Simon Omotoso, SEO London candidate, Schools Advance programme
I didn’t spend my early childhood thinking about what I wanted to be when I was older. I was born and raised in London solely because of the perseverance of my parents who worked to bring themselves to this country and create opportunities for me and my siblings. My focus was on things like school and sports. My parents came from Nigeria hopeful but unconnected and without clear opportunities; I grew up in a household without higher education. My parents were hard workers themselves and so they instilled in me a belief to put 100% into everything that I did, and so I exercised this within my education and leisure activities, and this gave me a foundation to build on as I grew and got closer to a working age.
However, despite all the preparation that formal education can give you, it doesn’t prepare you for the corporate world; my secondary school filled this gap by connecting me with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) London towards the end of my time there, and while they do provide support when it comes to higher education, I view this decision as a turning point for my career prospects.
The SEO London Advance programme promised to help with all aspects of professional development from choosing a career path to working to secure you placements within sectors of your choosing. It only occurs to me in hindsight that this is a rare opportunity, not offered to many people growing up in environments similar to mine. It even sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t for anyone who puts an effort into the programme. The more you put into what you do with SEO London, the more you’ll get out of it. I’ve had work experience weeks across Technology and Finance and insight days in Marketing. Time spent within firms and learning how to write applications, both as part of the work with SEO London, let me know how to evaluate whether a company is right for me as much as they evaluate if I am right for them.
Today I am an undergraduate at the University of Warwick studying Computer Science, but I feel more confident in applying for these roles and I feel hopeful for my future career as I go through university.