Karishma Charlwood, Returning to Tech with FDM (13 year career break)
I thoroughly enjoyed the FDM experience. The quality of the training and the knowledge of our tutors was great. Before undertaking the FDM Tech Returners Programme, I was a full-time parent and volunteered throughout my local community.
My career break started when I had my first child, in 2009. Once my three children reached school age, I started to look for paid employment that would work around holidays, so that I could be around for my family when they were at home. I did some teaching assistant training and volunteered in local schools for a short period, before realising that this was not the best use of my existing skill set. The pay was very little compared to when I used to be a Software Developer.
As a result of my break from work, I was out of touch with the latest developments in the world of software and technology. So, I kept an eye on the IT training that was being offered by companies like Firebrand. At the beginning of 2022, when the Department of Education started to provide funds for professionals to retrain to return to work in IT, I was offered a place on an 8-week Data Analysis/Technician bootcamp, which I successfully completed. Whilst I was still on the training with Firebrand, I was contacted by the Returners Team to join the first ever Tech Returners Java Programme at FDM. I pursued this opportunity and was paid from day 1 of training, which was a fantastic help!
We were given several opportunities throughout the training to work in teams, or alongside other members of the cohort to deliver a project, assignment, or presentation. We would often make time together to review concepts and revise before exams. As a group, we discovered ways of using the GitLab more effectively, to deliver coding projects collaboratively. We learnt how to deal with conflict issues and shortcomings. It certainly generated some good team building opportunities and enabled us to develop better ways of communicating with each other.
I now feel that I have all the right tools I need to kickstart a career in any software development platform that I come across in my role. In short, the FDM training programme emerged just at the right time, to help me confidently step back into a competitive workplace.