Staff Spotlight: Richard Cavaye, Head of Business, Economics, and Enterprise

In our Staff Spotlight series we are speaking with our fantastic Gordonstoun staff and getting an insight into what makes them tick. Meet Richard Cavaye, our Head of Business, Economics, and Enterprise who shares with us his passion for his students, innovative teaching methods and of course, 80’s tunes! From the successes of Young Enterprise, to the department's vast array of guest speakers, Richard gives us a window into the world of Business, Economics, and Enterprise at Gordonstoun.

Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and how long you have worked at Gordonstoun

I came to Gordonstoun in 2011 from Edinburgh, and I loved it from day one. Particularly, because in that first term I met Liz, the Head of Maths, and we got married three years later! So that was a lovely start.

I started as a business teacher, and then two years later, I was asked to join the pastoral team. I spent seven years in the pastoral, first as Year 9 Leader, and then as Sixth Form Coordinator, and I really enjoyed that as well. In 2020, I took over from Steve Brown as Head of Business, Economics and Enterprise and have been doing that ever since.

What do you enjoy most about working at Gordonstoun?

That's easy - the students. Every year I get to work with an amazing group of young people who are so inspirational.

What is happening in your department right now?

We’ve got a young Enterprise team, and they're heading for the regional finals in March - Young Enterprise is a really good experience for young people of starting up a business. Mr. Monteith and I have also been producing a podcast on Economics and Geography, which is another way of learning that the students really enjoy. We also have some guest speakers coming in. I think we're the Department with the most guest speakers, in the past we've had people from local businesses and from people from national businesses. We've got some fantastic guest speakers lined up this year.

What is the best guest speaker you’ve had to visit?

Recently we were visited by an OG, Helen Ball, who works for the Bank of England. She came and talked about the Bank of England and what its role is in the UK economy, as well as talking to the students about careers for economists in the Bank of England, an area that most of the year group had not previously considered. We also had a great talk from a parent who was Vice President of Nike. That was fascinating and students were impressed by the number of high profile sports stars he knew personally. These are the more high profile speakers we’ve had, but actually, I think some of the best speakers we’ve had are people running small businesses. We had a speaker who set up a coffee van in Moray, and he was brilliant! He shared with the students about all the problems and issues that come with running a business. So we have a real variety, Bank of England one week, coffee van owner the next.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I've spoken in Chapel over 50 times - and I've never forgotten my lines once!

But I think my biggest achievement probably has been my ability to adapt, because in my life there has been huge change. When I was at school, people watched black and white televisions. There was no internet and people wrote letters to each other. Everything's changed in the world. I've been able to sort of ride with, and embrace change throughout my life, and I even look forward to change now. So I think that’s my biggest achievement.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Listening to 80s tunes! I love 80’s music, I was a teenager in the 80s. In fact, I now present a radio show on local radio station KCR, where I play a lot of 80s tunes, and I love doing that. It's just a great time - I love it when someone phones in and asks for quite an obscure track that they haven't heard for a long time, and I can find it and play it on the radio for them.

What is something surprising about you?

When I was in my final year at school, I ran 100 metres in 11.26 seconds. That's quite fast! I don’t think people would expect that looking at me now.

What talent would you most like to have?

I'd like to be able to do DIY. I can't do anything about the house, like put up a shelf, or even wallpaper a wall, or lay a floor. I'm hopeless at it. I'm so admiring of people who can do DIY.

Is there a quote or saying you live your life by?

There's a song that has the line, “you can't get something for nothing”. I really don’t think anything in life you can get from nothing. You have to work at it.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Listening to 1980’s tunes, at full volume. Our kitchen window looks out onto the street, and during COVID I used to get up in the morning and cheer myself up by playing disco music and dancing. The neighbours must have thought “what’s that guy up to!”.

Thanks to Richard for taking the time to chat with us!

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