James Bamkin – Countryside Management
James Bamkin, a man whose career at SRUC has been illustrious – student, class rep, SRUCSA President and now Learner Engagement Officer, started his journey with a degree in fashion and various jobs along the way, changed his path to study HND Countryside Management with us at SRUC Oatridge.
Speaking of his past career, James said:
“I graduated from a fashion degree and took a job in TK Maxx to work my way up, 3 years later I was in the same position. I moved to Scotland and tried a tech career, taking a role as a first line technical support agent, 5 years later was still in the same position.”
Why did James decide to change his path?
“You can only ask people ‘have you tried turning it off and on again?’ so many times. I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and moved to a tiny island off the coast of Wales, to some conservation volunteering. It was great, I wanted to be outdoors, chop wood, and take care of wild animals for the rest of my life. I asked the ranger I worked with ‘How do I get paid to do this’ he said I needed a Countryside Management qualification. So I searched for locations in Scotland where I could study.”
What did James study with us, and why?
“I found SRUC and extended my student debt undertook a 2 year HND in Countryside Management, whilst working back in TK Maxx. They offered the course I wanted, in the location I wanted and it came up first on the search results page. I guess also when I contacted the Ayr Campus and they told me that Oatridge would be way more convenient if I wanted to live in Edinburgh.”
What was James’ experience studying with SRUC?
“I had a great time and learned that being a countryside manager isn’t just about cutting the grass and picking up litter, it’s about making people care about the place they live in and empowering them to improve it. At the end of my time with SRUC I was voted in as President of the Student’s Association, a role that is about making students care about the place they study in, and empowering them to improve it. I realised that I wanted a career that would allow me to be part of a movement and benefit people to make their own lives into what they wanted them to be. I am part of the team who help students take up roles of responsibility and help change student experience for the better. I was also Class Rep and I took an opportunity to work inside SRUC on a project that used current students as researchers [Note: James also went on to become SRUC Learner Engagement Officer in 2017].”
Speaking of his changed life experience which was “spontaneous, necessary and unplanned”, James noted:
“I am significantly happier with my career choice, I only occasionally dread coming into work and I no longer have to work awful midday shifts.”