Alumnus of the Month
Omar Siddique is our Westminster City School Alumnus of the Month. Omar left Westminster City School in 2010 and continued his studies at Westminster City School's Sixth Form until 2012. He now works as an Aircraft Engineer for British Airways.
Please tell us a little about yourself – where do you work and how did you get to this role?
I grew up in Elephant & Castle to parents who were the first or second generation of my family in the UK, like many of the students at Westminster City School.
Currently I am working at London Heathrow with British Airways Engineering. I work day to day with long haul aircraft like the Airbus A380, Boeing 787, and Boeing 777. As you can imagine, the aircraft are complex machines that can develop all sorts of problems. My job is to keep these aircraft in a serviceable and safe conditions, so that people can fly off on their holidays with nothing to worry about! This often involves getting the tools out and getting my hands dirty! There is a lot of investigation work and problem solving involved. I can be working on any part of the aircraft on any day, you never know what to expect.
I am also involved with AOG recoveries, which means that my team can be sent at very short notice to any part of the world to recover damaged aircraft and fly them back to the UK for repair. You can go into work one day and the next thing you know, you are on a flight to Tokyo to recover an aircraft. As the cliche goes, every day is different.
I got to this role after studying engineering at university and working previously for Rolls Royce in the aircraft engine sector. To be honest, there are many different routes into my role, an apprenticeship is a good option. The main thing is to be proactive and go for any opportunities that come up.
What are some of your proudest achievements since leaving Westminster City School?
I am proud to make my family proud. Like many people from an immigrant background, there are several more barriers that I have had to overcome to be able to be in the position I am today. My parents especially worked hard to allow me to focus on my studies. I see many young people today not appreciating the efforts their families put in and it really frustrates me. They forget how hard their parents have had to struggle!
Working in several prominent companies like Rolls Royce and British Airways, developing patents for aircraft engine components etc all feed back into repaying the efforts of my family.
What advice would you give someone looking to follow a similar career path?
The main thing I would say is to never underestimate an opportunity, no matter how small it seems. I have seen first hand how one small voluntary role, turns into a part time role, turns into a full time leadership role, turns into a professional role at a world renowned company. Don’t narrow yourself to one sector too early on, get a part time job, volunteer in different sectors and give yourself time to find what you like.
Keep the mindset that your job is to learn. I have seen far too many young people scared of failure, and reject so many opportunities because of that. Everything that you try will give you a new skill, that’s a guarantee!
Go and try it, whatever it may be. If you fail, so what? You will learn and improve. The most valuable skill in my opinion, is a proactive and positive attitude. This applies to every field, and every sector!
How have your experiences at Westminster City School contributed to your life and successes since leaving school?
WCS was a real melting pot of different people when I was there. That helped me appreciate that everyone has something different to offer. I remember several teachers at WCS who really appreciated and understood the background I came from, and really helped push me on to believe that I can be successful. They helped me value the simple things such as respect, appreciation of family and a positive attitude. Although this may seem trivial, I really believe that this has helped me immeasurably through my personal and professional life.
Can you describe one of your fondest memories from your time at Westminster City School?
Hands down, it has to be Mr. Bossman and Mr. Woods supporting us with A-level Maths and Philosophy. We could walk into their classrooms at any time and get help. Good old fashioned help in the true Mr Bossman style. They would give up their own time to support us and looking back, they really went the extra mile!
My next step is to work abroad for a couple of years in the aviation industry. Somewhere warm is the preferred option, of course.
We love hearing what our alumni have been doing since leaving Westminster City School. Each month, we are inviting a member of our alumni community to share their story of life after Palace Street. If you’re an alumnus who would like to take part, or you’d like to volunteer an alumnus that you know, then please drop us an email.