Dan Attfield graduates today with a PGCE from the University of Worcester, but this doesn’t tell half the story of a man who gave up a successful management career to pursue his passion for teaching.
Dan, 30, originally studied Economics at Swansea University, graduating in 2007. After university, he enjoyed a successful eight-year career as a manager for Waitrose. “I had a fantastic eight years with Waitrose,” he said. “The people I worked for and the partners who worked for me were great. They were always willing to go that extra mile to get the right result, and we were all team players, so it was a fantastic environment to work in.”
He continued: “I had always known in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a teacher, it was just a case of plucking up the courage. Then one day my fiancé and I were talking about dream jobs, and I mentioned teaching again. She encouraged me to go for it, and with few major responsibilities like a family or a mortgage, I knew I might not get another opportunity, so I decided to take the leap.
“I chose Worcester because the University is very warm and friendly. It reminded me a lot of my first university, except the beaches are better in Swansea of course.”
Dan freely admits that he found the transition from management back in to education tricky at first - dusting off some of the study skills he hadn’t used for almost a decade, but he soon found his footing. “I was used to working hard in my job, and I knew that if I just kept working hard at my course, I would soon acclimatise,” he said. “There was a change in income, and luxuries like eating out and going to sporting events had to be cut back, but one year of living more economically was more than worth it for a shot at my dream job. I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Many people think about returning to education and taking their lives in an exciting new direction, but few take that leap. For Dan, it seems that his determination and hard work is certainly paying off: “I now teach economics and business at Hereford Cathedral School. I feel very fortunate to be working at such a great school. There’s a warm friendly and supportive atmosphere, and the students are willing to push themselves to do well. They are a pleasure to teach. Every Sunday evening I am excited - eager to start the next week. You don’t get that in every job."