Rupert Rixon, founder and CEO of Perspective Pictures, talks to The Mancunion about why students should be focussing on gaining practical work experience and life skills
One would think that after skateboarding 3,000 miles across America, from Los Angeles to New York in two months, Rupert Rixon might have decided to take it easy for a while.
One might even assume that having recorded the whole journey to produce an epic feature-length documentary about the experience, Rupert might have been ready to look for a ‘real’ job.
Instead, two years later at age 22, Rupert is settling in to his role as the founder and CEO of Perspective Pictures, a creative video production company with a client base worth bragging about, including Google, HSBC, the Labour Party and UFC.
Naturally, The Mancunion wanted to know just how a budding video maker might have established his own business at an age where most of us are still struggling to operate a washing machine.
Projects, Rupert says, are the key to learning practical hands-on skills that employers value; “Come up with a project, work on it, and complete it. Make stuff. Start a company, run an event, whatever it is.” The young entrepreneur can’t emphasize enough the importance of practical, hands-on skills that employers crave, the skills acquired by completing internships or work experience as opposed to the theoretical approaches encouraged at university.
In looking at his journey to CEO, it is hard to ignore this advice. It was the preparation and planning needed for the trip across America, Rupert claims, with the added responsibility of “bringing on sponsors, sending out pitches, organising the whole thing, and leading a team” that equipped him with the confidence to start his own company.
University students investing unthinkable amounts of time and money into achieving a degree with the aim of making themselves more employable might find the news that Rupert chose not to pursue further education a bittersweet revelation.
For Rupert, however, “the experience of university, and what you make of it, is far more valuable than the degree on its own”. Students should take the time to get a flavour for various working environments and to assess the ways in which their skills could fit into a particular business.
“I work hard and try to surround myself with the right people” he answers, when asked about the differences between himself and his peers growing up; evidently, grades are not the only indicators of those who will go on to thrive in the competitive world of work.
For students who would like to quite literally follow in the illustrious footsteps of Mr Rixon, Perspective Pictures offers regular internship positions, a venture which Rupert believes to be “great for bringing new energy and ideas to the company and finding potential new team members”. It is important for businesses, he believes, to offer these opportunities to young people, provided they pay the minimum of expenses.
From an employer’s perspective, the business owner has some words of wisdom for those who might find themselves in his interview room; “When it comes to hiring, for me I base it almost entirely on personality and a variety of good work. Rather than just having education credits on their CV, being able to see that they have achieved things and gained experience is really appealing.”
As for his own career, Rupert has found the confines of Britain to be too restrictive for his big ambitions, and intends to expand Perspective Pictures and open an office in New York. In the meantime, young admirers will no doubt dream of their own illustrious career paths, dotted with the trip of a lifetime abroad and reaching an unlikely height in their early twenties. Who knows? To take Rupert’s advice might just be the first step to seeing this dream become a reality.
Perspective Pictures‘ website and information about upcoming internship opportunities can be found at http://www.perspectivepicturesfilms.com/.