Recognising talent – with or without experience

Fruzsina (Fru) Soos joined Smiths Detection in December 2021 as an Associate Project Manager and the back story leading to this appointment is one of grit, determination and exceptional self-belief.

Growing up in Hungary, Fru was always ambitious and driven to develop a successful career. A key step in her plans was to learn English so, aged 15 years, she travelled to the UK to live with relatives. Dropped into the local education system, Fru managed to teach herself the language and also follow the curriculum. She went on to higher education, studied Aviation Operations and began her working life as a flight despatcher followed by roles in ground handling, operations and compliance – along the way becoming a British Citizen.

“At this point, I felt it was time for the next step in my career progression – and to achieve it, I needed a complete change of direction and to work extremely hard. Having researched several options, I decided on Project Management and whilst on maternity leave, educated myself and gained a Prince 2 Foundation & Practitioner qualification. I also took courses in other subjects such as Risk Management and Leadership.”

Changing direction

Ready for hands-on experience, Fru applied for several entry level posts in Project Management and eventually found herself in the interview process at Smiths Detection. Fru had confidence in her transferrable skills and truly believed her lack of experience could be an advantage as she would join the organisation with nothing to ‘unlearn’ and no preconceptions of the role.

“This was a tough period but I knew I had nothing to lose by trying and everything to lose by not trying! I was aware Smiths Detection produced aviation security screening equipment but had no idea it serviced such varied markets and was part of such a big group of companies. I was excited at the prospect of future career potential but, for me, it was the attitude of the line manager which sealed the deal! No other interviewer asked what I wanted to achieve but at Smiths Detection I felt it mattered that the role worked for me – not just that I fit the employers.”

Learning the ropes

Fru is enjoying every minute of her time in this new role and feels she is gaining such valuable experience. From the beginning all her colleagues were very welcoming and happy to advise or answer any questions. The opportunities within the organisation for career progression have far exceeded her expectations and she is already acting as Project Manager on one job. Discussions are underway regarding further training opportunities both internally and externally.

“Working here has really validated my ambitions and I can see they are achievable. One of my shorter-term goals is to qualify as a Chartered Project Manager but ultimately, I’m aiming for the sky. Perhaps my most important goal is to teach my two children that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. Also, you can be a Mum and have a career if you work hard for your dream!”

Fru admits changing careers is certainly not easy but suggests breaking your visions down into small steps which can be tackled one by one – and do not listen to the sceptics and doubters. “I knew no-one else would make it easy for me, so I threw everything I could into making the change possible. As a result, I was able to put myself in the right place at the right time. I am so grateful that Smiths Detection decided to put its trust in me and gave me this chance – I am determined to repay that trust!”