Skip to Main Content

Dentist Shares Long Road to Dream Job

Callum Graham, Head of Clinical and Digital Dentistry, has shared his career route – showing that there are different routes to secure a dream job.

Published: 08 August 2023

As thousands of school children across Scotland receive long-awaited exam results, many feel the pressure to secure the best grades.

Callum Graham, Head of Clinical and Digital Dentistry at Clyde Munro, always wanted to be a dentist, but a poor experience with a careers adviser convinced him to take a different path.

Callum said: “He asked me what I wanted to do, and I said dentistry. He said: ‘We’d all like to be dentists, doctors or lawyers, but you have to be more realistic in what you can achieve. Come back next week and tell me what you think you can do!”

Taking the advice on board, Callum took inspiration from his dad, who was an engineer, even though it didn’t align with his aspirations to become a dentist.

The experience deeply affected Callum, who was disappointed by the results of his Highers. He went on to study Civil Engineering at Glasgow University before dropping out, just four months into the course.

He then decided to take a job on building sites while he studied an HNC in Civil Engineering, which he loved, but wasn’t the job he had always dreamed of.

When Callum was 20, his sister passed away, which completely changed his outlook on life and prompted him to reevaluate his career opportunities. Two years later, he decided to return to college to re-sit his Highers and pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a dentist.

Callum received an unconditional offer to study at Newcastle University and graduated at 29, which drove him to work twice as hard to make up for lost time, an ethos that he has stuck to throughout his working career.

After graduating, Callum began working as an associate, before purchasing his own practices and eventually working his way up to Head of Clinical and Digital Dentistry at Clyde Munro, the leading Scottish dental group, which operates 80 practices across Scotland

Callum said: “I was an associate for four years before buying my first practice, eventually owning three practices, all of which we sold, the final one to Clyde Munro.

“Owning my own business gave me the scope to develop my clinical skills in my own way and with the direction I wanted to go in, something not really available to associates at the time.

“Eventually I got so busy running businesses and treating patients that I had to decide which direction I wanted to go in: back to being a dentist or stopping clinical practice and becoming a ‘manager’.

“My heart is in dentistry so we decided to sell the practices so that I could concentrate on being a clinician again, and that is what I’ve done up till now.

“Clyde Munro offers unique opportunities that perhaps weren’t available to me as a younger dentist. They see the value in the education and development of their clinicians and staff and are keen to invest in their future. This investment in staff and technology creates unique opportunities within dentistry in Scotland.”

Having started in engineering after leaving school to finally graduating and beginning a career in dentistry at the age of 29, Callum has wise words for young people getting their exam results this week:  Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, because with enough hard work and determination, almost anything becomes achievable.”

To those considering their next career move, we want to remind you that there are so many satisfying roles within the dental sector and various routes into the industry. Visit to view our vacancies or get in touch today for a confidential chat.