INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY: "It's OK to be Mr OK"

Councillor and businessowner Paul Hartshorn shares his career journey and advice to budding entrepreneurs and young people entering the world of work, with Niche Magazine editor Kerry Smith.

Paul Hartshorn at the ice house in Blaby. Photo credit: Gareth Norman

“I hated school, it was horrible,” Councillor Paul Hartshorn, representative of Blaby South told me. “I was always average and had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school at 16.”


When I spoke to Paul in August, GCSE results had just been released across the country.


As a man who has achieved his aspiration of owning his own business and is now able to give back to local communities, I wanted to find out how he carved his career path and what advice he could give to young people.


Paul, who is married and has two children who also received their results this year, said: “There will be lots of children who haven’t got the results they wanted. Grades only tell you you’ve got the ability to learn, and they don’t say how you’re going to be in the workplace.


“Students who are excellent get put on a pedestal while the ones who just do OK don’t get as much attention.” Paul left school with ‘OK grades’ and went on to develop his interests when he began working.


Being from Wigston myself, I was enthusiastic to hear that, at age 16, Paul went on to work at Premier Percussion – anyone who lives near the area knows how iconic that building was.


“I was on low pay but this is when things start to fall into place. Now is when effort becomes much more appreciated than how clever you are, and you’re able to find something you’re really interested in.”


He worked his way up to operations director and left 16 years later with the realisation his calling was in technology.


Paul went to work for a business where he was in charge of implementing ERP systems into computers and turning around struggling companies.


Due to the skills he’d developed through his love of IT, he was able to work independently through a recession and set up his own ERP consultancy company, Mr HIT, which he runs today.

“The first year was a piece of cake but then a big customer of mine went bust and it was a disaster.


"In Blaby there’s a mound which was an ice house dating back to 1843. That little building means a lot to me. I used to sit on top of it and cry, wondering what I was going to do.”

Read the full article in Niche Magazine.

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