Insights for Organisations Apprenticeship

Improving Social Mobility with FDM’s Apprenticeship Programme

John Smith

Anyone can have a career in tech. At FDM, we live by that mantra and to that end we are committed to help launch new tech careers regardless of a person’s background. We are continually on the hunt for underrepresented groups and helping open doors to new opportunities. From apprentices and graduates to career returners, ex-forces and blue light services – our programmes are open to diverse demographics.

We want to empower people by supporting their career development. Our progress is reflected in our Social Mobility Index ranking where this year we’ve ranked 34th, up from last year’s 48. We’ve also been included in the UK government’s Flexi-Job Apprenticeship agencies register and this distinction is particularly special coming just days before our first cohort of apprentices graduated from university at the end of their apprenticeship programme.

Sehrish MustafaJack BakerDylan Bruton, and Matthew Tankard successfully completed our apprenticeship programme, and also achieved 2.1 and 1st class honours in their degrees in Digital and Technology Solutions from Sheffield Hallam University. They are now progressing into permanent roles at FDM within our Salesforce and IT Support teams!

Our four apprentices come from widely different social and academic backgrounds but were brought together on the FDM Apprenticeship programme. Here are their stories:

Matthew Tankard

Matthew Tankard had dropped out of university and was working in retail before joining FDM in May 2020. From early on, Mathew had realised that the standard route via uni wasn’t the right fit for him and preferred a practical work environment to an academic one. Matthew worked in FDM’s IT support team and was able to use the knowledge gained on the job to assist him with completing assignments for various modules on his degree.

Whilst balancing work and study was tricky due to working full time, Matthew acknowledges how FDM allowed him time to complete assignments when needed. He’s currently continuing work as an IT Support Analysts at FDM.

Sehrish Mustafa

Sehrish had moved to the UK just before the pandemic. Initially she wanted to pursue higher education. However, as a foreign national, the high university made her re-evaluate her options and eventually led her to apprenticeships.

The prospect of gaining work experience whilst gaining a degree and also receiving a salary without the looming stress of a student debt made apprenticeships an easy choice and she joined the FDM apprenticeship programme in 2020.

One of her earliest projects as an FDM apprentice was providing First line Support as IT Support, SharePoint, RPA, and Salesforce.

Acquiring real-life work experience proved invaluable for Sehrish, providing her with practical skills that complemented her theoretical knowledge. Juggling work, study, and parenting during the challenges of COVID-19 enhanced her resilience. Now, certified as a Salesforce admin, she’s adjusted well in her new permanent role with FDM, enjoying the challenges and aims to use her new skills to contribute to future projects.

Dylan Bruton

Dylan Bruton was studying at York College before the pandemic shut it down as well as the outlet store he was working at. Like Sehrish and Matthew, Dylan too thought that an apprenticeship would help him in ways that a standard degree wouldn’t and that having a practical component to learning provided a better understanding of the subject. This led to him joining the FDM Apprenticeship programme.

Dylan worked as a Salesforce administrator and helped upgrade FDM’s Salesforce implementation from Classic to Lightning. This was a large-scale project that updated and modernised the look of the platform for our users. He helped craft and customise Lightning Apps tailored to the diverse business units at FDM.

Dylan is now working full-time at FDM, completing development work for new features as well as updating old ones and managing user issues through our service desk.

Jack Baker

After completing his A levels, Jack was working as a childcare assistant at his local primary school during the lockdown.

From a young age he had wanted to go to university but towards the end of sixth form he realised that getting hands-on experience in a job would be more beneficial. Having always had a passion for IT and technology, he decided to pursue an IT apprenticeship at FDM.

In his role, he worked on automating the HR processes, and this experience boosted his confidence in communicating technical concepts. With effective time management, he was able to successfully balance work and study.

Currently, he’s actively involved in transitioning to a new CRM version, managing support, and working towards Salesforce Admin certification. As a Co-ordinator Ambassador for Apprentices at FDM, he’s helping shape the apprenticeship programme and recently took on creating information pages in Salesforce, enhancing user experience.

FDM’s Social mobility initiatives

At FDM we focus on a candidate’s potential over previous experience, encouraging those from non-STEM and non-Russell Group university backgrounds to join tech careers.

Our interviewers all undergo unconscious bias training and conduct blind that attract a diverse consultant pool, including graduates, ex-forces, and returners to work.

With nationwide outreach working with 163 universities in the UK and strength-based recruitment, we assess each candidate individually, utilising a degree-agnostic approach and a low-grade threshold of 2:2, ensuring equal opportunities for building an inclusive and equitable future. 

Hire apprentices seamlessly with FDM’s flexible apprenticeship agency. We recruit diverse talent, provide expert training, and offer scalable resources for short-term needs or projects. Our apprentices have access to a wide network of training and wellbeing materials, ensuring they bring significant value to your teams.

Find your perfect candidate with FDM. Get in touch for more information.