Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Ex-Forces

Life After the Armed Forces: Ronald Engels

John Smith

We caught up with former Officer of the German Army, Ronald Engels, who was deployed in the UK and decided to re-locate there to study, which led him to our Ex-Forces Programme.

FDM’s Ex-Forces Programme focuses on transforming ex-servicemen and women into IT and business professionals, from senior Project Managers to entry-level consultants. The programme is specifically designed to provide Service leavers with expertise, training and commercial experience, bridging the gap between the Forces and the corporate world. Once trained, our consultants will be prepared for working with our high-profile clients on a consultancy basis as they launch a fulfilling second career.

Throughout my 12-year career as an officer in the Budeswehr, I experienced a variety of interesting and challenging roles. Most of my roles commonly required the management of people, projects or both. Whilst working as a Battle Watch Captain in the Northwood HQ, I enjoyed living in the UK and the work in a multinational environment. From there, I had the idea of launching my second career in Europe’s financial capital upon leaving the army, in a political risk and finance related job. To kick-off my career change I completed a Master’s degree in International Peace and Security in London.

After graduation I started applying for roles, but I struggled to find one which appealed to me. A major problem I had with interviews and applications was that my experience and skills that I gained in the Army were not recognised as relevant work experience in the commercial sector. Luckily, I was contacted by Danielle Sandy from FDM Group and she discussed FDM’s Ex Forces programme and the opportunities available. The FDM model caught my interest immediately and I knew this was something I wished to pursue. I gathered information and found out that a friend I had worked with previously had just successfully completed the programme and was placed with a major client. He recommended signing up for the next Insight Day at the London Academy, and so I did.

I successfully passed the Advanced Course Assessment and shortly after, I began the six weeks training which transferred my military skills and experience to commercially applicable expertise. IT and Project Management training and certification, mentoring and coaching made me competent and confident to work with a commercial client and perform at a high standard, even in a completely new environment. On completion, I was placed with a major financial client in Canary Wharf.

The learning curve is steep, but the problem solving and management skills I gained in the forces that were shaped by FDM have made my new career start smooth and exciting. The common background of the Ex-Forces team and their warm welcome created a familiar environment from the start. Working with people of diverse backgrounds and experiences fosters collaboration and growth, making FDM as a whole a desirable working place. Working in this new environment was what I dreamed of when leaving the forces and moving to London. Thanks FDM for creating this opportunity!

Have you recently left or about to leave the Forces? Our Ex-Forces programme could be the next step you need in your career