In our next Sector Spotlight on Education, we hear from Susan Mackay who is a Lecturer in Business Studies and Inclusive Practice at Orkney College UHI.
Susan started her career in hospitality, working in hotels and bars across the UK from the age of 19. She moved to Orkney in 2003 and managed a couple of hotels here, before changing career. After starting and running her own businesses she joined Orkney College UHI as an SVQ Assessor, Short Course Tutor and relief Lecturer in 2012. Throughout her career Susan has undertaken additional qualifications to help her take on new roles, most recently completing her BA (Hons.) Business Management alongside her full-time work.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Lecturer in Business Studies and Inclusive Practice?
There is no typical day in this job which is what makes it so interesting. Depending on my timetable of classes, I could be teaching Young Enterprise in the morning and HNC Marketing in the afternoon or Admin Skills in between.
I generally start at 8am to check emails and ensure everything is ready to go for a day of teaching and supporting students. As a Course Leader for a couple of courses I could be answering colleague queries, supporting students, or liaising with our support and admin colleagues at various points across the day.
How did you end up in this role?
My path was certainly not straightforward. I left school at 16 with one Higher in Secretarial Studies and went to college in Fife to do an HND in Hospitality Management. After a year in London, I finished my BA in Hospitality Management and went on to manage hotels and bars across Britain from the age of 19. I moved to Orkney in 2003 and managed a couple of hotels here, before I decided I needed a change in career. I studied toward a Diploma in Hygiene and started my own businesses before joining Orkney College UHI as an SVQ Assessor, Short Course Tutor and relief Lecturer in 2012. After completing my Postgrad Teachers Qualification in Further Education, I moved to the Business Studies and Inclusive Practice Departments as a Lecturer. I have also recently completed a BA (Hons) Business Management which has allowed me to upgrade my professional knowledge in Marketing, Digital Marketing and Tourism.
What is the best thing about your job?
The variety and the students make all the difference in this role. I like a varied role and seeing students progress and overcome so many challenges during their time at Orkney College UHI is wonderful. Also, I get to talk about Marketing and Admin an awful lot, so that makes me happy! We also have a great team in our departments that support each other and the students to make it a great place to work.
I also get to speak to employers and organisations in a huge variety of industries that are passionate about supporting young people into their industry and supporting various training needs.
What is the worst thing about your job?
There is no worst part of the job as there are positives in all aspects, but it would be nice to have more time to liaise with industry experts and less time on emails.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Skills needed to become a lecturer are:
What qualifications do you have?
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
I would certainly recommend young people to progress towards this job. If you are passionate about sharing information and supporting other people into an industry or sector then this is an ideal job. Orkney College UHI is a great place to work as our colleagues are so supportive and getting to work with colleagues across the UHI Partners is so inspiring too. The feeling that you are helping our young people stay and contribute to our Island is very rewarding too.
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