Careers: How I Got Here - Ian Charlesworth, managing director, Shaw Trust

What was your first job? I was a careers officer for West Riding County Council. Although I dealt with all groups, I particularly worked with people in special-needs schools.

What does your current role involve? I am responsible for growing the business, negotiating contracts, influencing the markets in which we operate through liaising with officials and politicians, and motivating staff.

Roughly outline your career path My first management role was with West Riding County Council where I was in charge of setting up the South Pennines Information Service. A year later, I joined the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council's careers department. I then became deputy principal careers officer, managing specialist services for people with disabilities and from ethnic minorities. In 1983, I became director of employment projects in Rochdale. Before joining the Shaw Trust in 1997, I was managing director of Bradmet, a direct service organisation belonging to Bradford Council.

What training most enhanced your career? A cross-sector course for managing directors at Bradford Council, which really gave me an insight into how others manage the private and not-for-profit sectors.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Winning all the contracts for Bradmet and operating them profitably. Also, helping more than 3,000 people with disabilities to gain and sustain employment over the past 12 months at Shaw Trust.

What is your advice to people starting out in this sector? Do not let the bureaucracy of the public and private sectors stifle innovation and initiative in your organisation.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time?

I am committed to the Shaw Trust in helping people with disabilities find or keep their jobs.

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