Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

“FDM opened the door to so many possibilities I’d never have considered.” Shannon’s journey so far…

John Smith

Consultant profile

Name: Shannon Smith

Degree: 2:1 in Games Programming from the University of Lincoln

Academy Location: Leeds

Training Stream: IT Service Management

Current Role: System Administrator for Virgin Money Giving


How did you find out about FDM?

I was first contacted by Katie Close, a Graduate Recruiter based in London who found my CV online and invited me to a Woman in Tech event which FDM were running. Intrigued, I carried out an online search of the company and their graduate programme and it wasn’t long before I started the recruitment process!

How did you find the Women in Tech event which ran in March 2017?

Before attending the event, I was losing hope that I could start a career in the industry related to my degree. Three young women told their stories and they really resonated with me, from my experiences at university, to the difficulties graduates face when looking for a career with little experience. The Women in Tech event inspired me to keep striving for a career in the field which I have always loved. I walked away from the event feeling reassured that my dream career within tech was achievable.

Tell us about your training at FDM

The training was incredibly in-depth; I learnt many new things very quickly. The Leeds Academy is a fantastic environment and the support you are given along the way is the best. I decided to join the mentoring scheme and I ended up with Jonathon Young, the CIO as my mentor, which just goes to show there are truly no rank barriers within FDM!

Tell us a bit about your placement

Currently, I am responsible for fixing various problems with the internal systems that support the Virgin Money Giving website. It is a good challenge which at times can be hard to conquer, but I know I still have many things to learn ahead of me. I have a great team who support me in my learning journey so that has really helped.

What has been your favourite part of your placement so far?

I am working with a fantastic team who are offering me endless amounts of support. If things get tough, they always find a way to keep the atmosphere in the office light and energetic. Moving to a different part of the country for my placement was also quite fun; I live in a house share just 10 minutes from where I work. Norwich is a lovely place to live, only a 5 minutes’ drive to the heart of the city where there are all the shops you could possibly want, as well as lots of nice restaurants where I often meet my co-workers or housemates.

What do you hope to achieve in 2018?

Since moving to Norwich, I have got back into the gym and I am considering running the London Marathon, which is something I never would have considered before working at Virgin Money Giving! I am also hoping to learn new skills as well as gain extra responsibility in the role I am currently doing.

Any last tips for anyone looking to join the Leeds Academy?

Do it. As long as you are ready to commit, you have a great future ahead of you. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for FDM and their graduate scheme! Leeds as a training location is amazing, it is a wonderful city. I had never visited before so I really enjoyed getting to explore the city with my new friends from the academy!