Returner to Work Career Advice

FDM Returners Success Stories: David Aliu

John Smith

Tell us about your background

While I was studying Information Systems at the University of Greenwich, I secured a 1-year industrial placement in IT with a large Insurance company. That was where I became interested in Business Analysis as a career path. After graduating, I worked in the telecommunications industry as a Systems Tester for a major UK mobile network operator.

A few years later, I successfully transitioned into a Business Analyst (BA) role with a telecommunications software company in London. It was an interesting role in which I worked with a diverse mix of people and cultures in a global organisation. Those were exciting times, to say the least, with international travel to countries like Malaysia and Israel to tackle business change projects.

A decade after starting off in IT, an opportunity arose for me to get involved with client-facing consulting in business change on a large transformation programme. It was intense work, handling the programme communications for 13,000 employees. The role involved a huge amount of commuting and by 2017, it was time for a career break. I needed time off to refresh and look for ways to come back to my main interest of Business Analysis with a goal to get exposure to different industries. 

How do you think your personal experiences during your career break have shaped who and where you are today?   

I took a year off and actively volunteered at my local church. During that time, I used my IT skills to lead a team working with the multimedia department to provide video/online broadcasting of local events and international conferences. Meanwhile, I kept searching for my next role. I looked high and low, but didn’t seem to find anything that really appealed to me. 

How did you find about FDM and why did you decide to join?

I had come across FDM some years ago but had forgotten about it. One day, I saw an advert for FDM’s Returners Programme and my curiosity was piqued once more. It was a real chance to work for an award-winning FTSE-250 employer with global reach, refresh my professional skills, get back into Business Analysis, and have access to opportunities in a variety of industries.

I attended an Open Evening in March 2018 to learn more and network with other interested returners. Afterwards, I successfully applied and was offered a place on the programme in April 2018. Prior to my application with FDM, I’d already booked for a family trip, so I couldn’t start immediately when I was offered a place. FDM was very accommodating and allowed me to join the next batch of programme entrants in June 2018. 

What projects have you worked on that you have found particularly interesting? 

FDM’s training programme of in-demand industry skills and certifications in Business Analysis, Project Management, and Agile/ Scrum was very appealing to me. Only after 5 weeks on the programme FDM helped me secure a role as a BA with a leading market research company in London. It was a very successful assignment and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Since joining FDM, I’ve also worked in the Financial Services and the Insurance industries with major international companies. Having recently landed a BA role with a top UK university, I’m excited to explore a completely new to me sector!

Could you provide 1 top tip for those looking to return to work after a career break?

My advice for those seeking to return to work and considering FDM’s programme is simple: go for it! Even if you don’t come from a technological background, don’t worry about it. There’s plenty of support at FDM to help you transition into a new career path. Try to learn as much as you can about the types of roles on offer such as Business Analyst, Project Manager, or a Project Support Officer. Keep a growth mindset, be willing to learn, and strive to do your best. Before you know it, you’ll become a high-flyer in no time!