My Name is Ryan McManus, I am 19 and I have been with IBM as an Apprentice since September 2012. I have worked in areas such as Project Management, Consultancy and Service Management and it’s safe to say every role has been an amazing experience.
I am now working on an Account in London executing a Service Delivery Initiative. I work within a team of 11 that all handle different work streams, all of which focus on improving and delivering the most high quality service as possible to the customer. Prior to that I worked as Service Manager in Preston, managing customer requests / changes to a database with over 93 million records.
I joined IBM after leaving Sixth Form at the age of 18. I knew straight away that University was not for me and that I wanted to jump straight into the world of work and get onto the job ladder. Extra fulltime study with no income was definitely not appealing to me and with all the university fees in the news, it solidified my decision to become an apprentice. I have always been highly motivated and I was set on gaining qualifications by doing on the job learning. I wanted to become a Project Manager but honestly didn’t know what area of expertise would suit me best. There are over 150,000 apprenticeship employers in over 200,000 locations – and apprenticeships cover more than 170 Industries – so I knew there was an opportunity out there, I just needed to find it!
I started to look at websites (like not going to Uni and Apprenticeships.org) and attended apprenticeship fairs. I had also signed up for announcements through colleges who would ring me up with offers that suited my expertise/ interests, which I thought was very helpful, but still nothing had grabbed my attention. I was researching apprenticeships on Google when I noticed that IBM offers an apprenticeship scheme. I read about the apprenticeship on their website and decided it was perfect. I knew that my skills could be applied and fully utilised in this company and I went through the application process and was a successful applicant!
From day 1 I knew that I had made the right decision by joining IBM. I made lots of new friends that I still keep in touch with and took part in a whole new experience. I moved somewhere that I had never been before and became independent and now heavily involved in the world of work. One thing that is amazing is that IBM is more than willing to give you responsibility if you want it and if you are able to prove yourself. They will provide you with endless opportunities and will do everything they can to help develop you. They put you through training courses, personal development plans, provide you with a Professional Development Manager and much more.… It all contributes to you being a key asset to the company and helping the company to meet and exceed its goals.
My top tips for applying for the apprenticeship would be:
- You have to standout. Think what you can bring to the table that others can’t and what qualities you possess and how they can help the company to achieve its goals.
- You should research the company – make sure you know what the company is about and ensure you look interested and do your homework on the background of the company.
- Constantly link your real life examples to skill sets e.g teamwork and adaptability. Anyone can say that they are great at things, but prove it by linking it to examples!
- Make sure you have real life examples; if you have no examples of you being better than the rest you should start gaining some, whether it is extra-curricular activities, volunteering, organising social events or setting up a small business, it all helps!
- You should know why you are applying for an Apprenticeship within the company. Have a think why you are so attracted to the company and why you want to be a part of it.
- Sell yourself. No one else is going to sell yourself for you. Don’t be embarrassed to state your achievements – what qualities do you have and why you would be perfect for the scheme.
- I know everyone preaches “quality not quantity” but it truly is a key message. State strong, striking points that will grab the reader’s attention. You want the reader to think about the messages you are telling them, you don’t want them to skim read and overlook key points because they are reading so much invaluable information.
Are you ready to apply for an apprenticeship? Why not take part in the best apprenticeship around and winner of TargetJobs “Best Apprenticeship programme 2013” – Apply to IBM! If you’re not ready to apply, why not start working on your personal portfolio now!
It’s not just about your academic qualifications or work experience….what else can you bring to the table?