A Day in the Life of an FDM Ex-Forces Consultant

John Smith

Aidan Hayers served five years as a Drummer in The Royal Corps of Army Music before being medically discharged from the Army in April 2022. Following his discharge, Aidan joined FDM in June and has since completed our business training programme. Now, as he’s about to start his placement, we caught up with him to find out what his training’s been like so far.

What course are you enrolled in?

Whilst being Ex-Forces, I joined FDM on the graduate business stream due to having a 2:1 BA Hons in Professional Musicianship. This stream covers both Business Analysis and Project Management, with the initial training lasting 8 weeks. 

How many weeks have you completed so far? 

I have completed all 8 weeks of training, and I am currently focussing on upskilling for my first placement, which I have already secured and am eagerly awaiting a start date for.  

What is a typical training day like?  

A day on my course consisted of lectures being delivered by the trainers, which would always be interspersed with group work. This group work consisted of a variety of development opportunities, such as – creating and delivering presentations to the rest of our group, or discussions on the topics of the day. 

As the course went on, the lectures decreased and the group work increased as the focus evolved from learning, to showing/proving our understanding. 

What are some of the topics you’ve covered on the course so far? 

We covered: 

When do you start and finish? 

During training I typically started around 0900 and worked until 1730. However, if the coursework required it, I would be working either independently or with a small group of colleagues well into the evening. Once formal training had ceased and my self-study begun, my hours increased slightly to 0845 – 1730. 

Do you get tested during training? 

Each week there are either tests, coursework or both. Personally, this suited me, as I was able to assess and appreciate the standard of my learning and my understanding throughout the course. 

How different is each week of training? 

Weeks 1-3 cover a variety of different topics, and then weeks 4-5 concentrate on Business Analysis, with 6-7 focusing on Project Management. Having a variety of topics at the start allowed me to truly gain a depth of knowledge early on. Therefore, when it came to the more ‘full on’ weeks of 4-7, I felt confident and assured with what I had learnt. 

What’s the training medium? It is more theoretical or practical or a mix of both? 

The training style was entirely dependent on the topic being taught. Some weeks were more ‘hands on’. For example, the end weeks of Business Analysis and Project Management. Whereas others, such as Business Fundamentals, were more theoretical and lecture based. 

What are the trainers like? 

When you come into a course very fresh to the material, like myself, you rely heavily on the trainers as they have to take you from very little knowledge, to being client-ready within 8 weeks. The trainers I had more than surpassed my expectations. They were all confident in the material, the syllabus and their delivery of the course. One of the most positive aspects for myself, is that you were treated as colleagues throughout, it was not a teacher and student relationship. All trainers seemed to have the attitude of, they can learn from us, as much as we can learn from them, which all benefits FDM and its clients. 

How challenging has it been to transition into a civilian work environment?  

Whilst there were inevitable differences between working for and within a civilian working environment compared to the more disciplined and hierarchical structures of the military; coming from a Corps that is more ‘civilianised’ than most, I personally did not find it a difficult transition. What does help within FDM though, is having a team of Ex-Forces staff looking out for you and making sure you are initially settled and managing such transition, coursework, and all other aspects of FDM life. 

What are some skills you learnt in the military that you’ve been able to transfer into the training? 

The key skills taken from the army that have helped within FDM are –

Discipline. Having constant tests and coursework to complete, you have to structure your life and schedule around this (and potential extra study in your own time). Therefore, having had a very structured and disciplined life in the military, this was not a difficult thing to adapt to. 

Respect for all around you. Everyone around you is from different backgrounds, very similar to life in the military, therefore you are more able to understand and learn from others. 

Leadership. Spending much of my military career working many ranks above my current post, I was able to obtain expertise in a leadership role early on in my career. This has helped primarily in group assignments throughout the course. 

Strong communication and organisational skills. My ability to adapt to any situation and work with everyone in a team, meant I was able to create good communication and a great work ethic between all on the course. Furthermore, this also aided in my placement interviews. 

The FDM Ex-Forces Programme

The FDM Ex-Forces programme is an opportunity for those who have served in the forces to transition into a civilian career in either business or tech.

Our programme is designed for veterans, by veterans. We welcome service leavers, military veterans, serving reservists, ex-police personnel, and their spouses to apply to our programme.

Our work in providing training for ex-forces jobs has seen us awarded with the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award and recognised as Employer of The Year at the British Ex-Forces Awards.

Over 750+ Ex-Forces personnel have joined our programme since 2014.

A career transition can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be when you have a partner like FDM. We support you at every step of the programme – from instructor-led training, to interview preparation and ongoing mentorship.

So, if you’re looking for a new challenge after leaving the forces, apply to our Ex Forces Programme today.

If you’re based in North America, apply to FDM’s Veterans Careers Program.