Sun, 19 Jul 2020

t’s been over a year since Daniel Williams was named Birmingham Young Professional of the Year at BPS Birmingham Future’s 19th annual BYPY Awards, and a lot has changed for the recruitment specialist since his win.

As the headline sponsor of BYPY for the third year running, we caught up with Daniel to find out how the last 12 months have been for him, and how the win has changed his life, both personally and professionally.

A year in the life

Being awarded a title like Birmingham Young Professional of the Year naturally opens the door to many exciting opportunities, and Daniel explains how BYPY has not only helped him to achieve some of his short-term goals, but has also shaped the path his career has taken in the long term.

He says: “Winning BYPY gave me access to a completely new network of people who I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, and I spent the first three or four months sitting down with other Birmingham-based professionals working across a variety of different sectors.

“When you’re so focused on what you’re doing in your day-to-day role, it’s easy to become quite insular, and this whole experience has opened my eyes to opportunities that I hadn’t even considered prior to my win, and therefore forced me to re-evaluate my future goals.

“I’ve also witnessed first-hand just how collaborative Birmingham can be and, when talking to everyone from past winners to local government, there’s been a general willingness to help out and collaborate on projects. In this sense, BYPY has made a massive difference in terms of giving me the platform to move things forward.”

When we spoke to Dan immediately after his win last year, he expressed a desire to use his title to give something back to the city that had afforded him so many opportunities, and this is something he has remained committed to.

He explains: “As a direct result of this newfound network, I heard about a series of university coding bootcamps that were coming to the UK, with the first one due to take place in Birmingham.

“As someone who is passionate about increasing access to opportunities for disadvantaged young people, I reached out to them and said I’d like to get involved – something I would never have had the confidence or contacts to make happen without winning BYPY.

“With these university bootcamps, there’s normally an admissions process which can be a barrier to entry for young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and there’s also a big gender disparity in terms of the number of women working in tech.

“As a result, I set out to help women and people from LSE backgrounds access these courses, and managed to secure enough funding for 50 student grants, with a goal of securing 200 scholarships over the next four years.

“Because of these scholarships, the gender split for students taking place in this year’s bootcamp currently stands at 56% female and 44% percent male – an incredible result considering that only 15% - 20% of people working in tech jobs in the UK are women.”

As we emerge out the other side of the coronavirus crisis, the impact on youth unemployment will undoubtedly be huge, and at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK we’re passionate about helping to combat this.

This is a passion shared by both BYPY and Dan himself, who hopes the work he’s been doing to increase access to opportunities will help tackle this issue head on.

He says: “With fewer opportunities available to young people, competition for jobs will be even more fierce as we start to emerge from this crisis – and good grades alone are no longer enough to guarantee work.

“By giving young people the chance to gain hands on experience and learn the important skills they need in the world of work, programmes like this one will hopefully make a real impact when it comes to tackling youth unemployment.”

So what’s next for the BYPY champion? As he prepares to hand over his crown to another deserving winner, Dan says:

“My experiences over the last 12 months have left me feeling the happiest I’ve ever felt professionally, and through BYPY I’ve been lucky enough to find a cause that I’m really passionate about.

“Over the next few years, I want to continue the work I’ve been doing to remove the barriers to entry in education, and hope to expand this into other sectors beyond technology.”

On his advice for the next person to be crowned Birmingham Young Professional of the Year, Dan share these words of wisdom:

“There really is no right or wrong thing to do with an award like this, and it’s important that you find your own path and pursue something that you’re truly passionate about, rather than feeling pressured to do something just for the sake of it.

“Remember – this may be a title that you have for a year, but the experiences and opportunities that come from winning BYPY will be something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.”

To find out more about BYPY, visit: https://bpsbirmingham.co.uk/bypy/