I have just completed my first month as an IBM Apprentice. It started with a two week induction into IBM and I’m now fully under way in my role it has to be said that it has been one of the best and most exciting months of my life.
I first became aware of the IBM Apprenticeship scheme in my final months at Havant College, where I was studying A-Levels in PE, ICT and Travel and Tourism. I already had conditional offers from a number of universities having submitted my UCAS application like the majority of students that attended the college, but was this what I really wanted to do? Being bombarded with tight deadlines and long lectures?
From here, I decided to investigate with the very reputable careers service the college had, I sat down with them and discussed what other options I could explore … with the first one being the apprenticeship route. They showed me a number of different apprenticeships with many different companies but the one that stood out for me the most was IBM. The scheme has won awards as the best apprenticeship in 2013 and also many IBM apprentices have won awards as the best apprentices in not only their region but nationally too. So with all these fantastic facts and statistics, the choice was made and I began the application process.
I started with a two week induction at Warbrook House Hotel; this was a very enjoyable couple of weeks in which I met some fantastic people and built some really good friendships. It was very interactive throughout with the chance to present your work and do plenty of group exercises which were all generalised towards helping you succeed at IBM. It was not all work though, in the evenings we had the chance to meet experienced apprentices that gave us advice on what to expect on a day to day basis, as well as give us a chance to make new friends who can offer us help whenever we are stuck.
Having finished the induction I started my role as an IT Specialist at the Technical Exploration Centre (TEC) within the Client Centre at IBM Hursley. The TEC effectively organises events which are hosted by IBMers, who often require Laptops or PC’s. It is my job to set them up with the required setup ‘image’, operating system and any other requirements. I also then have to be on hand to fix any problems or issues that come up.
I have only been in the job a couple of weeks now but I’m starting to understand all the concepts involved. Before I started I was worried that I would be ‘thrown into the deep end’ as such, where I would have no clue what to do and make a fool of myself, but I couldn’t be more wrong – the team I’m with have eased me in slowly, going through all the processes with me step by step. Of course I don’t know how to the job completely yet, but I know that I have the support around me to help with that and it is something that IBM and in particular ‘Foundation’ (umbrella scheme for Apprentices, Graduates and Interns) are very good at.
IBM is one of the biggest IT companies in the world, and now that I am an IBMer it is something that I am very proud to say. In my opinion an apprenticeship is an opportunity to learn and work at the same time while also having the chance get established in a business. It is a fantastic idea and I believe that it gives you a much better learning opportunity than going to University, as you really are putting your learning into practice.
If I had any advice for future candidates looking to join IBM it would be that you don’t have to be remotely technical to work here, the idea of an apprenticeship is for the business to train you. There are hundreds of different roles within IBM so finding the right the one for you will never be a problem.