The Mayor and Tech

Google's search for apprentice leads them to Anthony

09 July 2020

In November 2019, an online advert promoting an innovative new training programme for young Londoners caught Anthony Owuso-Ansah's eye. 

As a young person who dreamed of working for a large global tech company, this opportunity called the Social Switch Project appealed to Anthony’s interests. 

Reading further about the programme, Anthony realised that the project – now funded by the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to deliver a training course for young people looking to channel their creative skills towards positive outcomes – was ideal for him and his career aspirations.

On course to success

Anthony attended an assessment day and displayed a clear passion for building a career in the tech industry. Despite completing his A-Levels, there were very few pathways for Anthony into the kind of tech firms he dreamed of one day working at. The project promised career support through advisers who work with participants to get them access to work experience and long-term employment within leading organisations across London, and this feature also appealed to Anthony’s ambitions.

Anthony was selected to join the social media management training programme. At 17-years-old, he was the youngest participant on the course and, over the next three weeks, he worked on tasks and projects designed to develop the soft and technical skills that are required for digital careers. 

He displayed potential throughout the course, and was especially strong at public speaking and pitching ideas. 

“During the project, the main thing I learnt about myself was that I had a good ability to adapt," he said, reflecting on the lessons he learned during the project. "I quickly understood that I would be dealing with many different personalities with different skill sets and ways of doing things. Rather than see this as an excuse to limit myself, I took it as a chance to adapt to every new situation that came my way.” 

Over the programme, Anthony’s teamwork and communication skills improved, and this was evident when he was part of the youth panel at a Social Switch event that took place at Google’s headquarters, where he spoke confidently in front of an audience of industry professionals, business leaders, and his peers.

Making the switch

Having graduated from the course with an accreditation in project management, Anthony pursued the networking and career development opportunities presented to him by his Social Switch career advisor. CV support was offered before he applied for – and was accepted onto – a three-year course at Pearson’s Business School, which he has already started. 

But Anthony didn’t stop there. His career advisor recommended that he apply for the highly competitive Google Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, and provided interview practice in the lead up to his interview which took place in the midst of lockdown. Explaining his motivation and passion for all things digital, Anthony explained that digital platforms – if used positively – can remove some of the barriers that young people face:

“Digital platforms give young people opportunities regardless of any situation,” he said. “This lockdown is a good example. Young people could still network, grow personal brands, learn and self-educate, and even find jobs despite being restricted from doing these things in person. I even had my Google interview digitally!’

Dream offer from Google

Despite COVID-19 having a devastating effect on the future prospects of young people, Anthony’s hard work, commitment to career development, and his people skills were rewarded when he was offered that prestigious Digital Marketing Apprenticeship at Google, beating thousands of other applicants to secure his place.

“I hope to acquire further knowledge and skill in digital marketing, and use that to progress my career,’ he explained. 

Anthony’s ecstatic at the opportunity he’s earned – as is his family – but he is aware that this is more than just about him. 

“I also want to use it as an opportunity to inspire other young people, especially from Wandsworth where I’m from, to see that you can be successful regardless of your circumstances. Taking on this role is not just about me furthering my career, it’s about me growing a following and platform to inspire young people.”

The London VRU is now funding the second year of this project, with programmes due to recommence in September. If you would like to find out more or refer a young people onto the programme, please contact The Social Switch Project.

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