Rom Boua on beating Celtic, marking Wayne Rooney, and embarking on a new life thanks to The Open University.
Last Updated: 01/07/20 11:00am
All Rom Boua had wanted to be as a boy was a footballer.
For a while, that dream came true when, having grown up playing football “on the streets of France” with his friends, he had the opportunity to join the academy of the famous French club Saint-Etienne.
“I was going to school in the morning and training in the afternoon,” recalls Boua. “Looking back, it was an amazing experience.”
There were highlights. The chance to play alongside future France international Bafetimbi Gomis stands out. “He was powerful, fast, technically gifted and an incredible finisher.”
When Boua later moved to Scotland as a young man, he even tested himself against Wayne Rooney in a friendly game between Manchester United and his new club Clyde.
“I had never run as much before in my life,” he remembers.
“The best experience I had as a professional was beating Celtic 2-1 with Clyde in a Scottish Cup game. It was Roy Keane’s first game playing for Celtic after leaving Manchester United.”
But there were challenges too.
“The worst experience I had was to be injured for three months after pulling my right thigh during a training session when I first joined Clyde,” says Boua.
“I was in a new country that I knew nothing about. It was the most difficult time of my football career as I had no close friends at the time or family to support me during my recovery in Scotland which was very isolating and a big test for me.”
He came through that test. So much so that he has made a new life for himself in Scotland and when he called time on his playing career aged 28, he embarked on a new challenge.
“I wanted to build a different career in IT so I decided to go back to studying and worked towards gaining my qualification.”
That is where The Open University helped.
“I chose computing and my plan was to use my qualification to further my career possibilities,” Boua explains. “I chose to study with The Open University as it is a respected academic institution and it is valued by potential employers.
“I benefited more through The Open University compared to traditional university as I was able to learn by using my own study style. I have two beautiful boys and an amazing partner who supported me throughout my studies.
“The flexibility of The Open University for me was key.
“It allowed me to study as I was unable to attend any night classes or day classes due to my work and family commitments. I was able to fit learning around my work and home life and study in my own time, while being at home with my family. If I was needed to help, I could stop what I was doing and pick it up again when I was free.
“I did not feel isolated. My tutor support was great and the online forum allowed me to connect, chat and share experience with fellow students and be part of a community.”
Boua’s qualification with The Open University has enabled him to progress in his new career and he is currently working in IT as a Scrum Master for Sky UK in Livingston, helping organisations deliver working software more frequently.
“The skills I developed while studying with the OU – such as responsibility, time management and planning – contributed to getting my current role,” he says.
“Having my qualification definitely highlighted my CV to employers and knowing that I had that extra study behind me gave me more confidence going for potential jobs.”
Derek Francis, Recruitment Business Partner at Sky UK and the man who interviewed Boua for his new role, adds: “When I’m recruiting and discover people like Rom who have studied with The Open University while working full-time, it tells me how organised and dedicated they are. I know they’ll be great employees.”
Rom Boua still loves football, but it is The Open University that changed everything.
“I have gained skills that I can apply to many aspects of my life. I would definitely recommend it.”
To find out more about studying with The Open University, or to request a prospectus, go to www.open.ac.uk