Callum is 26 years old and runs his own pub in a village in Yorkshire. He only employs people who live in the village and members of his extended family, from grandad in the garden to mother-in-law on the books.
Callum studied Health Nutrition at Leeds Trinity University and worked in bars and restaurants when he graduated, including under Michelin star chefs, and worked his way up to team supervisor. Then he lost his job at a restaurant that changed hands but was soon offered a manager’s job at a city chain on decent money and at a higher level than previously. He turned it down.
Callum loves food with a passion and people going home happy. What he really wanted to do was be his own boss and to provide fresh, locally grown food in his own eaterie within a community. So he took a risk and now works all hours to make his business a success in an industry that has taken its fair share of knocks in the economic downturn.
I met Callum at a graduate employability day at his old university. As part of the alumni, he was there to give back to graduating students in health nutrition about his experiences of the workplace and what it takes to be employable and to start a business.
His studies had given him the knowledge and theoretical underpinning for his subsequent hard graft learning the restaurant trade… his real-life apprenticeship. Callum’s open and outgoing personality fits well with dealing with the public and providing a quality service.
He now employs young people just like himself when he was starting out. He understands the challenges for students when they first enter the workplace and the expectations of employers about professionalism in his particular business. One of his induction activities for new staff is to get them to sit on every one of the pub’s toilet seats. It is only from that view you get to see what the customer sees on the back of the door and what needs cleaning!
Callum’s story illustrates that employability and entrepreneurship are two sides of a coin. Being employable involves being entrepreneurial – businesses need enterprising employees; and being a successful business owner employing staff requires an understanding of what motivates people and what it takes to be employable.
The common ground includes a sense of purpose, a need for achievement, a need for autonomy, persistence, flexibility, commercial savvy, creativity, risk-taking, self-belief and interpersonal comfort.
Which side do you secretly hope lands face up when you flip that job or career coin?