Former CCS student Paul Totterdell (1994-2001)
What are you doing now?
I live in Stratford and run a business called Cotswold Seeds Ltd (also Cotswold Logs) in Moreton in Marsh. We sell seed to farmers and the general public, our website is www.cotswoldseeds.com
What’s a typical work day like?
We work from our base in Moreton but we also own a demonstration farm on which we have developed an educational facility called FarmED. This was recently officially opened by Prince Charles. Most of my time is spent at Moreton managing the day to day business operations from there, and the rest of the time spent at FarmED, where I help run courses and I also keep bees.
Have you ended up in the job you thought you would do when you left school?
Definitely not! When I left school I was sure I'd end up in IT. When I graduated from University with my computer science degree I used those skills to develop the IT at Cotswold Seeds. I have moved up through the business and now I manage all of Cotswold Seeds operations, and I'm heavily involved with FarmED.
What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?
Do everything to the best of your ability. Never be satisfied with 'good enough', however tempting or convenient it may be. Even if it takes longer or seems unnecessary. The important people will notice and you will benefit. If people aren't noticing, change what you are doing, they clearly don't value your dedication to a good job.
Be reliable. Reliability often trumps skill.
What are the best/worst/unusual things about your job?
The best things are working in a small friendly team, feeling good about doing a very 'green' job which directly encourages and supports sustainability and the natural world. Worst is the seasonality which always clashes with holidays and other events etc. Unusual - I get to spend a lot of time on our farm which is a pleasure and I feel very lucky to keep bees there.
Any advice to young CCS alumni reading this, about to go to University/start their career?
For university- only party when the work is done. Then let your hair down - NOT the other way around! Somehow I managed a First Class degree by following this mantra.Try to find work in a key trade, not a superficial one which might suffer in times of crisis - such as a pandemic! Reliability and stability is key to maintain your sanity and reduce stress. Don't constantly change jobs, stick with a good firm if you can find it, even if you get bored. The longer you are there, the more you will be valued and the more secure you will be.
What are your memories of school/funny stories?
There are many! Some of which I probably shouldn't admit to! One would be staging a parking protest to highlight how poorly some of the teachers were parking by taking up two spaces every day. Piffa singled me out as the ring leader and I got a polite telling off, along with a wink. Mr Cunningham improved his parking after that though!
Conker fights by the terrapin labs, and the 24 sides of lines that came soon after from Mrs Powell, followed by another 10 from Mr Moore the same day.
Hands down Mr (Paul) Wright. He made Geography a pleasure, as did Mr Tidbull.
Were you at school with Paul, or do you remember any of the teachers he mentions? Pop your comments below, or click on the link to Paul if you would like to connect.
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