Colin Finlayson – A story of reinventing yourself and following your dreams
I was never suited to the academic route and left Bayside at the age of 15 for the Technical College…. there I continued to fail, so I left school permanently but have not stopped learning and developing since!
Starting off with a summer job as a Gardener, first up the Rock and then at the Governor’s Residence, I soon moved on to become an Apprentice Telecoms Mechanic with the Gibraltar Government Telephone Department It was there I had the opportunity to complete my City & Guilds qualification and apprenticeship and I was promoted to the Telecomms Technician grade. This took me through to the age of 24 when I decided I wanted to leave Gibraltar and study. I took my GCSE Maths and English in night school at the Gibraltar College and with this I managed to join the Edinburgh Engineering Degree Access Course. This led me to start my Civil Engineering Degree at University of Edinburgh as a mature student at the age of 26.
To help fund my university experience, as a student I worked as a Bus Cleaner and Tour Guide, and did some voluntary work at a shelter for the homeless and also some odd construction laboring work. All of these opportunities taught me a new range of skills and introduced me to many different people.
Following my graduation, I came back to Gibraltar where I joined Mowlem, a General Building Contractor, and worked as a Site Engineer on various projects in Gibraltar. These included the Airfield resurfacing, Old Naval Hospital and the Ordnance Wharf Development.
At the age of 34 I decided to move to Barcelona. where I joined an international Project Management company. I was fortunate enough to work in Bilbao on the construction of an award-winning project and also on a number of projects in Barcelona. It was here I began 3 years of study in th Catalan language.
Things changed for me when, at the age of 39, I was made redundant in the midst of the Global Crisis. This turned out to be an opportunity for me to establish myself as a Freelance Project Manager and I soon set up my own Project Management Company, Castiel Consultants (now a leading project management company with 20 staff with offices in Madrid and Barcelona).
I returned to studying at the age of 42 and completed a 2-year Post Graduate Diploma in Quantity Surveying through Distance Learning at Heriot Watt University, following which I became a Chartered Quantity Surveyor (RICS).
My thirst for self-development continued and, following 3 more years of training, I became a Certified Leadership and Team coach and created Afteria, a coaching company.
Now aged 53, I currently split my time leading Castiel and as a Coach supporting Leaders and Teams development in other organisations in Spain, England and recently back in Gibraltar.