Separated from his parents and sent from India to the UK when only 11 to live in foster care, Navdeep got off to a rocky start. But he hasn’t let his past define him.
Now studying Computer Science, Navdeep Singh wonders at how far he’s come.
“I never thought a guy who had no chance of getting into university would now be working for one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies around.”, says Navdeep.
But to say Navdeep’s journey up to this point has been a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement. Reunited with his older brother in the UK and progressing well through school, it was Navdeep's foster mother who suggested he pursue a career in computing. But shortly after making his choices at college, a change in the law meant that, aged just 17, Navdeep was forced to move out of his foster home and live independently. This also meant moving to a different college in a new town.
Having not been properly documented when entering the UK, Navdeep struggled to secure funding for higher education but, despite a four-year battle, he never considering giving up. Instead, he applied for scholarships and was awarded one of only four British scholarships from the South African-based charity Moshal. He’d been supported throughout his childhood, but it was Moshal’s leap of faith and belief that inspired Navdeep to work hard and make the most of a higher education, the first in his family to do so.
Going to work [as part of my internship] didn’t feel like work because I genuinely loved what I was doing. It was my dream job!
At ARU, Navdeep has grasped every opportunity that has come his way. He won the Little Pitch competition, part of ARU's Big Pitch initiative for students, with a business idea that allowed him to have one-to-one support and advice from industry experts. As well as winning the Little Pitch, Navdeep was awarded an Over the Rainbow award by the Children’s Society for young children who have turned their life around.
Navdeep soon secured a year-long internship in the IT department at a successful pharmaceutical company, a position he thoroughly embraced. “Going to work didn’t feel like work because I genuinely loved what I was doing. It was my dream job!”
Navdeep explains how that placement has played a major role in shaping his outlook; how he was able to appreciate the core skills taught at university that prepare a person for their working life.
He has already secured a graduate job at a locally based firm as a support engineer. He now splits his time working there while completing his final year at Anglia Ruskin: “The support is out there. You just have to have the initiative to look for it,” he urges.
Navdeep’s determination to succeed in life is clear from all that he has overcome and all that he has achieved in such a short time. “I learned a lot from those tough experiences. You've just got to keep going, and not let it hold you back.”