I am Abies Iriowen and I study Business and Event Management at the University of Hertfordshire. I am currently doing my placement year in the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Team at FDM’s London office.
Finding this opportunity was the best thing to happen to me as it really encompasses my passion for events, corporate social responsibility and helping others.
Doing an industrial placement really has been a valuable step to expose me to a professional working environment as well as propelling my career development. FDM has allowed me to learn how to work effectively through great in-house training, support from colleagues and a variety of projects to work on. I was very nervous starting my first real job, especially as I am the first placement student to be in this role but I quickly realised through the great work that FDM do that they really want people to succeed.
I have been on my placement for over six months now; I can honestly say I don’t know where the time has gone! When you have a great team working with you, a really nice office and lots of laughs, I can definitely see how. The people at FDM truly make my time feel worthwhile. The experience of working in a large organisation has forced me to go outside my comfort zone. I am constantly developing everyday especially in confidence and my communication skills.
As a Project Coordinator one of my main responsibilities is managing the FDM Mentoring Programme. This involves promoting the programme by giving weekly presentations to Trainees, planning mentoring events and supporting ongoing mentoring relationships. This has given me the opportunity to travel to our Leeds and Glasgow offices and expand my network.
I am also very fortunate to have my own FDM Mentor who is based on our Toronto office. We Skype regularly and she has been very insightful in giving me guidance and support outside of my immediate workforce. I highly recommend that everyone has a mentor if it’s available!
If I had to choose, I would say one of my favourite things at work is when we have young people come into the office, it’s really refreshing. The D&I team work closely with students from all different backgrounds to inspire them into exciting careers in IT. Having previously worked with young people as a student ambassador at university I really enjoy interacting with students, taking them on tours of the office and sharing my experiences.
During my time so far, I have definitely learnt a lot. I never realised how shy I can be in new situations and how this can hold me back in work situations e.g. participating in team meetings or approaching people outside my team. However, through constructive feedback and support I have been able to work on this. That is why I am so privileged to be doing a placement year at FDM: our values support its employees to grow and being here has allowed me to do just that. I have been able to improve my communication skills dramatically and I feel a major improvement in professional skills and working with others. I now not only have a willingness to learn, but feel confident enough to push myself outside my comfort zone in order to improve.
For the next six months, I am looking forward to growing into a confident and cultured young woman, taking as many opportunities that come my way, and making a positive difference to the company.