Meet the Team: Kirsty Barden – Head of Business Development
Meet the Team is back, with our latest edition featuring Kirsty Barden, our Head of Business Development!
We caught up with Kirsty to discuss career advice and how businesses can make the most of MDS.
What would you say to someone struggling to find out what career they want?
Finding the right career path is often a process of elimination. Focus on the things that you are excited about in each prospective role and then when it is time to move on reflect on the aspects that weren’t right for you. This will enable you concentrate on the parts you enjoyed the most and guide you forward. Many people get caught up in the job title thinking that this will affect their choices down the road, however it is your collection of abilities that will shape your next move. So, as you go through each experience, make a note of what you hope to take from each role and the benefits you will secure in the position.
What does MDS mean to you?
MDS taught me a huge amount about my capabilities in the early years of my career. I, like many young graduates, had not really had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone prior to MDS. I had chosen my degree based on what I was good at at school and expected that I would go into a career within that field. After graduating, I was unsure of what I could do and then found MDS. The programme put me into situations I would never have chosen for myself, taught me resilience and independence and gave me insight into an industry I was previously oblivious to.
MDS has grown and developed over the years in the same way our trainees do. I now have the privilege of continuing to help highly talented individuals find their best fit in an exciting and invaluable industry. MDS is about giving people an opportunity to discover their strengths and find their best fit.
In your opinion, how does your degree in forensic science help you in your role as Head of Business Development?
Any science is about being able to process information and data and spot trends. I use this ability to ensure that MDS offers what our Members and Trainees need and want. We are always looking at what skills gaps there are within the industry and what roles and experiences our Trainees are looking for. We use this to help us to ensure that we are offering the right training, secondments and opportunities so that both our Members and Trainees are able to achieve their goals.
Out of all your previous work experiences, which job taught you the most?
I have had quite an eclectic career to date, but I learnt valuable lessons in each role. Even in roles that weren’t a great fit or I haven’t enjoyed, I have been able to take something away each time. The most important thing I have learnt is that you can bring skills to every role that you undertake, no matter the position. When looking at a new role or your future career path, it is important to focus on what you can do and then you can learn the additional skills you need as you go.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
I wish I had been braver when I was younger. I would like to go back a tell myself that things rarely end up going as badly as you might think they can. My advice is to take the plunge, and in most cases, even if things don’t go to plan you will always have a good story to tell.
What would you say to a Trainee who finds the prospect of moving away from home challenging?
Being away from your support system is always going to be daunting. However, in taking on the challenge, you will build resilience.
With today’s technology there are so many ways to have meaningful contact with your friend and family. MDS also provides you with a whole cohort of individuals who are in a similar situation- use the support networks available to you and reach out to your fellow Trainees.
How can Member companies get the best out of the MDS schemes?
The best way to make sure you gain the most from being an MDS Member is to ensure that all key people really buy into this scheme and have an understanding on what your company want to achieve with the Trainees. At the end of MDS, Trainees have a well-rounded understanding of the industry and will have taken on and succeeded in a variety of roles. They will be ready to take on permanent positions and will bring their knowledge and experience with them to your company. During their time with MDS Trainees are expanding their knowledge and leadership skills, and it is important that this is understood and their development is supported.
What can MDS offer to its Members that others cannot?
MDS is unique in that it does not just offer one solution to filling the leadership pipeline of our Members. We support companies with temporary roles by providing them with highly capable and reliable trainees for secondments. We produce 2 cohorts a year of very experienced and highly trained individuals looking for permanent roles in the industry. We also remove a lot of the major risks and costs associated with recruiting the right talent into your organisation.