In today’s Sector Spotlight on Creative Industries, we hear from Alison Firth who is a Director at Ortak Ltd.
Alison left school at 16 and started working with Rolls-Royce as a secretarial trainee. From there, she went to Thurso College where she gained her HND in Business Studies. She continued to work with Rolls-Royce undertaking various roles which helped her develop different skills and undertake additional training. She then gained her degree through the Open University and trained to become a Chartered Accountant. In 2014, she invested in Ortak and became a Director of the business.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Director at Ortak?
A typical day varies so much, from dealing with orders on the website, organising work orders for the workshop to make jewellery, dealing with customers on the phone, dealing with HR issues and employing new staff. Training new staff on our systems, stocking shops, providing covering in the shops over lunch. Dealing with stock enquires, passing information to the design team for bespoke work. There are never two days the same.
How did you end up in this role?
I left school at 16 with seven O’ Grades and no thought of College or university. I was employed by Rolls-Royce as a secretarial trainee and from there, I went to Thurso College and started studying. I did my HNC/HND in Business Studies and at work in Rolls-Royce, after my training was employed as the Travel Clerk. I then changed jobs to Project Assistant and was trained in Project Management, before going on and doing a degree through the Open University and trained to become a Chartered Accountant. I worked for a couple more companies in the nuclear industry, dealing with accounts, commercial contracts and project management, before investing in Ortak Ltd when we bought the brand in 2014. I am now a Director of the business.
What is the best thing about your job?
I love jewellery and I love to work. Hard work never hurt anyone and now I have the opportunity to grow and develop other people, by employing them at our business. I get a major buzz when someone buys a piece of jewellery and they love it as much as I do.
What is the worst thing about your job?
Nothing, some days are not so good, but I love my job and the business and there are no bad things.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Communication is key to the role and developing and growing young people to grow our business. Orkney does not have a never-ending trained resource and if we don’t teach and give young people the opportunity, we will not have our future.
Training people and getting them to understand it is fine to make mistakes is the way to learn.
Being organised is also crucial in my day-to-day work.
What qualifications do you have?
BA Hons Degree
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
The job has so much variety, working face to face with people, dealing with customers via email and on the phone. It is never boring, and it gives you confidence when you deal with people and they are happy and then they give you nice feedback.
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