Continuing our Sector Spotlight on the Food and Drink sector, we hear from Graham Bruce who is the Visits and Retail Operations Manager at Highland Park Distillery. Graham started his career with Boots in a temporary role over Christmas. He remained with the business for 10 years working in a variety of roles. Graham then started working at World Duty Free as part of the management team specialising in selling malt whisky. He then moved into roles in the financial sector before moving to Orkney with his family and taking up a role with Highlands and Islands Enterprise before moving into his current role at Highland Park.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Visits and Retail Operations Manager?
There is no ‘typical day’ in my role but some of things I do on a weekly/daily basis are as follows:
How did you end up in this role?
My working life began at Boots the Chemist as a Christmas temp and I worked my way up in a variety of roles throughout various stores in the North of Scotland. Throughout my 10-year career at Boots, I was mainly based in Aberdeen and my final role was as Group Operations Manager for the Grampian region.
From Boots, I moved to World Duty Free at Aberdeen Airport where I was part of the management team and specialised in selling malt whisky.
After growing tired of retail shift work, I chose a different career path and moved to personal banking. Working first with Barclays Bank then moving to HSBC, I was a Personal Relationship Manager for high-net-worth individuals where my skills in customer service were transferrable and highly beneficial.
A family move to Orkney gave me the opportunity to work for Highlands and Islands Enterprise before my current role at Highland Park where I felt that my whisky, retail and operations experience all came together.
What is the best thing about your job?
The variety within my role, no two days are the same. I really enjoy being part of a global brand that still feels small enough to be able to influence where the brand is going and make key decisions locally.
What is the worst thing about your job?
There is nothing I don’t like about my job.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
What qualifications do you have?
I do not have any formal qualifications since leaving school at the end of fifth year with eight standard grades and three Highers. I have learned on the job as I have progressed in my career and did my CIFA financial advisor qualifications during my time with HSBC and I am currently doing a Destination Leadership Course with Edinburgh Napier University.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
I really enjoy my job and I feel that my current role has brought all the skills developed on my career path together. I loved the brand before I started working here and would encourage people to follow their passions and do something that they believe in.
Visit Highland Park Distillery on: