GUEST speaker at the Score Apprentice Lecture in Peterhead on November 9 was Olympic medallist Tim Baillie.
Many of us will remember watching on TV when Tim, partnered by Etienne Stott, won a gold medal at London 2012, narrowly defeating fellow Scot David Florence for top spot in a thrilling final of the 2-man canoe slalom.
Tim is originally from Aberdeen and is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University. He now lives in Hertfordshire, but was back in his native North-east last Friday to open Banff and Buchan College’s new Scottish Maritime Training Academy at Peterhead Lido.
Score Group plc have strong links with Banff and Buchan College through their highly-acclaimed apprentice training scheme and Tim was invited to come to Score afterwards to address the engineering, mechanical, welding and administration apprentices and trainees.
After a short preliminary talk by Leighton Willox, Managing Director STAMP Limited, in which the importance of self-motivation and commitment in career development was stressed, Conrad Ritchie, Deputy Managing Director of Score (Europe) Limited and Chairman of STAMP Limited introduced Tim to more than 200 apprentices, trainees and staff gathered in the STAMP VITAL Lecture Theatre.
Conrad expressed his hope that Tim’s dedication and success would help inspire each person in the young audience to become the best they possibly could in their own chosen career.
With the help of a video showing the hair-raising and Herculean efforts required to overcome all the odds on the turbulent white-water course, Tim, wearing his Team GB sports kit, first gave a personal account of his gold-medal success at London 2012. The skill, strength and concentration required to master the particularly tricky conditions at the Olympic venue were obvious, and most of the audience probably thought that Tim must have been particularly privileged, or specially favoured, or maybe born with incredible talent.
“Not so,” implied Tim, who appeared to be the kind of person that everybody could relate to easily. Tim described how he had worked hard at all stages in his sporting career and had always set himself goals, first aiming to establish himself in the Aberdeen Kayak Club team, then striving to be part of the Scottish national squad, and then finally to improve even further in order to represent GB in the Olympic team.
He then went on to tell in more detail of the characteristics needed to become a winner and referred to the hours of training, the dedication, the commitment, self-discipline and single-minded determination to see things through against the odds.
At no stage had he regarded himself as better than anyone else or entitled to special recognition. In fact, he hinted on more than one occasion that perhaps he had less raw talent than some others in his field, but he more than made up for this by a positive attitude, total commitment and willingness to learn from his mistakes, while not worrying about factors outwith his control.
Tim stressed how he believed that everyone would make mistakes, but what was more important than making the mistakes in the first place was the ability to respond by learning something from each mistake and therefore improving continually.
All of these attributes and attitudes are important in the lives and careers of each of us, and apply equally to Score apprentices and trainees as they do to Olympic sportsmen and sportswomen.
After his talk Tim took time to answer several questions from the Score apprentices and trainees relating to his sporting and engineering backgrounds and his ambitions for the future.
Needless to say, he was already looking forward to more sporting challenges, but did not rule out a return to an engineering role of some sort in the future.
Finally, Richard Sadler, MD Score (Europe ) Limited, who recalled how his own family had been inspired by Tim’s achievements at the Olympics, thanked Tim for his lecture and for illustrating how skill, dedication and commitment can bring great rewards.