European Vocational Skills Week

A journey from apprentice to entrepreneur

A journey from apprentice to entrepreneur

News | 8 August 2019

Russell Hogarth, Honorary Fellow, Community Ambassador and Entrepreneur in residence at University of Central Lancashire, UK

Entrepreneurs can come from many walks of life and different circumstances. They’re ambitious individuals who identify a customer need, and work to resolve it.

Manual apprenticeships in the UK increased in popularity during the 1950’s-early 1970’s. Apprenticeships focused on sectors such as engineering, the motor trade, carpentry and plumbing.

Russell Hogarth took advantage of the surge in traineeships and chose to embark on an apprenticeship in the motor trade. He started his apprenticeship with motor company Jaguar, and then moved to Audi VW, where he became the specialist for Northern England. This pathed the way for his future.

Using the transferable skills learnt from his apprenticeship, Russell spent the next 25 years of his career running his own successful business, which consisted of repairing, buying and selling thoroughbred and classic cars.

At the age of 48, Russell retired to take up full time voluntary work and enter the academic world. Since then he has become an Honorary Fellow and Community Ambassador at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. He chairs the national, international and Pan-European Creative Communities Group, and is the entrepreneur in residence for the university’s business school.

He promotes the benefits of vocational education and training, and is one of the ambassadors of the virtual community of practice, supporting the Cedefop VET toolkit for tackling early leaving.

He is also an advisor on mental health and wellbeing and the built environment for the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Association of Social Workers. His voluntary work also allows him to attend meetings in the UK House of Commons, the House of Lords and the European Parliament. 

Despite his dyslexia, Russell has published a number of works with his university colleagues, including his book Creative Education, Teaching and Learning that was released in 2015.

Russell’s work expands into being a social entrepreneur for UnLtd and delivering monthly ‘RussTalks’ where he aims to inspire young entrepreneurs, students and staff. Russell is often asked for advice on how to become a successful entrepreneur; his response is always, ‘I don’t believe in luck, I believe in preparation meeting opportunity. The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity!’

An apprenticeship helped Russell discover his talent and passion. If you have an inspiring story about vocational education and training, share it with us. Visit our Share your story page where you can submit your own story and read others.