Volunteer Profile: Paul Simpson

We spoke to Paul Simpson, Co-Founder of Food Circle Supermarket and Enterprise Adsviser at Seven Hills School about his involvement in the See it Be it in Sheffield Campaign. 

Paul with Leading the Way award

Why did you get involved in the See it Be it in Sheffield Campaign? 

Ever since I started building my business, I’ve always wanted to be able to help young people who have an interest in entrepreneurship/business.


I didn’t do too great at school, and I remember having absolutely no clue what I was going to do after I’d finished school either. I distinctly remember having my careers appointment and thinking it was going to be able to help me, but all that happened was I was told to look through this gigantic book full of jobs, pick one out that I liked, and then discuss it with the Careers Advisor.


I remember picking ‘Comedian’, which, rather ironically, always makes me laugh when I think about it.


So this experience has stuck with me, and when I was given the opportunity to get involved with careers in a Sheffield school, I jumped at the opportunity to try and help make a difference, as I am sure I’m not the only one who had this kind of experience.


Even better when I was asked if I’d like to get involved with a SEND school – I feel like this gives me even more opportunity to help make a difference. I’m extremely fortunate to be in the position I am in running a successful business, and it gives me the chance to be able to take matters into my own hands by providing opportunities for people that don’t normally get them.

What activities have you been doing in Sheffield?

I started by doing a one-off video about my career journey for See It Be It, and then started to receive the opportunity bulletins, and saw loads of other ways to get involved.


I began working with The Sheffield College, running sessions on their amazing Start-Up programme, talking to young aspiring entrepreneurs about my business journey, and helping them understand more about what it’s like to start and grow a company, and what it takes.


I then decided to become an Enterprise Advisor for Seven Hills SEND school, which has been a fantastic journey with an incredible team of selfless people. Helping them with their BiG Challenge team, but also on providing more workplace experiences and helping with their already outstanding careers programme.

Most recently, I had a group of students from Seven Hills on workexperience at Food Circle.

Paul supporting young person on work experience
Paul speaking at a See it Be it event

What have you enjoyed about being involved in our campaign?

Too much to say really, but in a nutshell; being able to provide opportunities to young people that wouldn’t normally be able to access them.

What have been the benefits to you and your business? 

Benefits to me have been learning a huge amount about the education system and meeting fantastic new people, and feeling a sense of achievement that goes beyond just business.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get involved in Careers Education in schools and colleges?

Don’t hesitate or over think it – it can be daunting to engage with young people, particularly if they have difficulties, if it’s not something you’re used to -  but just go into it with an open mind and be authentic.