Richard – Colour Experience manager

Are you interested in teaching? Could you come up with new ways of delivering scientific information in exciting or unusual ways? Could you work with different age groups using colour to aid their learning? If you answered yes to these questions then you could be a Colour Experience manager just like Richard, from the Society of Dyers and Colourists.

What attracted you to this job?

The opportunity to deliver scientific information in a more inspiring way.

What does your typical day involve?

There’s no typical day! I could be speaking to college students about using colour in their design work, reading a story to nursery children as they take their first steps with colour, inspiring A-level chemistry students with an exciting demonstration or even, if I’m lucky, sitting in front of my computer catching up on all of the associated admin!

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

Working with children who are enthusiastic about colour science.

What do your friends and family think about your job?

Most of them don’t really know what the job entails – I was on the telly once so that made a few people more aware.

Tell us more about your environment in terms of work-life balance

I currently work four days a week with workshops on three of them leaving me a day clear for admin. I’m really lucky in that I love my job, so it’s never a bind coming in to work, but it’s important to make time for stuff outside work too.

How did you get to where you are today?

I trained as a teacher, after dropping out of a computer science degree, and taught science for a number of years. The opportunity to work at the Colour Museum, as it was then, came up and I started delivering workshops here on a freelance basis and continued teaching part time. The workshops developed to such an extent that there wasn’t time for me to be teaching in schools. A couple of years ago the previous manager retired and I took over.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following your path?/ What words of wisdom would you give someone interested in getting into your field?

Go for it! Teaching science is a great career – it’s really hard work if you’re going to do it well – loads of preparation and really being on top of things – but it is so rewarding when you can see students making connections and really starting to understand what you’re trying to put across.

How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for someone in your field, and how much can this be expected to rise?

I’m currently on a typical teaching salary. About £25,000 for 4 days/wk.

What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax?

I love making things – all sorts of things. I’m fascinated by how things work – technology. I make miniature steam engines and have a garden railway under construction which is taking all of my spare time at the moment. My sons sing in a choir and I enjoy going to their concerts and like listening to a range of music.

Have there been any embarrassing moments?

When I was talking to one group of children I perched on the edge of a table which had a tip-up top on it. The inevitable happened and I ended up on the floor surrounded by all of the papers and worksheets that had been on the table – along with a large lump on the back of my head where the table top had hit me on my way down. Embarrassing and painful!