Changing careers might seem a challenge for some, but Chris Callow, a University College Isle of Man (UCM) History & Heritage graduate, makes it look easy. From practising law, to running a luxury ski chalet, to providing freelance research and then starting his own tour company, Chris is an inspirational example of someone who isn’t afraid of change and who seizes the opportunities that come his way.
Chris gained a Law degree from Cardiff University and returned to the Isle of Man to qualify as a Manx Advocate, starting his own law firm in 1990. After practising for 20 years, he and his wife wanted a change of scenery and so moved to the French Alps to run a luxury ski chalet!
Available opportunities on the Isle of Man
He says it was a lot of fun, but after seven years they decided to return to their Manx roots. Once back, Chris began to explore what was available on the Island to enable him to make another career shift.
“That’s when I saw the advertisement for the History & Heritage degree at UCM. It was absolutely ideal for me as I have always had a keen interest in history. Additionally, the degree was taught on-Island, so it was more cost effective than if I were to go to a university elsewhere.”
Fantastic support and resources at UCM
Like any student who returns to education after a break of several years, Chris found it something of a challenge get back into regular study, however, with the help of the support provided by the lecturers at UCM he considers he managed a smooth transition.
“I also found the resources we were provided with were useful, and the Library was great; definitely my go-to place to revise or study,” Chris added.
Chris explained that he enjoyed his classes for many reasons including because of the great mix of age profile as well as the small staff-to-student ratio, which allowed for more individualised attention: a huge contrast to his experience when doing his first degree, where sometimes lectures were attended by as many as 70 students!
A versatile and highly regarded degree
Chris highly recommends the BA in History & Heritage to anyone who is looking for a comprehensive degree which also provides opportunities to learn and practice skills which are of value in the workplace.
“It is a great degree for both, the knowledge gained and also the practical transferable skills you get to develop, which is valuable for future employment. In my case, I not only found my placement with Culture Vannin and sessions with professionals at Manx National Heritage great experiences, but they gave me the chance to learn new skills such as presentation,” he says.
Inspired career path
“I started the course knowing that I enjoyed history and heritage, and because I wanted a change in career, but I didn’t exactly know where I would end up. The experience I gained during this degree study, specifically the first year which included a module shared with Blue Badge Guide trainees, helped me to crystallise my career plans. It inspired me to complete the next stage of the Blue Badge training (not part of the degree course) which gave me the qualification I needed to start my own tour company, Island Heritage Tours.”
“I’m very pleased with the progress of my business currently, and I look forward to working together with government departments and local businesses to further grow my business in the future,” Chris concluded.
Click here to find out more about UCM History & Heritage degree here.