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From working-class roots to highflying entrepreneur

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Published on 19 January 2021

North East Entreprenuer Howard McCain
North East Entreprenuer Howard McCain

Howard McCain will deliver his online talk to students (January 19), and offer a fascinating insight about his journey from a rookie apprentice to senior bank manager, to a successful entrepreneur, and beyond, including all his ups and downs along the way.

Howard had humble beginnings as the son of a semi-skilled engineer in Sunderland, and began his own career in 1982, aged 16, as a bank clerk in South Shields, working his way to regional manager and a Chartered Banking Qualification with Natwest.

However, in 1994 he left the bank, unhappy with the sales culture, and set out to follow his dream of “delighting clients’ expectations and to financially secure their futures” by setting up his own financial services practice from scratch. He grew the business organically and with a clear client focus until March 2020 when he sold it as part of his longer-term exit and retirement plans.

Today he continues within the same business as a self-employed consultant - serving his long-standing clients and helping grow the new practice for the buyers.

He is also in the process of writing his first book: ‘How to set up and run a successful Financial Services Practice’.

Howard said: “I am very happy to support the Faculty as a virtual guest speaker during these challenging times.

“It is critical that students immerse themselves with commercial insights in readiness to embark on their future careers. I am only too please to play my part in the Universities student employability and career progression strategy.”

University of Sunderland’s Associate Professor Dr Derek Watson in the Institute of Business, Law and Tourism, added: “We are delighted that Howard has agreed to present at our Faculty. His willingness to actively engage with our student community about his career insights, lessons learnt, and advice to our students in terms of employability and career progression will be warmly received. The guest lecture series is aimed at further coupling the link between theory and commercial practice and I am sure Howard’s presentation will both forge and reinforce this vital aspect of our student learning.”