YOUNG businessman Matthew Cumiskey is living proof that good grades are not the only path to success.
The former Newsome High School pupil failed all of his GCSEs except for PE.
Now at 22, he is opening his first business – a town centre butchers – and helping to employ youngsters who struggled at school.
Matthew, of Newsome, said while he hated school a work experience placement at RC Russell butchers in the Packhorse Centre had really captured his imagination.
Six years on he has now launched his own business M Cumiskey Quality Meats from the very same premises where he got his first taste of the real world.
He said: “I just didn’t enjoy school, I didn’t really want to be there half the time. I didn’t go all the time – I got into a bit of trouble.
“I used to leave early to go to work because I really liked working. I think I’ve learned more at work than I ever did at school.”
Matthew said working at the butchers had really inspired him and he had been saving up for his own business for years.
He said: “When I worked for Ray (Russell butchers) I really enjoyed it. I did all my food hygiene courses and my NVQs and an apprenticeship in meat and poultry.”
Having built up his experience and contacts, Matthew’s chance to strike out on his own came when a former employer said he wanted to sell the Packhorse Centre shop.
He said: “I had a word and we sorted something out so that I could buy it off him.
“Since I came here on work placement I’ve been saving up for this.
“We’re getting a lot of old customers back and some new ones. I’ve got a couple of part-time staff including a young lad who’s just left college. He was having trouble at school, he’s pretty much having the same problems that I did, so I’m returning the favour.”
With his shop now up and running Matthew said he was both confident and scared about the future. But he said his advice to others who couldn’t get to grip with academics was “don’t give up”.