How did you first begin your career with the Armed Forces?
I started studying at Glasgow Caledonian University when I was 18 and I joined the Officer Training Core which was specifically for students to get a flavour for life in the forces. My stepdad was a Chief Clark and FDM’s William King was a Sergeant Major. I spent two years training there until I was transferred to the Royal Military Police Reserves. Things became very real during my fourth year of university whilst writing my dissertation; I was selected to go to Afghanistan. I flew out to Germany for six months to do pre-deployment training and then I went to Afghanistan on 15th October 2011 for Operation Herrick – that’s a date you really don’t forget. I played a number of roles whilst on tour using my police and army training for subject matter expertise and detainee handling. I stayed with the military reserves when I returned home and joined Police Scotland in September 2013 as a Response Police Officer for three years. After that, I returned to university to do a master’s degree in public health which I’m due to finish in July 2018.
What brought you to FDM?
After I left the police I wondered what to do professionally, as I thought the police force would be my lifelong career. I was working in business development on a maternity cover contract, but it was due to come to an end and I began looking at graduate programmes. I originally discovered FDM through my former Sergeant at university, William King, who is the Deputy Regional Manager of the Ex-Forces Programme and a Business Trainer at FDM’s Glasgow Academy. Working in business really opened up my eyes to how technology is slowly taking over the sector, and that’s what persuaded me to take a closer look into FDM’s technology programmes. I applied in February, finished my contract job in March, and by April I was seated in the FDM academy taking my first classes.
What surprised you about your Project Management Office course?
I honestly expected to struggle with the technical subjects but the teaching environment is faultless. If I felt lost or if I needed extra clarification, the trainer was always happy to go over subjects and the support I received was absolutely brilliant. I didn’t think reserves would be welcome on the Ex-Forces Programme as I didn’t think I would be eligible, but I was pleasantly surprised!
What is the best advice you can give someone who is considering leaving the army for a new career?
You need to build a good network. LinkedIn is a great place to start. I never thought I would find a career as enjoyable as this after the army but having a network is really helpful, whether it’s to peer review application forms and CV’s or to discuss interview tips with people in the same boat as you. I also recommend looking at courses before you leave the forces – a writing skills is a course you will need to take.
Now that you’ve finished your training with FDM, what is the next step?
I’ve been placed at Morgan Stanley as a Project Management Officer which is exciting. I’m looking forward to a new chapter of my career, as this is very different to what I’ve done in the past. The bonus for me is that, because I was a part of the Armed Forces, I’m able to transfer some of my unique skills over to my new role.
Are you looking for a career outside of the Armed Forces? Our Ex-Forces Programme could be the step up you need to a brand new field