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My Understanding Of & Experiences with Fraser McKenzie

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Daniel006, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. Daniel006

    Daniel006 New Member

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    There’s a lot of stuff on here about Fraser McKenzie and to be honest some of it is incorrect so, as someone who’s signed up with FM I will tell you about my experiences with dealing with them. I will be as honest and subjective as I feel is needed but ultimately I feel like I’ve been scammed and that will probably show but hopefully it will shed some light on FM.

    FM contacted me last October during a period when I was unhappy with my job and desperate to get another one. I had an interview with FM and was told I was accepted and they wanted me to sign up on the spot which I wasn’t prepared to do so I said that I would take it away and think about it. After several further phone calls and another two meetings later I signed – I had reservations about joining, not about the training or whether they were legit or not but about the job I would potentially end up with (not that it matters now!). When I joined I explicitly told them about my situation of being financially independent and that couldn’t quit my job to do the training and that I had no previous experience with IT as I come from a finance background - to which they said ‘fine, no problem, you don’t need experience, we provide all the necessary training which you can do in your own time.’ And off I went and didn’t hear anything further from them apart from providing me with my logon information a few weeks later so I could start my independent learning.

    These are the conditions I agreed to when I signed the contract:

    • If I complete the training within one year they paid for all my fees (about £4,500) and then they have 90 days in which to place me into a role (with a minimum of £17k salary), if they don't then I'm free to leave with no further commitments to FM. Note: I would have to work for them for a minimum lenght of time 6 months or 2 years depending on who I end up working for.

    • If I don’t complete the training within the time frame I am responsible for all the course fees and they don't have any further commitments to me (FM can still take me on though if don't complete the training and FM may pay a percentage of my fees).

    What I didn’t realise which I now do is that the training I very, very difficult and despite what I was told about ‘no experience necessary’ you really do need to have experience otherwise you’ve got no hope of passing. Another thing I was misled about was that FM ‘only take people who they think are going to succeed’ and they put a big emphasis on this. When I went to my classroom based training it was very apparent that this is not the case. Examples of some of the FM characters who turned up; one guy came in smoking weed, others turned up irregularly or stopped turning up at all, others just sat at the back of the classroom paying no attention and playing games and others would leave early just to get an earlier bus back. I don’t mean to be harsh about these people but it was very evident that they weren’t computer nerds who knew everything and there is NO WAY they would pass all the training. In fact, one girl left after about half hour on the first day of classroom-based training as she ‘hadn’t really used computers before!’

    When I did have an issue and contacted FM nobody really helped and after 5 weeks and being passed around from person to person they finally resolved my issue (they were meant to give me vouchers so I could book my exams but ended up giving me the money so I could pay for them myself – the level of service and professionalism was abysmal).

    Something I have noticed on the other threads is about repayment of fees depending on your salary. This only applies if you don’t complete the training within the time frame but FM decide to take you on anyway. If you complete the training within one year then they pay ALL your fees.

    Another massive lie (I really can’t think of a better way to describe it) is the timeframes they present you with about how other people are getting on with the training. I was told that the average person completes the training in 2-3 months. This is a lie!! I’ve had to wait two months just to take a test! Others I have spoken to have had even more ludicrous timeframes; one was told most do in 6-8 weeks and another was told one month!! You are more likely to win the lottery than complete the training within these timeframes. I promise you that!

    Here is a list of the training they expect you undertake:
    • A+ (online)
    • 2 Vista course (10 days in classroom altogether – 2 tests)
    • MCSA (3 tests)
    • MCSE (3 tests)
    • ITIL (3 days in classroom – 1 test)

    It may not look too bad but believe me you it is extremely extensive and exhaustive when you get into it - if any one is thinking of signing up and wants to see the ONLINE learning for only the MCSA & MCSE I have a two page spreadsheet showing how much there is and I'll be happy to email it to you. Another thing that has been changed since I joined is that you have to pay for the exams yourself (excluding the classroom based ones with are covered in the cost of the course) which is another expense at £88-£100 per exam (and you have to pay to take the exam again if you fail!).

    Basically what happens is they get you to sign up and they get a bonus - £50 per person I’ve heard but I can’t validate that. To be fair though I've only heard that from people who aren't employed by FM but I know they get a commission for signing people up because I asked my representative. They don’t care whether or not you're suitable to undertake this learning; they just care about your signature on that dotted line. They will tell you things that are misleading or false. It’s very unethical and what really annoys me is the amount of potential stress and financial distress they cause. I am fortunate in that I have (just about) enough in savings to pay it off in one lump sum (the loan – that is taken out in your name – is deferred for one year and can be paid off with no interest added (that’s my understanding) within this time) otherwise the bank will take about £225-£250 per month for 3 years! [£225 x 36 = £8100!!]

    I cannot comment on whether the job they give at the end is anything like the one they tell you about when you sign up (there are a range of various roles to choose from). They sign people up knowing they will fail; there's no way they have that many jobs for the amount of people they sign up.

    My advice if you’re reading trying to find out about Fraser McKenzie is that the opportunity they provide may actually be very good – they pay for training, you get a very good industry-recognised qualification and they place you into a related role with a fair salary (£17k is an acceptable starting salary to me at least) BUT the way they sell it to you makes it seem like it is simple. IT IS NOT!! It is only a good opportunity if you are already quite experienced with using Microsoft operating systems at a administrator level and have the time to complete the learning (I have to work full time and it’s very difficult to do the training whilst working) otherwise you are going to find this extremely difficult and will probably fail and owe all that money.

    I have currently passed the Vista course exams and am about to take my first MCSA exam and if I fail that as badly as I expect to (which I’m pretty sure I will) I am going to just pay the loan off and forget about this whole incident. Annoyingly, the money I’ll be using is my life-savings inherited off my parents when I turned 21 and I was going to use it for a mortgage but I'm sure FM don't care about that. Oh yeah, and I’ve also had to sacrifice all my annual leave to do the classroom training and take exams. I will see about taking legal action/going to press/watchdog/Citizens Advice Bureau to see if I can recover any of the costs.

    Another thing I’ll mention is that when I signed there were none of these forums exposing them for what they really are and was told that their website was under construction and will be updated in a couple of weeks (it hasn’t and it’s still as poor as when I viewed it for the first time). If you're thinking of joining up or have been contacted by them you're lucky that people have posted the truth about what you're signing up for, there was very limited information when I signed - none of it useful.

    The representative I have been dealing with is Sonny in Birmingham.

    If anyone has any other questions please get in touch or has any advice either for me or others or similar experiences with FM please share!

    Sorry if this has been a bit long and tiring to read but if you think this was a challenge to get through you definitely don’t want to see the amount of learning FM want you to undertake!!
     
  2. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    There is no question that the MCSE alone is a major accomplishment even for a seasoned IT professional. It took me three years, it can be done faster, i have known some very dedicated people do it in a year but i have also known many many people give up at MCSA level or less. Microsoft recommend that the MCSA/MCSE tracks are pursued by people with commercial *experience* using server products in corporate networks. They are not aimed at beginners. beginners should go for *entry level* certifications. Period.

    Never seek career advice from a salesman :dry

    I am sorry that you have found yourself in a pickle. Part of what this forum tries to do, is to steer people in the right direction with thier studies. We make it clear, that there is a lot of misinformation out there, that people can frequently find themselves in dept and without the qualifications they dreamed of.

    There are alternatives to training providers, for example self study, local colleges etc, which can be safer and save you a fortune.

    Luckily you have the finances behind you to dig yourself out of this. Many people don't.

    Good luck.
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  3. Sarah Jane

    Sarah Jane New Member

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    Hello,

    I was put in for a course in Web Development with FM despite having no previous experience. I was told it was a course for beginners but when I attended it turned out to be for experienced Programmers and Web Developers only. I am now arguing with FM and have cancelled my direct debit agreement and written to Barclays. The Office of Fair Trading, Birmingham is currently investigating this company.

    Sarah Jane
     
  4. gurusapprentice

    gurusapprentice Nibble Poster

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    Sorry to hear about your dilema but exactly how do they expect you to achieve an MCSA with 3 exams even less an MCSE! MCSA is 4 exams 3 core and 1 elective and MCSE is 7 exams 4 core and 3 electives. One way you might be able to get out of it is to check wether they are a COMPTIA/MICROSOFT accreditted training provider because if thats the basis you were sold the course and their not then any credit agreement section 2 is your get out clause i.e missold/faulty goods. This is the same process I applied to skillstrain/cdf. Basically you stop your payments they get their debt people involved you tell them to take you to court etc you will hear no more.
     
    Certifications: MCSA+Messaging
    WIP: Degree CCNA/CCNP 70-622 MCITP:E e
  5. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    ...one of which is probably covered by the Vista exams he mentioned... leaving three exams to complete.

    ...four of which are covered by the MCSA (+Vista) he mentioned... leaving three exams to complete.

    You might be able to claim any number of other things... but you can't claim that they didn't tell you the right number of tests to take - they did indeed.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  6. natt

    natt Bit Poster

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    11 months of working hard to pass 8 exams. we were told it would have been 3 exams before signing the contract. then it changed to 8. never moaned, just put my head down and studied.

    then it turned out we needed to come to meet them to do vista course for 5 days even tho i was told ONLINE ONLY anyway, used up all my hols and attended course.

    then 3 days influence and persuasion course. it was fun. met two good friends too, so glad about it. we all keep in touch and moan to one another, every single one of us has troubles.

    during the course we got annoyed, got the BIG BOSS to meet us all, he chatted typical -i make money and couldnt care less-stuff. i have serious issues with ppl chattin rubbish to me and not even trying to hide it, but oh well, signed the contract gotta suffer. he explained not to worry, that he only makes a lot of money if we do get a job, so i thought yea, he got a point. so studied hard from then on.

    now, over ayear after signing a contract im still without a job, and with a problem cos so far they didnt pay anything from the loan.... but the first payment came out..... and it is very dificult to speak to them lot... they are making it as difficult as possible.. and they are being very very impolite at times too. as though i am moaning and bothering them, i am sorry with 5 k at stake i have every right to have a good old moan, dont i?? ;)

    so they keep on coming up with more ideas, like the technical test i had to come to go to the canada square office to pass. which was printed on a paper and i was sat IN THE HALLWAY to do with ppl chatting loud around me. yet again, no moaning, still did what i needed to do. and what do they do after? nothing, they just dont contact me.

    i have not seen anywhere even one post from ppl who got a job, and my mentor lied she has completed her course in 6-8 weeks. it is physically impossible, to start with it would be hard to even book this many exams in such short period of time :)

    my dad thinks i probably passed the technical test and they are all sitting in them meetings trying to come with a solution :biggrin

    i just need a good advice please.... pleeeeassseeeee :cry:
     
    Certifications: mcdst, mcsa, mcse
  7. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Just to add my 2 pence worth. I've worked in IT for 10 years and on the 1st of Jan 09 decided I'd get my ass in gear and get my certifications out the way. Cut a long story short, I've got 2 exams this week, if I pass them it will of taken me 7 months doing 20 - 30 hours study per week just to get my MCSA: Security. Just thought I'd share to add weight to the unrealistic time frames you guys were given. Jim
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  8. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Yeah it took me so long to get my MCSE.. and, it was very hard at times.. i would rather eat glass than put myself through that again. but was it worth it..... um dunno but i do know the difference between PPTP and L2TP oh glory be to god :p
     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  9. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    I learnt that during my MCDST! :p

    Qs
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  10. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Ha ha couldn't agree more. MCSE study is really hard at times. I'm starting to loose the will to live so thats why I have and hopefully will be going through my exams quickly. That and the fact that I'm already seeing you won't do things in work, the way Microsoft want you to do them, so basically for some of my exams I'm putting answers in exams that I know they want, but not what I'd do. I just want it out the way so I can concentrate on my experience and getting my hands dirty :twisted:

    I too understand the difference between MS-CHAP and MS-CHAPv2. Essential knowledge in the real world . . . . ha ha Jim
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  11. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    My advice: quit moaning, chalk it up as a 5K loss, and get moving on your own towards a bright career. Nobody's gonna teach it to you, and nobody's gonna find that job for you. You don't need a training center to hold your hand.

    Or... you can keep stressing about unfulfilled promises and continue to rail against the system, trying in vain to get them to do what you want them to do when it's obvious that they're not... all the while setting your career back weeks or months as you jump through their hoops.

    Not worth it, man. You can do it on your own, I promise you. :)
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  12. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    The one time you need that knowledge as you're troubleshooting problems with multiple OS versions, you'll be glad you studied those differences.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  13. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Oh I know mate, I am glad MS teach me this stuff. I just meant how often do you find the likes of a Win 98 machine these days. BUT still handy to know, thanks Microsoft.

    BosonMichael, I notice you've done the odd certification, one or two . . . . would you mind me asking which one too the longest and which took the shortest to get? I think bar CCIE you've got just about everything! Oh and congrats on becoming the top poster!
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  14. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Depends on the frame of reference. I didn't get my A+ until after I had been in IT for almost 6 years... but I didn't study for it at all.

    On the other hand, the MCSE took me a while because I took about a year (gaining experience!) before taking the NT4 exam. I wouldn't have been ready for it if I had taken it right after my Win95 and Networking Essentials exams. But once I started taking them again, I knocked them all out within 3 months. Took another 7 months for the MCSE+I.

    I say all this to say... experience plays a large role in determining how long it takes to get a certification. If you've got experience, it can take very little time; if you don't, it can take forever. Plus, the more overall knowledge you have, the less it'll take for subsequent exams. For example, I don't have to "relearn" subnetting every time I take an exam that deals with subnetting.

    I don't have "everything", but I don't really need everything. I have yet to take the MCITP: SA or MCITP: EA exams, but I'm sure I will eventually. I'm currently writing the CCNA: Voice product, so I'll get that one for sure, and Josh is writing CCNA: Wireless, so I'll get that too. I'm pretty sure I'll get the CCSP. Dunno if I'll ever do the CCVP or CCIP. I don't have SQL 2005 or 2008, and probably won't pursue them. Nor will I likely pursue any further Oracle certifications.

    I've passed the CCIE written, but I don't know if I'm ready for the lab yet. Maybe someday. :)

    Thanks for the congrats. :)
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  15. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    All in all you've done great mate. Hope to copy your success one day. The certs I hope to have based on whats out now and a few years work are MCSE: Sec, MCITP: EA, CCNA, CCNP and CEH. I've found that mate, the 299 exam I'm taking now, I've only taken a month to learn (flat out) because a lot of the material covered in the exam I've already learned for my 291 and Sec+. I must say, it is great when you see a subject and you can think, oh yes, skim that chapter ha ha

    Thanks for the info. Just wanted to know how someone who's got the certs I want went about it. Jim
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  16. Qs

    Qs Semi-Honorary Member Gold Member

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    Computer says no:-

    [​IMG]

    BM's the man to ask :)

    Qs
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCSE: Private Cloud, MCSA (2008), MCITP: EA, MCITP: SA, MCSE: 2003, MCSA: 2003, MCITP: EDA7, MCITP: EDST7, MCITP: EST Vista, MCTS: Exh 2010, MCTS:ServerVirt, MCTS: SCCM07 & SCCM2012, MCTS: SCOM07, MCTS: Win7Conf, MCTS: VistaConf, MCDST, MCP, MBCS, HND: Applied IT, ITIL v3: Foundation, CCA
  17. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Keep in mind that my situation is quite a bit different from most people... although I've been a network admin in the past, I now write training products for a living. It's GREAT to have a job where you're paid to learn and then write about what you've learned!
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  18. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I accidentally the database.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  19. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Yeah I can imagine. Have you ever fancied being an MCT? or the new Microsoft Certified Master?
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    No, I don't have any desire to do the MCM. There's really no point, in my opinion. Same (or worse) with the MCA.

    I have been interested in the past in becoming an MCT... but after they started charging $400 per year and requiring each MCT to teach at least one classroom training course per year just for the "privilege" of being called an MCT, the shine quickly faded from the cert.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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