Dave Jarman, Bristol University – who is helping to facilitate our Catalyst Bootcamp next month – shares his Career journey and learning…

Job title: Teaching Fellow in Entrepreneurship / Freelance Innovation Consultant

Qualifications: MA in Myth;  BA (hons) in English & American Literature and Classical; Civilisation Certificate in Training Practice;  Certificate in Life Coaching

Why did you choose a career in Entrepreneurship & Innovation?  I became an educator/innovation consultant through a series of happy accidents and constantly cultivating my interests in creativity, innovation, education, and entrepreneurship. I didn’t even know my current job existed when I started out.

What was your first job? My first proper ‘career-path’ job was after my Masters degree – I was hired as a skills development trainer for the University of Bristol Students’ Union, I spent three years there before joining the University itself as a skills trainer in the Careers Service.

How did you get your first role? I had a track record of being involved in Students’ Union activities; clubs and societies, student newspapers and radio. I was also quite a confident presenter so providing training and support to students came quite easy. Enthusiasm and amateur experience persuaded them to hire me!

How did you progress your career? I picked up my formal training and coaching certificates working for the Students’ Union. I got better at what I did and starting working more with the University until they hired me to run their student training activities. A couple of years later I got interested in creativity and entrepreneurship and shifted my focus to educating students on how to start-up their ideas. Each step since then has been either upwards in terms of more responsibility or across to more interesting opportunities – but always with the same core interests: education, creativity, entrepreneurship.

What does your current role involve? I spend 3 days a week teaching aspects of idea-generation and business start-up to students; I spend 1 day working with staff across the university to help them teach what I teach, and I spend 1 day freelancing helping people and companies have more and better ideas.

How has your role changed over the past few years?  Entrepreneurship used to be really rare, or at least not talked about; now it’s everywhere and better respected as a route for young people to follow. In some ways my job is now easier as people value it more; but equally my work is now more in demand so I’m busier!

What’s the best part of your work?  Getting to work with exciting new ideas and helping people realise them. Conversations about new ventures are always great fun.

What’s the hardest part of your job?  Focusing on the work required to execute an idea well; the ideas are easy, it’s the hard work that follows that separates successful entrepreneurs out.

What was the last training course/event you attended?  I’m currently studying towards my fellowship of the Higher Education Academy – the professional standard for University educators.

What did you bring back to your job? It gives me the academic knowledge to underpin my teaching; understanding educational psychology and how to design teaching to create the best learning environments.

What is/are the most important skill(s) for your role and why?  Communication skills; being able to listen, present, explain, and adapt my communication to the audience I’m faced with. If I can’t get my point across I’m failing to educate well.

Where would you like to be in five years’ time?  I’d like to still be doing what I’m doing; but probably in charge of a team doing even more and bigger educational projects.

What advice would you give to someone entering the profession?  talk to the people who’ve gone before you; listen, distill, apply the learning that works for you.

dave.jarman@bristol.ac.uk  @DaveJarm

Dave Jarman is one of the mentors at the Catalyst Bootcamp on 22nd – 24th August at Clifton Hill House on Bristol University campus.  He will be working with colleague Anne Padley to support delegates to develop their pledges and practical sustainability projects towards being ‘Catalysts for Change’.