Triad consultant Farhan Ansari explains why he switched from being an interim IT contractor to taking a permanent consultancy role.
During the summer of 2010, I was at a crossroads in my career. I had completed a project management development programme in the Civil Service and was working on the National ID card programme (remember those?). I had also recently passed the assessment board for promotion to the next grade.
Shortly after, the programme ended when the government announced the Austerity programme. This triggered mass redundancies in the Civil Service. The role I had been promoted to was eliminated and all development training was put on hold.
With no foreseeable development learning or promotion on the horizon, I took the offer of voluntary redundancy to try my luck elsewhere.
A decade of contract roles
Whilst looking for project related roles, I was contacted by recruitment agencies who offered interim contract roles to start in the next week, on increased additional pay. The initial role was for 3 months, which stretched to 18 months. Thus began my decade of contract roles.
Throughout this period, I worked in several project roles, from project support to project manager, and PMO Lead. Working in varied roles with different companies exposed me to different work cultures, and ways of working. This enhanced my ability to adapt to different roles – which is crucial as an interim contractor.
I quickly discovered the downsides to contracting. The roles are temporary in nature. I would often settle into a position, make good friends, and then the role would end, or cutbacks would close the programme early.
Working as a contractor can be isolating. There is a lack of upward mobility and development. In addition, there is often an unrealistic expectation that, as an expert you’ll know the answer to everything. Personal development became an issue. The only person interested in developing me was, well – me! It was down to me to assess my weaknesses, identify development opportunities, match them with the right training and take unpaid leave to be better at a role I was already doing before the skill upgrade.
This was most apparent during the pandemic when most programmes immediately cut contractors in response. Ironically, my next contract role after the initial pandemic related cuts was as a PMO Lead in the Test and Trace programme.
As with many people who re-assessed their careers during this time, I decided career progression, development, and a supportive work environment was of utmost importance to me. Whilst looking for roles that fit this description, I saw an advert from Triad Group Plc for consultants. The job description fit my skills and experience, so I applied and crossed my fingers! A week later, I had my first interview, leading to my second interview and a job offer, which I swiftly accepted.
It has been over a year since I decided to move into a permanent role and Triad. Honestly, without ‘sugar-coating’, it has been everything I expected and more. In my initial week, I was welcomed aboard in a call with Adrian Leer (Managing Director) and several senior directors – how many companies welcome new staff in a call with the MD and Directors? I was also warmly welcomed by my Triad colleagues and introduced to my manager Mark Caine, and Development Review Manager Darren Williams who have been very supportive, understanding, and helpful from day one. During engagements with Triad, my Triad colleagues have always been supportive. For example, if I need assistance with Stakeholder Planning or find a tricky issue in MS Project.
During the time between assignments, we are encouraged to develop our skills, with full access to the online learning platform Udemy. In addition, there are internal projects we can get involved in that improve and expand our skill sets.
It is this, that helps us contribute and make ‘The boat go faster’—an experience I highly recommend to those thinking of the same path.
We hope that you have found this blog useful. If you are interested in joining our consultancy teams or have a question for the Triad team, please get in touch here.