to full-time study in Engineering Systems at Moray College. Unfortunately, I didn't have a sufficient Maths grade, so I studied in night classes at the college for a year to gain my Int2 in Maths.
I then graduated with an A from Engineering Systems in 2013 and immediately joined a company in the Oil & Gas industry as a Production Technician.
I spent six months in this role and was quickly promoted to Electro-Hydraulic Field Engineer where I would travel offshore to install and commission the equipment we manufactured. Then I was made redundant in 2016 when the price of oil fell.
I decided I needed to pursue a degree to broaden my prospects in other industries. So I applied for a BSc (Hons) in Product Design at Dundee University. I was accepted despite having one higher (in Music) and having no portfolio to show. Instead, I explained my work experience and how I believed I would succeed in the course given the opportunity to learn. I was granted an unconditional offer and joined in September 2017.
To support myself living in Dundee whilst studying I took a job as a Mobile Phone Sales Executive with Three UK. I held this position for the entirety of my degree.
I also began utilising the skills learned during my degree to start a freelance business branding consultancy, which I continued for two years.
Then upon graduating I accepted an offer to join NCR Corporation as a Quality Engineer in the financial services industry. This might sound strange having graduated with a Design degree, but my long-term goal is to join a management team in a manufacturing business. So this was a good step in that direction in developing my engineering and quality skillset.
I spent twelve months with NCR and learned a tremendous amount about the industry and how much pressure I can handle. My partner and I decided to have a baby and with that, decided to move back to Elgin to raise our family.
I applied for a Trainee Textile Manager position with Johnstons of Elgin where I began my working life, which I was offered and accepted.
At the time of writing this, I'm on my third day of that position and have hopes to quickly become productive and begin making my mark on the business.
What school subjects would be helpful for your job role?
That exist: Maths, Physics, English, Business Management and IT.
That don't: Engineering, Project Management, Excel, Microsoft Suite and Continuous Improvement.
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
That I have the opportunity to help departments identify problem areas and guide them towards the best solution moving forward. This requires building strong working relationships with people and promoting a collaborative approach to problem-solving.
Why did you want to work in this industry?
The textile industry is rooted deep in Elgin's history and as I was raised here and want to raise my family here, I believe it a privilege to be included in the effort to build a strong future for Johnstons of Elgin and the contributions they make to the community.
Did you ever want to pursue another career?
I believe Johnstons of Elgin has potential enough to satisfy all my career aspirations if I can put in the required effort.
What does a typical day in your role involve?
My day usually begins with checking my calendar for the day ahead for any firm meetings I need to attend, along with what my deliverables are for those meetings. That would be my priority. Then I will have a hit list of items that require my attention. This could be continuous improvement project work, documentation writing and control, or even presenting in front of other staff to help guide improvement initiatives.
What skills are required to do your job?
You need to be:
- Well organised
- Level headed
- Forward thinking
- Always learning
What is your advice to young people who are considering working in this sector?
I would advise people to keep an open mind to change when joining this industry. The demands of customers big and small come thick and fast and sometimes require adaptability from the workforce from one end to the other. Be keen to learn, and always trust your gut, if something doesn't look or feel right, ask the question.
Any other comments?
I believe there are or used to be a large number of students similar to myself that are medium to low achievers in Secondary Education that are misunderstood or insufficiently catered to when it comes to "what's next" for them if not university. I would be happy if desired to come and speak to any students/staff that want to hear more about my journey and thought process behind the decisions that led me to where I am now having left school with little prospects of any kind.
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Here at DYW Moray, we'd like to encourage those of you who are employed in Moray to share your career story with us so that we can promote these to Moray's young people. Go on, share your career story now!