Hi everyone. My name is Josh and I have been an IBM Apprentice since February 2013. My situation is a little different to most other Apprentices as I did not join IBM straight after finishing my A Levels or College, I had been working for 2 and a half years in various industries before taking on the Scheme – that should give you a good indication that this is not just any Apprenticeship Scheme, this is the IBM Apprenticeship scheme.
Like many of you reading this post, I had the dated perception of an Apprenticeship where you got taken on by a company, trained up in a specific trade and paid minimum wage for your efforts. Well, I can tell you now Apprenticeships, in IBM’s case anyway, couldn’t be further from that. I was fortunate enough in October 2013 to attend an Apprenticeship event that the Prime Minister, David Cameron, attended to talk about the Schemes and answer questions the Apprentices from various industries had. The key message taken from that event was that the Government was looking to re-brand the Schemes as a popular post-school/college choice. One other message taken from the event was that the Schemes need to be more Company led, rather than Apprenticeship programmes being dictated by Examining Boards. This is where IBM has an upper hand on a lot of companies who have an Apprenticeship Scheme and I will explain more below.
Since joining IBM in February 2013 I have had 2 roles (currently transitioning into my 3rd role) in the company. My first role was as a Change Manager where I was responsible for making sure the IBM managed applications on the project that needed fixing/updating were done properly and the correct processes were followed. I was a little surprised when I was offered this role because it was a fairly senior role for an Apprentice which enhanced my good first impressions of the scheme as I was being trusted to do a good job – almost making me feel like I was not an Apprentice, I was a normal IBM professional. This is one of the benefits of the IBM Scheme, you are made to feel an equal within the team. It doesn’t matter if you are an Apprentice, a Graduate or an experienced IBMer, if you are given a role you have the chance to perform that role and even expand that role to the best of your abilities. I was even responsible for training up an experienced member of IBM to take over my role when I moved on from it – surely it should be the other way round?
When I was offered the role I found out it was in Preston. I don’t live in Preston, I presumed the role was going to be in Warwick near to where I live. I quickly got to know that you could be on a project anywhere and being versatile was a key skill to have and also having the willingness to step out of your comfort zone. It was a great experience for me being away from home, there was a good community on the project as a lot of other people were away from home as well.
My second role, which I started in November 2013 was supporting the Lead Business Analyst with the management of the BA team on a major project. This role was back in the Midlands where I lived so was back at home again which made me realise how much fun I had in Preston away from home but it was nice to be back. This role was a little different from my other role as I was not replacing anyone, the role had been created and I was the first person to fill it – I had the chance to make it my own and develop in which I have done. Developing the role has now given me the chance to learn new skills as a Business Analyst as I have developed my support role from a 5 day a week role to a 3 day a week role so for my other 2 days I am working on 2 other projects as a Business Analyst which I will work on full time soon.
Around my roles in IBM I have my Apprenticeship qualifications to complete – these are all done within IBM by on the job learning and IBM courses. The Apprenticeship scheme is designed by IBM, for IBM. This is where IBM has the upper hand on other companies (linking back in with how the Government is trying to transform the Schemes). IBM knows what skills it needs so the scheme has been designed to give its Apprentices those skills, the recognised qualifications and also pay us for learning those skills – win, win, win. Essentially the scheme at IBM is a way of enhancing your career as an alternative to University and getting paid for doing so.
Hopefully by reading this you have become more intrigued about the Apprentice Scheme at IBM – If so I encourage to read the other posts below by IBM colleagues and get someone elses perspective or even read the interview I did with Youth Employment UK – http://issuu.com/youthemploymentukcic/docs/yeuk-magazine_jun2014_final/25?e=0. Oh, and of course apply here – http://www-05.ibm.com/employment/uk/school-leavers/apprentice/.
Happy reading, Josh.