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FDM Stories: Leona Mallace

an image of F.d.m. academy alumni Leona Mallace

FDM first started operating in Glasgow back in 2015 and has since trained up thousands of graduates, ex-forces and returners to work in the business and IT field. One of our alumni, Leona Mallace, came to our Glasgow Academy in 2016. She shared her story with us and what life is like at Barclays since going permanent.

After spending four years at university studying Psychology, I decided that the career was just not for me. I tried to look at different variations, but I needed to explore my opportunities elsewhere. I have a very business-like mind and I wanted to explore my options, which is how I came across FDM. I couldn’t figure out what it was that I exclusively wanted to do, but after speaking to a recruiter at FDM I decided to give it a go for the two-week trial period to see if their streams were for me. From learning the IT basics to confidence building in presentations, I soon realised that FDM was the right fit for me and hearing from the Account Managers about the clients they have, I decided to stick in with FDM and I signed my contract in January 2016, which is a million miles from what I thought I would be doing when I left university back in September.

Coming into the academy I was concerned that I wouldn’t have the correct IT experience and that I would be thrown into a class where I would be knee deep in coding and technical knowledge – but this couldn’t be further from reality. When I got to know people in my class, I realised how similar we were – it was nice to know that people were at the same level as you and that they were learning just as much in the academy as you. The syllabus was a challenge, but the help you received in the academy was second to none.

I was offered a role with Barclays in Glasgow and I was thrilled, to the point that I’m still with them in the same team now. The training in the academy helped with the groundwork when it came to learning the ropes at Barclays, but it’s one of those roles where you have to learn on the job.

During my time at Barclays, I became an integral part of bringing FDM consultants together. I was chosen to be a Consultant Peer Support (CPS) which involved me arranging lunches, social events and outings for all the FDMers based at Barclays. I would arrange Friday gatherings once every three months at a local bar or restaurant. I was amazed at how many people would show up – there would be around 30 from our office and we went on to integrate with HSBC and Sky.

I’m now permanent with Barclays and FDM greatly helped me make a career change. My best advice for graduates is to start relationships with people early - make sure you introduce yourself and make sure you speak to people in a proper and respectable tone.

Keen to start a career in business or IT? FDM could be the next step you need.

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