Kirsty Chadwick is MD of The Training Room Online, a company that uses cutting edge technology to design e-learning courses. She’s also a trained music teacher. How did she get from the classroom to the boardroom? She never stopped learning, she says. And she allowed her degree to keep opening her up to possibilities.
“I speak to many young people who don’t know what to do with their degrees,” Chadwick says. Humanities graduates in particular have this problem. “They’ve learnt skills that are transferrable to the working world, but nobody has told them how to actually use these skills to make a living.”
In Kirsty’s case, she knew from a young age that she wanted to be involved in developing people and helping them grow. After getting a degree in music, going on to complete a certificate in teaching afterwards was a natural progression.
Undaunted by the thought of moving from teaching in the classroom into the business world, after four years as a secondary school teacher she took a job in finance in London, gaining two certificates in financial management.
“Joining the dots is the key to building the career you want,” Kirsty believes. “If you don’t focus on what you can bring to a job you stand to lose out on opportunities.” People management, problem solving, leadership and communication skills all transfer from the secondary school piano classes Kirsty taught to a position in management.
“Degrees are important,” Kirsty says, “but what you learn after them is very important, too.” The biggest lesson she learnt working in London, where she completed two certificates in financial management, is that teaching isn’t limited to classrooms.
“In London I was introduced to the possibilities of e-learning. It’s a teaching method that’s affordable, that’s flexible and student-centred, and that’s mobile.” E-learning allows you to study online using a computer, tablet or smartphone, or digitally using a DVD or audio. “It uses the smartest technology we have to find the right learning solutions for right audiences,” Kirsty explains.
She’s now part of a team that designs and develops these learning solutions for the retail, financial, and mining sectors in South Africa. As MD of The Training Room Online she’s a businesswoman, a leader, a teacher, a mentor, a problem solver and a manager. No one degree, certificate or job prepared her for this role, she says.
“And I’m not done learning yet.”