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Landmark Achievement for our Ex-Forces Programme

Stuart Leatherborrow - FDM Group

FDM are proud to announce that Stuart Leatherbarrow became our 80th ex-forces consultant to be placed on client site after finishing his training at the Glasgow Academy.  After spending many years in the Royal Navy, Stuart spoke to us about his transition from being part of the Armed Forces to working in the commercial world.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your history in the Royal Navy.

I joined the Royal Navy at the tender age of 16 and started my military life as a Junior Radio Operator. I completed almost 30 years’ service and retired as a Warrant Officer 1st Class.

During my military service, I was involved in many conflicts and had the pleasure of visiting over 100 countries around the world.

How did you hear about FDM and what made you want to apply?

I came to know about FDM via word of mouth at a BBQ, where I met someone who works for FDM in London. I became more interested as to what FDM could potentially offer me when it was time for me to leave the Royal Navy. I attended the Insight Day in London and I was left thinking that FDM sounded too good to be true. How can a company the size of FDM offer so much to the ex-forces and a pathway into civilian work life?

How did you find the transition from working in the Royal Navy to the commercial world?

Generally, you hear of many horror stories about how difficult it is to transition from military to civilian life. I personally, have not found it so difficult to transition and I would put this down to the programme provided to the ex-forces community at FDM and the ongoing pastoral care with the FDM ex-forces staff in the Glasgow Academy, such as Norman and Billy.

How did you find the training? What did you find particularly tough and what did you like best?

The best part about the training was the constant positivity from the trainers within the academy. Even when you could not get your head around a certain issue, the staff were on hand to explain in a manner that was more understandable for you, where you could then relate personal experiences to the issue. The best part of the course for me was the Agile/Scrum week; I gained knowledge of management procedures that are very different from what I am used to and it was interesting to see the flexibility that this framework could provide to the civilian sector.

How has the support system within FDM been for you?

Whenever I have had an issue, the ex-forces staff have been on hand to resolve it and nothing is too much trouble for them. Bearing in mind that as a member of the military, you have been used to being under tight control for most of your career, the staff have been there to advise and make sure you continue to transition into civilian life successfully and with the least amount of pain.

What are you doing on your placement?

I have been lucky enough to be placed with RBS at their headquarters in Edinburgh within the Implementation Team. My role is in the Innovations Department which is a new department (consisting of just me at the minute) and will be managing emerging projects concerning open banking and the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).

What would you say to Ex-Forces personnel thinking about joining FDM Group.

I would advise that you at least attend an Insight Day and ask questions of the FDM staff that are present. Hard work is still required as there is no such thing as a free lunch!

There is an exceptional network of ex-forces personnel now employed with the ranks of FDM  and knowledge of their personal experiences will assist you with making the decision to join us on this journey. I am glad that I have made the choice to join FDM and would highly recommend  joining to anyone thinking about leaving the military.


If you are interested in finding out more about our Ex-Forces Programme, click here.


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