Matthew Callcott

Now Matt's what I call a career

From walking through the door as a young apprentice to becoming the Director of Safety and Business Performance, Matthew Callcott has had a meteoric rise at The Regenda Group. Here he talks about his journey, including some lost banking documents, and the benefits of apprenticeships.

Matthew said: “I first joined The Regenda Group in 1999. My position was office junior, which sounds incredibly old fashioned now, and it was my first real taste of working life.

“When I was leaving further education, tuition fees had recently been introduced, and the thought of student debt put me off going to university.

“The apprenticeship with Regenda offered me the chance to earn £75 a week, obtain an NVQ qualification and, most importantly, a provided direct career path.

Matthew had ambitious plans for his career from the moment he walked in the door, with a personal aim of becoming CEO one day, and a director by the age of 20. But entering the real world of work was a big shock.

He continues: “I had never experienced anything as formal as my apprenticeship interview before, and I found that quite difficult at the time. I still get really happy when I think about being told I’d got the job.

“I think apprenticeships can be quite a culture shock, as you’re thrown right into the world of work. I had to learn how to interact with adults in a professional capacity when just a few months previously the only adults in my life were teachers and parents.

“You’re also coming from school, where you are told where to be and how to act, what work to do and how to do it. Once you enter the world of work, it’s up to you to organise your day, and that can be challenging.”

One of the most influential people in Matthew’s career was his first manager.

“Jan MacDavid was a great manager. Harsh but firm and fair. She gave me a kick when I needed it and praise when I deserved it, but most importantly she pushed me and built my confidence.

“She also caught me out when I made my first big mistake which is thankfully one I can laugh about now.

“In my first role, I had to visit the bank three times a day (a long time before internet banking) to take in cash and various documents.

“It was just after my first pay day and I decided to buy a pair of trainers with my first wages. I took the banking paperwork with me and in the excitement of buying the trainers, I left the envelopes in the changing room.

“I realised my mistake when I got to the bank and rushed back to the shop. When I got there, I was greeted by my manager who had been called by the shop when they found the paperwork.

“Let’s just say, it was a mistake I never repeated!”

Matthew was taken on full time as a housing officer following his first year at Regenda. Over the next 13 years, he held a number of positions as he climbed the ladder within the organisation, with his first managerial role coming just three years after starting his apprenticeship.

In 2013, Matthew was appointed to his first director position, and in 2015 transferred to M&Y Maintenance and Construction, a subsidiary of The Regenda Group, to take up his current role.

Matthew continues: “When I started, my aim was to be a director at the age of 20, which was very ambitious but I achieved this by the age of 30, making me one of the youngest directors in the organisation at the time.

“I feel that all of my achievements come from the sensible grounding my apprenticeship gave me, together with the support of family and friends.

“My apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to earn money and become independent. I got my first flat when I was 18, led a team of people by the age of 20 and became a director just 10 years later.

“I owe everything to the day I walked through the door for my interview and was given a chance.

“Anyone who trains as an apprentice is awarded that same opportunity; to follow a career path, exposure to the real world, the chance to learn from people who have done it all before and, most importantly, the chance to make mistakes and learn from them.

“Organisations don’t just hire apprentices, they invest in them. They help them develop, grow and reach their goals.”

Matthew now hopes to pass on his knowledge and experience to others in the organisation, while continuing his own personal development.

“I am also hoping to do another degree at some point in the next few years. I believe that continued development is hugely important.

“The Group is currently diversifying into new sectors and has recently acquired three new businesses, Alder Training, Positive Footprints and Centre 56, so there is always learning to be done.

“I want to continue coaching young people in the organisation. Over the past 18 years I have coached 45 members of staff, so I am aiming to make that 100 in the next five years!

Matthew was discussing his career as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2018 and showcasing how apprentices work.

M&Y Maintenance and Construction is an award winning business, offering high levels of repairs, maintenance and construction across the North West.

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