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Paul Hewitt

Career Path: General Manager, Dukeshouse Wood
Location: Hexham, UK

I left school at 16 to become an apprentice for BT, working my way up through the rank from apprentice to Technical Officer on System X, at the age of 29 I decided to pursue a career in the outdoor industry. After initially teaching windsurfing, I moved into the social care sector, then adult education and finally back to the outdoor industry. On my journey I undertook a range of sports coaching qualifications and vocational training courses. I progressed this into senior instructor and then management roles without any formal management qualifications.]

What are you doing now?Paul Hewitt

I am a General Manager for a national company running a large residential education and adventure centre in Northumberland. I am passionate about the work that we do, delivering brilliant experiences that build confidence and discover potential. We help to develop the path of young people, challenging their boundaries whilst having fun and experiencing life changing moments. Prior to this, I managed a range of outdoor adventure and educational activity centres, I had a wide range of vocational qualifications, and my degree has given me a universally recognised Management Qualification.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

Location, availability, and the opportunity to have prior learning and experience considered, therefore direct entry to year 2 - along with a very good reputation.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

 There were a wide range of techniques used. I personally found that the course was a challenge, as during the course I experienced personal, professional and bereavement issues. On the whole,the university was very supportive.

 How connected was your course with industry?

It was work-based, as I was employed full time but I did not require a placement. The modules were extremely relevant to leadership and management, and I could associate the assignments and projects to the theories and practices in my industry.

What was the best thing about your course?

I met some amazing, encouraging and knowledgeable people, which reinforced to me that although I am not academically minded I could bring and receive a lot from the course.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

As a manager and leader, I believe I bring a meaning and purpose to my role, displaying drive and motivation to improve the quality of our delivery. Staff now view me as focused and committed to my own development and supporting them to better themselves. I believe I engage in an open and honest way, displaying integrity and willing to invest time and energy into a team. I often work alone with minimal supervision from my line manager. I not only display a magnificent work ethic, I lead by example by preparing to do extra, whilst approaching challenges as opportunities in a positive and energetic way. But most importantly I am willing to learn.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

My qualifications and theoretical knowledge are now current and relevant, I am a strong believer and advocate of CPD, this has been fully supported by me completing a part time (Self-Funded) BA (Hons) Leadership and Management Degree at Northumbria University. Throughout my career, I have made sure to keep myself up-to-date with current legislation and working practices by regular attendance of in-service training courses, as well as an active membership within a variety of professional agencies and National Governing Bodies, including the varying volunteer roles I have held. The key to my success within my roles has been to ensure I can fully support my employer within my role, developing both myself and my team.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Meeting new people and overcoming the challenges the course presented. I now lead by example by preparing to do extra, whilst approaching challenges as opportunities in a positive and energetic way. Most of all I am willing to learn. something the study has instilled in me.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Responsibility - take full responsibility for your learning, be fully prepared, submit on time and own your work. Respect - yourself, the staff and others students. Resilience - listen and respond to feedback, view every challenge as an opportunity.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Strive to achieve. 


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