FDM and the University of Brighton: kick-starting careers in IT consultancy

FDM and the University of Brighton: kick-starting careers in IT consultancy

A unique MSc offers IT graduates the chance to gain valuable industry experience at the same time as a recognised qualification.

This case study orginally appeared on page 66 of the State of the Relationship 2014. The report outlines the state of university-business collaboration in the UK, featuring expert views and over forty case studies. Read the full report.

FDM Group is an international IT services provider and a leading employer of IT graduates. Its graduate programme trains graduates to a professional level and prepares them for their careers as IT consultants. Once the training is complete, consultants are placed at one or more client sites for a minimum of two years.

In 2011, FDM developed an MSc in Applied Computer Science in partnership with the University of Brighton and welcomed its first group of students onto the new FDM Master Class Programme. This programme involves an extra year’s commitment beyond the company’s traditional graduate programme.

MSc Programme Co-ordinator at FDM, Alex Linssen, says the company has “learned a lot along the way,” while developing the new course: “When we designed the MSc we had roughly equal input with the university. We have continued to collaborate ever since. One such development is that students no longer have a fixed start date - they can join the course at any point in the year.”

“As far as we know, our approach is unique,” says Linssen. “And we believe it improves our chances of attracting high-calibre graduates as they can further their careers as well as gaining practical skills. We are getting a high level of enquiries from new graduates as a result of this offer.”

FDM Consultants are selected for the qualification and offered the opportunity to undertake the MSc based on their skills and their drive to achieve. Participants could be based at one of the company’s training academies in the UK, Germany or America where they receive award-winning training and guidance. FDM covers all tuition costs and chosen candidates work full-time for the company while studying and working on a dissertation project relevant to their placement.

Both partners are enthusiastic about the programme’s capacity to successfully launch the careers of aspiring IT consultants, and to help eliminate the catch-22 scenario experienced by many of today’s graduates, where finding a first job is difficult unless they have the relevant industry experience in addition to their qualification.

The initiative has been well-received across the entire company. “This partnership is hugely exciting for both the university and FDM. We are passionate about training graduates to kick-start their careers as emerging IT Consultants,” says Sheila Flavell, Chief Operating Officer at FDM and University of Brighton graduate.

The success of the MSc has demonstrated the potential of the partnership, and as such a second programme is now in development.

For more information, visit www.brighton.ac.uk/business

Expand for more