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From Apprentice to Managing Director – The Values That Have Helped Me Through My Career

Growing up in the heart of Yorkshire with a strong Sikh heritage has shaped me into who I am today. My parents, both immigrants who came to the UK as teenagers, tirelessly instilled the importance of perseverance and hard work in me. Their tales of struggle, resilience, and eventual triumph, have been lessons I’ve carried throughout my life.

Let’s start at the beginning, a fresh-faced lad starting as the only Sikh Asian apprentice in a Swiss company right here in the UK. The journey wasn’t smooth. There were challenges and naysayers, but it was during these formative years that I understood the value of standing firm and being true to oneself.

  1. Stand Your Ground: There’s immense strength in acknowledging and embracing one’s uniqueness. Being different can be challenging, but it offers a fresh perspective that can be invaluable. It’s essential not to let the fear of standing out deter you. It’s your edge.
  2. Hard Work Pays Off: This isn’t just a saying, it’s a value I’ve seen reap benefits time and again. It doesn’t matter what you’re pursuing; there’s no substitute for genuine effort.

My early achievements set the pace for my career. By 23, I became the youngest production manager at SFS, and by 32, I earned the title of the youngest production director. My roles were demanding, and they took me all over the world. I engaged with diverse cultures, work practices, and management styles. These travels broadened my horizons and enriched my understanding of how businesses operate in different parts of the world.

  1. Embrace Diversity: Every person, irrespective of their background, carries a unique story and experience. It’s crucial to be open, listen actively, and learn. The amalgamation of different viewpoints often leads to the best solutions.
  2. Adapt and Grow: Life throws curveballs, and the corporate world is no different. Each place and position have their challenges. The key is to be adaptable, open-minded, and always ready to learn and grow.

After my international stints, returning to Yorkshire and joining Kirkstall Precision in 2018 felt like a homecoming. This role allowed me to give back to the community that shaped me and to put into practice all the lessons I had learned over the years.

  1. Share Your Story: Your experiences can serve as guidance for many. It’s not about boasting; it’s about showing that with the right attitude and values, success is achievable. By sharing our stories, we can inspire and motivate others to pursue their dreams, no matter how out of reach they might seem.
  2. Champion Apprenticeships: As someone who started as an apprentice, I can’t stress enough the importance of such programmes. They provide a solid foundation and a practical understanding of the industry, giving young talents a head start.

Working closely with schools, colleges, and local councils, my vision for Kirkstall Precision is clear: I want to establish it as a beacon for young talent, a place where potential meets opportunity.

  1. Invest in the Future: Our youth are the leaders of tomorrow. By offering them platforms like apprenticeships, we not only help them carve out their path but also secure the future of our industry. It’s a win-win.
  2. Open Doors: A level playing field ensures that everyone gets an equal shot at success. As someone from a minority background, I understand the challenges faced by underrepresented groups. It’s our responsibility to ensure inclusivity in all sectors.

To conclude, my journey from an apprentice to a managing director has been a series of lessons. It’s been about commitment, resilience, and a never-give-up attitude. For all the young individuals out there, irrespective of your background or the challenges you face: Stay true to your values, put in the hard work, and success will follow. It’s not about where you start, but how you forge ahead. Remember, the journey is as crucial as the destination.