Kristian carves career out of wood
THIS morning before I left my wife and child at home I thought about where I was just one year ago.
I was a self-employed network IT specialist with no qualifications but a passion for meeting people and an enthusiasm for fixing their problems. And my wife and I had been trying for children for five years.
I had spent far too long in dark rooms with PCs and monitors.
I had always wanted more from my working life but I felt tied to my situation; you must always keep the money coming in.
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Change brings change. My first move was sudden and unexpected. I was having some wood machined for a night class I was taking in woodwork and I asked the joinery if they needed a tea boy.
JJ Smith Joinery took me on for some months but they already had two apprentices and were unable to help me further myself.
After a conversation with my wife it seemed that we had agreed I was going to go to college to study furniture making. This wasn't out of the blue. My grandfather, Bob Gibson, was a big influence when I was young. He was an avid woodworker and metalworker and a teacher at Falmouth school. I attended an open day at Cornwall College Camborne where I met Owain Harris, the furniture-making lecturer, and he told me what I could expect from the course. I was nervous and stressed about studying anything – failure seemed so high on the horizon.
My first days at college were a rollercoaster ride; log-in passwords, IDs, classrooms here there and everywhere, meeting new people and remembering their names. The names of woodwork joints echoed and how they are used was constantly talked about.
In weeks to come I was to build a cabinet and a table from scratch with real wood 100 per cent by my own hands, and I mean hand-made, all of which I documented on my blog.
Back to the present and it is the start of the level 3 diploma in furniture making and I guess you can tell I passed level 1 and 2. Boy did I find it hard, challenging and exhausting.
I suffer from dyslexia, which doesn't make written work easy, but it was a pleasure to be taught by my lecturers Owain Harris and Richard Buckingham, and a pleasure to meet my classmates who offered consolation when things went badly and cheers when everything went well.
It's a new experience for me and I realise what I have been missing out on in life. Professionals learn their craft, they remain enthusiastic and encouraging, they mentor and they still manage to retain the love for what they do. I see the times when most people would be pulling their hair out, but not these people; they smile and offer you countless ways to improve your situation.
This year I am a much different person than I was 12 months ago. I am now confident, inspired and truly happy. Cornwall College has helped me fund my course through a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan and that was a big shock as I am 41 years old and I had no expectations.
Richard Buckingham called me during the summer to fix me up with a job interview.
I got it and now I work part time for Sam Walsh Furniture. I am a very proud man.
Cornwall College has helped me realise something for myself. I now own my future and I can do anything I want with it.
Twelve months ago I just wanted a chance at something better.
Now I have an education, a qualification, a career and a great wife. Did I miss something?
Oh yes, I became a father in June of this year to my son Brodie Finn Dalziel.
If any of my story rings true to you, I can tell you it only takes one step.
You can continue to follow Kristian's journey and furniture-making experiences at www.woodulove.com/blog "The blog is for my son so I can show him that everybody starts somewhere. When he is old enough he will be able to see my very first steps and he will see it's OK for him to make mistakes too."