What attracted you to relocate to Scotland?
Aside from the role, which is challenging and UK-wide, rather than regional, there was a big jump up in the standard of living in Scotland. For example, I no longer have the commuting grind. These days I travel three times as far, but in a third of the time. In a congested Manchester it would take me about 45 minutes to an hour to commute about seven miles.
What impact will this job have on your career?
It has allowed me to take the next step up. Ive moved from being responsible for a regional account to now dealing with Avivas strategy for commercial clients. My team and I set the strategy and the way forward for our complex commercial clients. That gives me a greater exposure to our directors and senior staff and influence in the direction that Aviva takes in commercial markets. Its a pretty good position to be in.
Do you feel there are plenty of job opportunities in your industry in Scotland?
Yes. I think Glasgow and Edinburgh are big centres in terms of financial services and insurance. Even in Aviva there are a lot of job opportunities in Scotland. In Perth, Aviva has an underwriting centre of excellence which has nearly 1200 staff, covering claims and underwriting in both commercial and personal product lines. Some of our IT and analytical teams are there as well. We have a big claims centre of excellence in Bishopbriggs, outside Glasgow, as well.
How does your house now compare to where you lived in Manchester?
I live out in Crieff now, which is a small market town, just west of Perth. I now have stunning views of the Ochil Hills outside my back door. It is a very quiet area. You have all the services you need on Crieff High Street and we are still only half an hour away from all the facilities of Perth, and anything I can get in Manchester I can get in Edinburgh or Glasgow, both of which are within easy reach. We also managed to get a bigger property than we could have afforded in Manchester.
Have you started to make friends/develop a social life?
My wife is into horses and riding and she has a good network here and Im involved in the community, helping out with the Duke of Edinburgh Award locally. In terms of social life, there is a great deal going on with friends from inside and outside the office.
What are your leisure interests?
We do a lot of hill walking and cycling. While we had the lakes and the peaks fairly close to us in Manchester, in Scotland we have the hills and glens quite literally on our doorstep, which allows us to get out almost every weekend. We do a lot more hill walking and cycling now, so we are a lot fitter these days. Ive also really got into mountain biking after coming to Scotland. There are some good mountain bike trails right outside my back door. You could put the bikes in the car and you have infinite possibilities within a half hour drive either in remote glens or organised courses.
Where do you go in your holiday time?
Weve spent a lot of the last couple of years exploring Scotland. We have been up to a lot of the islands, such as Orkney, Skye and Mull. We spend a lot of our time combining walking and cycling with exploring all that Scotland has to offer. We have also been to Aviemore and Fort William. Its also very easy to fly out from Edinburgh or Glasgow when you want a break abroad.
What do you think about your new life in Scotland?
I think it is great. The standard of living in Scotland is much greater with all that we have on our doorstep. Its been a really excellent move. We couldnt be more pleased about moving, from a career point of view as well. Its a change of lifestyle compared with my old life in Manchester. Im much more active now I spend a lot more time outside and that keeps us a lot fitter.
How does your image of Scotland before compare with reality?
I think all those images of remoteness and nothing going on are a little bit old world. It didnt bear out. There are all the facilities you need. Everything is easy to get to. We were very pleasantly surprised.
What would you say to attract people to Scotland?
People should consider moving to Scotland, whether their interest lies in the great outdoors as ours does, or in culture. There is always something going on in Perth, Edinburgh or Glasgow. Its a good place to be if you are in the insurance industry in terms of roles and opportunities. Id encourage anyone to move.
Find out more about living and working in Scotland