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From Australia to Aviemore - discover our Development Manager Deborah Tait’s career journey with HIE

Published 10/03/2022 by Deborah Tait 3 min read

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I grew up in the Highlands and moved to Edinburgh to pursue a Commerce and Marketing degree after finishing high school. Having travelled in Australia, I settled in new Zealand after landing a job with a large Australian corporation. I eventually moved into a Human Resources role with the same company, which sparked my interest in pursuing a postgraduate degree in Human Resource Management. I returned with a husband, a one-year-old, and twins seven years after leaving the Highlands with only a backpack and travel dreams. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but as much as I adore New Zealand and its people, I was glad to be back in The Highlands.

My husband and I decided to start our own business from our home in Kincraig in 2002. We began the Highlands and Islands business start-up programme after conducting some research. It was a fantastic learning experience, and after only three months, we had established a business. It took a lot of effort, but things improved over time, and we are still trading successfully today.

Around the same time, I successfully applied for the post of Human Resources Manager with HIE in Inverness. Despite the fact that my twins were only a few months old at the time, I thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up. When I was offered the job, I was overjoyed and worked happily for a while before moving into business development. This position piqued my interest because it allowed me to help local businesses. I eventually left HIE, albeit reluctantly, as the demands of the business were increasing and I wanted to spend more time with my children.

Living and working in the Highlands is fantastic, but it comes with its own set of challenges, such as youth employment and opportunities. After going through the challenges of starting and growing a business from the ground up, I am very interested in any programme that helps young businesses. I am convinced that young people, not only as employees, but also as business leaders, represent a tremendous opportunity for our community. As a result, having systems in place to encourage and enable the retention and attraction of young people is critical. I'm also a firm believer in the use of digital technologies, as I've seen firsthand how they can help businesses improve while also overcoming some of the geographical challenges faced in our region.

After my children graduated from high school and moved to the central belt for university, I decided to return to HIE and was recently offered the position of Development Manager for the Northern Innovation Hub. I have a lot to learn, but I'm up for the challenge, and I'm excited to apply what I've learned to help the IMPACT30 and Technology Placement Programmes grow.

To find out more about IMPACT30, the Technology Placement Programme, and how the Northern Innovation Hub can support you and your business, please visit our web section.

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