In 2006 my family and I were fortunate enough to visit Australia.  Part of our trip included a week on Hamilton Island, which is part of the Whitsunday Islands, close to the Great Barrier Reef. Once there, my sister in law and I organised two husbands, five small children and group of in-laws to board a two-hour catamaran trip to a pontoon on the edge of the reef. The pontoon was packed with things to do – a submerged viewing gallery with running audio to describe the wildlife outside for those who didn’t want to get wet; a submarine full of information cards and a guide commenting about the animals all around us; snorkelling gear was provided, with species identification cards for people who wanted to explore for themselves and small groups bobbing around a floatation ring with a team member diving down and bringing specimens back to the surface to show us.  It was an amazing and fascinating trip.

You might wonder where I’m going with this; telling you about a fabulous holiday so let me explain my point…my eldest daughter, Emily, was nine years old at the time and from that day on she set her sights on becoming a Marine Biologist.  That experience at nine years old, sparked her imagination, fed by all information shared with her and the passion enthused by those sharing, so much that this one occasion set her lifetime career ambition.  Emily has never wavered from this goal as her path took her through her educational journey and last week, Emily graduated from Bangor University with a First-Class Honour’s degree in Marine Biology.  Emily has worked her socks off to achieve her dream, demonstrating more grit and determination then I can credit her for.  Needless to say, we are very proud of her.

Attending the graduation ceremony, I was struck by the number of people who are striving to learn; not just the students who are at the end of their courses and starting their careers, but also the people receiving doctorates and fellowships, who have made it their life work to study, to learn and to teach. The resounding message throughout all their speeches was to “Keep learning, keep striving to understand and keep educating others.”  I found it all very inspiring. However, this message wasn’t new to me, when I think about my work life I hear similar messages daily.  risual have never relented on their passion for seeing others grow and succeed; for all employees to have a growth mindset and be a “LearnitAll” not a “KnowitAll”.  I personally take pride and enjoyment from seeing my team and colleagues succeed in their careers, progressing through promotional roles or completing their apprenticeship.  I have endorsed the same myself and a few years ago attended my own graduation through a higher education training programme provided at risual.  I am grateful for the opportunity risual gives us all to continue to learn.

Emily now has an internship at Anglesey Sea Zoo as an Aquarist.  At interview, the Sea Zoo asked her what her strengths were, to which she replied “a passion to learn more and to educate people about what we have on our shores and in our waters”. As well as looking after the animals at the aquarium, Emily gives daily talks about the exhibits and takes groups of school children on Sea Safari hoping to enthuse others in the way that she was on the Barrier Reef, to make it their mission to learn all they can and to pass that knowledge on.  Whether they choose to be Marine Biologist’s themselves who knows, but I do hope they take away the passion that Emily shared for doing something she loved achieved through grit and determination to get there.