Sean Morgan, alumnus of City of Norwich School and City College Norwich, tells us why he went back to school for our Commerce in the Classroom workshop.
I grew up in Norwich and was an okay student, not particularly academic but I knew what I needed and worked towards those goals. I changed my mind a few times regarding what I wanted to do in the future; I wanted to go into the police force and then wanted to be a journalist. However, an hotelier came in to our school and gave a talk about the service industry. The key things for me about the service industry was feeling that I wasn’t limiting myself in terms of what I could do because there was marketing, sales, operations, finance, legal, new hotel openings etc. I knew that I had to learn the business but I wasn’t key holing myself into doing anything particular at the time. What I knew was, to get onto the college course I wanted, I needed 5 O Levels and that’s what I worked towards and achieved.
After I got my O Levels I went to hotel school in Norwich for 3 years which I did instead of doing A levels; I also worked part time in the hotel industry during this time to gain valuable work experience. I took various subjects which qualified me as a member of the Hotel and Catering Institutional Management Association and then went on to do a formal management training course with a hotel group to learn more about business.
I enjoy going into schools and engaging with students who are similar to how I was. I wasn’t the perfect student when it came to academics but I was social and active in sport, and there are so many more life and jobs skills that are valuable for school and post-school life that we can be teaching these young people. Some people are not naturally academic but the qualities that I like to teach such as reliability, passion and resilience don’t require academics and they are the skills that made me successful. I think it’s really important that the students interact with someone from where they grew up to see what they can achieve; I’ve been reasonably successful and lucky and I’ve been able to travel extensively and have had businesses all over the world. If I can do it, there’s no reason that they can’t do it too, if they really want to.
I’ve run businesses in every continent of the world except for Antarctica and I know that international commerce and business is very different in Japan compared to India, Kazakhstan and North America. Cultures are very different so the way I run hotels and manage people differs depending on where they are based. It’s not just the language, time zones or different currency it’s about learning different cultures and knowing that people are going to react differently. That’s something that’s important for students to learn about international trade and something I enjoy teaching to young people in these workshops. It’s not easy in the workplace but success in both your working and social life is the reward.
Future First recently launched ‘Commerce in the Classroom’, a new volunteering initiative that connects individuals working in global businesses to young people in secondary schools across the south east and east of England. We are looking for volunteers to give up a couple of hours of their time between October 2019 and January 2020 to talk to students about their careers.
Regardless of exactly how your job relates to international trade, or whether it’s only a small part of your working week, we welcome you to sign up to the network so we can contact you about upcoming volunteering opportunities in schools near you.
If you’d like to volunteer in our ‘Commerce in the Classroom’ programme in the South East and East of England, you can sign up here.