Meet our Alumni: Abdul Siddiqi
Abdul joined the UTC in Year 10 to specialise in Engineering Design and Manufacture, alongside GCSEs in English, Maths, Science, Business Studies, German and Computer Science.
He is currently enrolled on the Space Engineering Programme at the National Space Academy partnered with the National Space Centre. As a part of this programme he studies A Levels in Physics & Maths alongside an extended BTEC Qualification in Engineering, and he has just finished his term as Derby Youth Mayor.
He says: “My decision to study at the UTC was based on a personal decision to make a big change in my life. I am someone who enjoys change, I see it as an opportunity to reinvent myself the way I want in a new environment where I can choose to be whoever I want to be.
Abdul had a positive experience at the UTC: “Coming to school every day didn’t feel like a chore and I don’t think it’s all that common for young people to look forward to school.
“It was educational and fun – I genuinely felt like it was a small family, a great diverse community and everyone was friends with everyone.”
Abdul enjoyed several engagements with employers whilst at the UTC: “My work placements took place in 2018 and to this day I am still in contact with employers such as Toyota & Rolls-Royce, even visiting their places of work multiple times. Those work placements that the staff at UTC worked hard to secure for me really allowed me to network and make connections that I still have today.”
Whilst undertaking his studies, Abdul took part in extracurricular activities at the UTC. He says: “I had the opportunity of joining the Student Party Movement at the UTC which involved taking an active leadership role and getting the whole student body including teachers engaged.”
Speaking about the staff at the UTC, Abdul says: “The teachers at the UTC weren’t just teachers, they went beyond what was required. They were invested in me as a student and it was clear that they cared about not only the academic side of my progress but also my character development and personal growth.”
Commuting 40 minutes a day to the UTC was a change for Abdul, but it was one he was willing to make: “Moving from my previous school I was suffering mental health issues such as social anxiety which meant I found it incredibly hard to speak to people. By the end of Year 11 I was on the student council, leading the student movement and I was delivering coursework and GCSE revision workshops to students!”
For anyone thinking of studying at the UTC, Abdul says: “Change is a big thing. It can be scary going into a new environment not knowing what your outcome will be. Leaving friends and a place you’ve known for such a long time isn’t easy but most great things in life aren’t easy. If you’re looking for employer engagement and contact time, work placement opportunities, I would 100% recommend UTC, all it takes is talking to your teachers. If you put the effort in, it will definitely not go unnoticed and the benefits will be reaped. My experience at UTC taught me that if I ever wanted to pursue anything at all, all I had to do is ask and my teachers would support me in all the ways they could. I always say that change is a way to re-invent yourself the way you want, maybe this is your opportunity to re-invent yourself.”