BSc (Honours) Hospitality Business Management with Conference and Events, Class of 2011
Richard is the owner of the Cheshire Mersey Wine School.
What happened after I graduated
'My career began at a company called Majestic Wine on their graduate scheme as a trainee manager. I did my wine training with them and sat my Wines Spirit Education Trust level 3 exam. I worked as a trainee manager in Clitheroe, Macclesfield and Chester, and my main responsibilities were implementing high levels of customer service, stock management and taking care of big commercial accounts. I was then promoted to assistant manager of the Ashbourne branch where I took a lead role in the day to day running of a £1.2m turnover store.
'After gaining great management experience and the relevant wine qualifications, I decided to go alone and I set up the Chersey Mersey Wine School. My job now involves holding bespoke wine tastings and courses for the general public and trade sector across Cheshire and Merseyside.'
What my job involves
'My current projects include working with large wine importers from across South America and Spain to showcase and promote their products at wine events. We also have a contract with M&S to host their in-store customer tastings, as well as doing their staff training to help build confidence and wine knowledge.
'I enjoy all aspects of my job, especially the tastings for obvious reasons and I love the challenge of tailoring tastings to fit the needs of my clients. Wine is such a diverse and subjective topic and this makes my job more interesting.
'Since the launch of Cheshire Mersey Wine School, we have had a fantastic PR launch which has seen us feature in the likes of INCheshire Magazine, The Liverpool Echo, Cheshire Life, Cheshire Today.co.uk and we are soon to feature on BBC Radio Merseyside. Doing radio will be a completely new experience for us and a project we cannot wait to get involved in.'
How Sheffield Hallam helped me
'My studies at Sheffield Hallam were fundamental in my career development. My passion for wine began in my first year in a seminar with John Dunning where we looked at how to taste and analyse wine professionally. This ignited my passion to want to learn more.
'A lot of the business-based modules such as strategic management and marketing played a big part in wanting to run my own business. The practical elements to my degree, such as taking on a managerial role in the kitchens on the top floor restaurant of the Owen Building, were fantastic and they have helped to develop my management skills.
'One of my favourite memories was a final year project that we ran in our events management seminar with Robert Hayward. We had to organise and execute our own events that would really test our organisation and management skills. Our team set up the first ever Sheffield Barista of The Year competition in conjunction with Sheffield-based business Cafeology and the MD Bryan Unkles. We had to sell the idea to local coffee shop owners and baristas in order to get a local, independent and successful competition. The competition was held at the Crucible Corner restaurant in the city centre and generated some great local press mentions.'
A word to the wise
'The advice I'd give to other students and graduates would be to get some good work experience in a company that preferably offers management training with progression opportunities. Graduate training schemes are a great way to really utilise and showcase the skills you gain during your degree.'