Starting Off is excited to announce that in November 2020, in the midst of lockdown 2.0 no less, ownership of the business changed hands and the two new Managing Directors are Katie Goodall and Jess Cameron. Having worked in the business for several years Katie and Jess know many clients well and work in partnership with lots of companies in the local business community. They felt this change was a great opportunity to introduce themselves on a more personal level.
Growing up, I never dreamed of running owning my own business. In fact, as a little girl my goal was to be a ballerina. After a revelation at the age of 18 that leotards weren’t too flattering and pointe made my toes bleed, I realised maybe the Royal Ballet wasn’t my calling and off I went to university to begin a history degree.
After completing that, I walked into Starting Off to register as a graduate looking for my first grown up ‘proper job’. When I was interviewed, I remember clearly the recruiter asking me what motivated me… other than history and dancing, my other jobs and extracurricular endeavours had involved supporting people. From the age of 18, I had worked for a number of years at St Andrews Hospital, working with individuals that had been through considerable trauma. I had also taken a gap year and travelled to Ghana where I volunteered teaching in schools and working in orphanages.
I knew I had always been motivated by supporting others, but I also had an idea that I wanted to work in a business environment and be part of a team to help a company grow. My reply to the motivation question: ‘Supporting people but something a bit businessey’ was where it all began.
When I was offered a role as a Trainee Recruiter at Starting Off, helping apprentices find jobs combined with the chance to visit clients and promote the business, it felt like the perfect opportunity. During my 13 years at Starting Off, I have been lucky enough to be involved in many areas of the business, from recruitment through to marketing, event management and training. I have been given the opportunity of two promotions and for the last seven years have been part of a brilliant management team. I have had some great mentors that have helped me both personally and professionally.
Starting Off has always felt like a family to me. Everyone supports each other and we are all incredibly passionate about apprenticeships and want the best for our clients, our students and each other. So while I never dreamt about running my own business, for me it has happened organically and while yes, it is a big responsibility, and is rather nerve wracking, I think if you truly believe in what you are doing, you naturally give it your all and from that success happens. I have a very calm and incredibly hardworking business partner working alongside me, so that also helps!
As for the dancing… I still like to think I’ve got some moves!
Supporting and working with people has always been a passion of mine, so much so that my degree choice was Applied Psychology. Having achieved my degree, which at the time, was my biggest achievement, I decided I would follow on to complete an MSc in Forensic Psychology. I thought I had everything mapped out and I truly believed I would be a real life ‘Fitz’.
Before, and whilst studying for my Masters, I was working for an events company, travelling around the country working at shows for a luxury brand. This gave me my first real insight into the business world, and I started to enjoy my time in this role more and more. I had exposure to lots of new things and was quickly offered progression into an events management role. I had my own clients, could work on briefs and be creative with new ideas which led me to really enjoy the world of business.
Cutting out all the bits in between, which included having my beautiful twins, I was offered a new challenge with Starting Off in 2015. This role really gave me back my passion for supporting people and my drive for further personal and professional development. Throughout the last five years I have been heavily involved in the delivery of our apprenticeship programmes and more recently over the last two years I have been able to lead and support a team of amazing trainers and assessors. As Katie has also mentioned, we really are like a family, we have an amazing team of passionate people who really do ‘love’ their jobs and all have a real appetite to drive the
One thing in particular this last month has taught me is that sometimes we all need to take a step back and look at what we have achieved, who would have thought when I set myself that goal, back in 2010, that one day I would be my ‘own boss’ I would actually be here now. I am truly thankful to all the people I have worked with over the years for their support and for teaching me new things every day, and of course, for allowing me to reach my ultimate goal.
Katie and I are very lucky to have each other’s support, we share the same passion and ambition to drive the business forward and we are keen to ensure apprenticeships are at the front of young people’s minds, enabling them to have the best start to their career. I really am so excited about the future for Starting Off.
I guess all that’s left is for me to decide on my next goal in life… although I’m not sure I can beat this one!
Contact Starting Off on 01604 622855 or 01536 417373 or visit www.startingoff.co.uk.