Here at Lifetime we are thrilled to announce that Rachel Veitch-Straw, the National Liaison Officer for Brass Bands England, is the latest addition to our ‘Barnsley Businesses Inspiring Students project’.
Rachel’s role with Brass Bands England sees her assisting community music-making groups across England to survive and thrive as cultural enterprises.
She is an accomplished, enthusiastic and confident speaker and presenter, and it is in using these skills to lead workshops or support others to develop their own skills that Rachel most enjoys her work.
She is a natural communicator, a teacher, mentor and supportive guide.
Rachel has worked in industry, education and in the charity and community sector, and whilst her jobs have varied from barmaid to wheel wrench sales support, learning mentor to community business adviser and other jobs in-between, all Rachel’s roles have utilised her communication and connection skills.
Rachel’s work life began in her home town of Sheffield with a Saturday job assisting in a sandwich shop. It was working here, and subsequently at a local pub, that she first learned the importance of customer service and building relationships with customers.
After gaining three A Levels, a BA Honours degree in German and Swedish at Hull University gave Rachel not only the chance to study Vikings, but also to live in Germany for a year and visit Sweden for a month. Having already toured Yugoslavia, Australia and Italy as a member of City of Sheffield Youth Brass Band, Rachel was well aware of her love of travel and thrived living and working abroad.
Following a tough choice between pursuing a career in education, or one in business, Rachel then secured her first full-time job at outstanding engineering company AESSEAL, where she enjoyed six years as Sales Administrator .
After her time with this ground-breaking employer, Rachel then worked for a smaller group of companies who produced cutlery and wheel wrenches. The change was enjoyable, but Rachel felt the need to seek a role where she could make a difference to the lives of others.
Her next career move was into education, as a learning mentor. Rachel enjoyed this challenging role for two years and after a further two years in a management role in a Sheffield infant school, connecting families, school, and community groups, Rachel was offered the opportunity to join Three Consulting, a start-up social enterprise. Together with manager Dave Oldroyd, she built the business to a team of seven, with contracts in 87 Sheffield schools.
Difficult times in the Third Sector meant that the good times at Three Consulting were brought to a premature end and Rachel’s next roles were necessary to keep an income.
Since 2012, Rachel has worked in her current role at Brass Bands England. Based at the head office in Barnsley, Rachel travels nationally, supporting brass bands to secure funding, become stable organisations, and have a great time making music and sharing it with others.
Says Rachel: “I suppose the point I would want to make to schools by telling my story is that it’s important to know your strengths, and that in the modern world, varied jobs can be supported by transferable skills.”