Alumni Profiles

Kerry MacKay


United Kingdom

Kerry took part in our Company Programme and has been able to draw on her experiences in her own enterprises.

60-Second Interview

In more detail, tell us about your journey (what was your product/what was your role/learning experiences)
Our products were a range of relaxing self-care and bath time products, some purchased from suppliers like soaps and massage tools, others we handmade ourselves like microwavable beanie’s and lavender eye pads.

I was head of the design team since I was good at art. I learned a lot about team work, branding, and that I should be more confident in stating my opinion and interrogating others about what they wanted me to design. Our first display idea was good but needed refinement, however others in the team asked for a total change in the display that was rushed and didn’t work so well.

Although the display was a let-down, I was pleased with our report for which I was in charge of the design and formatting. We won regional awards for both the reports content and its design.
How do you feel the Company Programme helped you prepare for life after school?
At the time I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur, I didn’t plan on setting up any businesses. It was an interesting and fun project but I just wanted to go to Uni and get a job. Once I graduated that all changed and these skills became very useful.
What has your journey been like post-school? (University/Employment/life experiences)
I did a Master’s degree in Ecology at the University of Aberdeen. It was hard to get a job even with a Masters. A degree is not worth what it was.

I had a series of short-term contract jobs and it was at the end of one of these I finally decided I had had enough. Applying for jobs that hundreds of other applicants were competing for, attending interviews, putting so much work in and not even getting an acknowledgement for all my efforts was soul destroying and not good for my mental health or self-confidence. I wanted to settle with my partner and where he had work there really were not many jobs for me.

So I decided to go self-employed. Suddenly drawing on all I learned at school on that Young Enterprise project. I had and still have much to learn too but it gave me a good foundation and the confidence to give it a shot. I now run two businesses, one in Ecology (Clearwing Ecology) and the other making ethical jewellery (Selkie Crafts).
What advice would you give to anyone setting out on this journey?
I would say to just give it a try. It’s good fun, you learn a lot, and it looks good on the CV. Most of all though, you can come back to it in the future if things don’t go as planned. You can be confident that you did it before in school, so why not now, doing something you really love?
What three words would you use to describe your Company Programme experience?
eye-opening, educational and varied.

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Our Vision is for Scotland to be a place where all young people are given the opportunity to have a rewarding future in work and life - no matter where they start
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