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We’ve become a bit nosy recently, and it’s teaching us an awful lot about the career paths of some of our friends in Exeter. We’ve learnt that Jo Caine from Cathedral Appointments used to work in the Mediterranean as a travel rep, and that Scott Walker from Exeter City Community Trust was heading on a path to become a professional footballer before his career took him in the direction of working as the charity’s head of participation instead. 

Whilst it’s great to have a plan – after all, how else are you going to get to where you want to go – it’s also important to be prepared to be a bit flexible sometimes. After all, decisions that you might make at 16 might not be entirely relevant when you’re 26, 36, 46 and so on. 

Our advisers at Exeter Works recently caught up with Peter Totterdill. Peter was keen to tell us about his career journey because he feels that whilst it’s changed considerably over the years, it’s almost travelled full circle, and he’s learnt a lot during his working life. 

Initially Peter wanted to pursue a career in town planning, because he was always passionate about conserving historic buildings and improving the built environment. But it was during a postgraduate course in the subject that he became increasingly interested in how policymakers could help to create jobs in local and regional economies. His interest in this subject matter led to him being invited to study for a Ph.D on that very subject in Nottingham.

Following his studies and whilst working for Nottingham City Council, he set up a small team researching and designing an economic development strategy for the city.

Peter says: “During this time, I realised that you couldn’t understand local economies and labour markets without also understanding what went on in workplaces – things like how people were managed, how they learned new skills and developed their careers. 

“I managed to raise funds to run national and international projects designed to help firms and their employees to create ways of working that ultimately led to better business performance and ultimately, better working lives.”

This led to a professorship at Nottingham Trent University, aimed at developing this work further in a new institution, and Peter and his team soon gained an international profile, working throughout Europe. 

Following this Peter set up his own company – Workplace Innovation Ltd, supporting businesses across the UK and beyond, and exchanging innovative thinking and practice often with European partners. 

Since moving back to Devon, Peter has taken over as Chair of the Poltimore House Trust – a charity dedicated to restoring the historic property at Poltimore, on the edge of Exeter. 

So there you have it – a love for historic buildings which led to a qualification in town planning, which led to workplace performance, which has led back to the restoration of historic buildings!

Whether you’ve got a career plan in mind or not, Exeter Works can help. For advice and guidance on all things careers; including CV writing, help with interviews, apprenticeship advice and more, get in touch with our advisers today. You can make an appointment to speak to one of our specially trained advisers, book your free Career Consultation, and find out more about training opportunities within the Greater Exeter area. Get in touch today and follow us on social media at the links available here.

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