Monthly Archives: February 2015

Big Blue Goals – Joe Barry

Hello all, and welcome to my first post for the IBM Apprenticeship blog. My name is Joseph Barry and I joined the IBM Apprenticeship scheme in September 2014 mainly because I wanted to pursue a career that would make me. Having now been involved with 3 different apprenticeship schemes I know that the IBM Apprentice is right for me.


In the near future I will ‘spill the beans’ on my previous apprenticeships compared to IBM’s but for this post my aspirations will be my main talking point.


So excluding the fact that joining a massive company like IBM is a huge achievement in itself, the New Year is here so I must find new peaks to climb. One of these goals is to be a more independent and useful member of my group. I currently work at a building society within a testing team of both onshore and offshore resources. I hope this year I can learn more systems of testing and be confident in my ability to complete multiple ‘work packages’ effectively whilst also working independently. IBM can be very helpful in doing this as there are many courses they host in order to get the best out of their IBMers.  But nothing for me is better than getting hands on and learning on the spot so I believe this goal can be very achievable.


Goal number 2 is to win the Brathay Challenge 2015 (I like to aim high). The Brathay Challenge is a competition that takes place every year to find the best 9 man/woman apprentice team in the country and I am so happy to have been accepted for IBM’s team this year. For this we are doing a sponsored 10k run for the ‘Friends of the Elderly’ charity which helps older people that are lonely to meet new people, go outside and socialise. I am very relieved that a charity like this exists and would be glad to raise money and volunteer my help to them. We are also talking to schools across the country including my old school Admiral Lord Nelson in Portsmouth. So come along to these events to find out more, or come talk to me, I’m sure I will be my usual friendly self.


Now Goal number 3 is not very original but still necessary; over Christmas I may have indulged in one to many puddings, so much so that I am beginning to look like one! So as of this year I need to get back in tip-top shape (especially if I plan to participate in the Eastleigh 10k run). Being on any apprenticeship is a change in lifestyle which you need to adapt to and be happy with. That’s why staying in a hotel with a gym and healthy food is very important to me.


If I had chosen a different path in my career and ended up joining a university I would not be working with a team of professionals 3weeks from joining and therefore my first goal would be out of my reach. Goal 2, I definitely couldn’t achieve as the Brathay Challenge is only available for apprentices. Goal 3 would still be possible but my preference would be to learn on the job and go to the gym after rather than going to a classroom and then squeezing in a gym session along with revision.


Thanks for reading through my post. All comments are appreciated, o please feel free to share your opinions in the section below..  If you would like to find out more about the ‘Friends for the Elderly’ charity click the link below:


To catch up with everything the Brathay team and I are doing please find our social media links also below.


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Goals for the next year – Hollie Sauvage

Hey everyone! Despite it now being February, January having passed us by far too quickly, it’s now the time for me to set myself some goals. It is no longer a New Year’s resolution I’m not going to be able to keep, because getting fitter went well … I didn’t even get as far as joining the gym!

Firstly, I wanted to set myself some goals to achieve by the end of the year. There are so many opportunities available to me at IBM, so it was quite difficult to narrow down a couple of goals to work towards. There were so many things to consider – where I wanted to work, what I wanted to do and what I wanted to learn.

The best place to start would be if I wanted to stay on my project or move on later in the year – definitely not yet! I love the project I work on, there is always something new going on everyday, and a bunch of great people to work with on a regular basis.

Did I want to move roles? Yes! Although my role is great, I’d love to move on in a few months and take on a new opportunity. I’ve already discussed this with my manager, so hopefully there will be some more opportunities in the near future on my project. It’s always best to make your managers aware you want to do something new or take on more responsibilities!

What education do I want to do this year? Firstly, I had a great time on ITIL last year, so learning more of that this year is a definite must! It would be a great experience and would provide deeper knowledge allowing me to be able to move on and take on more responsibility. I also need to do some more Foundation learning: I have a course this week, and there are loads of online courses I’d like to do for my Apprenticeship. I definitely plan to do as many of these as I can this year.

I also wanted to look at some aspirations. There are so many things I could do, I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to progress to in the long term – Project Management, Service Management, Transition. This year I plan to research a bit more into some of the areas I have an interest working in, and look at education, and career routes to get into a specific path.

I’ll keep you updated how I get on with achieving these goals over the next year!

Are you being SMART? – Craig Wilkinson

We are now well past that special time of year when we reflect on the year gone by before quickly stuffing our faces with turkey, sprouts and pigs-in-blankets or guzzling down that all-important end of year bubbly.  Admit it, during the Christmas period you found yourself thinking back over 2014 wishing you had done something better or different and now seek to rectify it in 2015, only to have a plethora of different goals and aspirations which, when you think about it even more, are unrealistic. However, there are those humble S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals which still make it through that crazy selection process and form what could be a great year ahead (or five or ten in this case). Whether you are that reflective person or not, I hope you find at least some inspiration from my goals below:

By the end of 2015, I would like to have achieved the following goals:

  • Passing my driving test (hopefully at the third time of asking)
  • Completed all compulsory Apprentice education to a high grade
  • Be more confident in my abilities and self-belief
  • Achieved an industry-standard qualification in Testing and Infrastructure
  • Become more productive and less ‘leaving things to the last minute’
  • Being part of a high profile giveback project (this blog hopefully) and with that meeting more IBM and Client senior management
  • Not given up on my gym regime
  • Started travelling to different places in the world

By the end of 2020, I would like to have achieved the following goals:

  • Been promoted smoothly out of Foundation and the Apprenticeship scheme
  • Become a manager
  • Worked on a project abroad
  • Stayed in hotels/hostels across Europe and visited some grand places
  • Become a good example and role model of the result of experiencing the apprenticeship scheme

I don’t usually like thinking too far ahead as anything could happen! However, for now, I would be happy if I had the following by the end of 2025:

  • Worked on many great projects with a substantial list of reliable contacts and left a good reputation with my clients and colleagues
  • Earning a good salary without sacrificing job satisfaction
  • My own family and house after travelling the world and seeing many good sights.
  • My own hover-board and Portsmouth FC back in the Premier League.

Now that was exhausting!

In my opinion, while it’s great to have goals for one, two and maybe three years ahead, I think it’s a good idea to not get carried away with an ‘ideal’ picture of where you want to be in five to ten years’ time as anything could happen and you will experience and enjoy new things along the way which could change whichever path you think you’re headed for. By all means set yourself a long-term goal, but always remain open-minded! Back when I left school in 2010, I always had a plan to go to University and hopefully get a good job in a good company, the thought never even crossed my mind that I’d be working at IBM at my age, yet here I am and my future goals have been changed completely.

I hope whatever you choose to set yourself this year, that it works out for the best and you enjoy every moment of it but also allow for a bit of serendipity!

Until my next post,

Craig Wilkinson

Happy New Year – and the IBM Apprentice Blog 2015 kick off

And a very Happy (if belated) New Year to you all!  Welcome back to the IBM Apprentice blog.  As I mentioned previously, we have some exciting changes coming up to the blog this year, and we are starting today!  Instead of producing more blog posts like last year, in which each individual author gave you an insight into the inner workings of the mind of an Apprentice, we have decided this year to give you a bit more consistency – but also to show you just how different one apprentice is from another, and thereby demonstrating the sheer scale of possibilities that the IBM Apprenticeship offers.  In order to do this, we will be blogging in mini-series with each author giving you their insights into a specific theme – and with each theme will come a guest post from a senior IBMer.  So with all that said, and without any further ado … 

The beginning of a New Year is a time for looking back at what we achieved last year, and what we want to make of ourselves over the coming 12 months … and then we set ridiculous and unobtainable goals that we give up on in a matter of days.  Come on now, admit it – you know that plan to hit the gym every day for 2 hours, eat only lean protein and vegetables and get into bed before 10:30PM each day fell flat on its face after 48 hours!

So why do we do it?  What’s the point in making these high minded and aspirational goals when we all know that we’re going to give up on them, when the very act of making New Year’s Resolutions is in itself a comic act of self-deception?  There are many people much more qualified than me that will give much better answers, but I think it’s because we all know, deep down that actually goal setting is a good thing, and we all want to look back at 2015 and think to ourselves ‘yeah, I killed it this year .. much better than 2014’.  Because let’s face it, very few people actually wake up each morning truly content with their lives and have no desire for improvement.  So for that reason, and to help you shake off the post New Year’s resolution failure blues, the IBM Apprentice blog team is going to outline their goals for the coming year, their experience of the Apprenticeship scheme and maybe even life in general for your reading pleasure.  Remember, these goals are personal to each person and whether you agree with each goal or not, I’m sure that you will agree that 2015 can be, and is going to be, a fantastic year.

So, in order to practice what I have preached, I guess I ought to go first.  I’ve always liked the 1, 5 and 10 year goal setting structure so here goes:

Year: 1

By the end of 2015 I would be happy if I have:

  • Successfully been promoted to a Foundation level Architect
  • Successfully progressed out of
  • Taken on more personal responsibility for a number of technical projects across the retail accounts
  • Worked regularly on the client site, and worked closely with those key clients
  • Beaten the procrastination monster (there’s only so many gifs of ninja cats to be watched surely?)
  • Passed my driving test first time

Year: 5

By the end of 2020 I would be happy if I have:

  • Successfully been further promoted to a certified or Senior Certified Architect
  • Worked on at least one European project
  • Moved into a house with a garden (for summer BBQs in the rain obviously)

Year: 10

By the end of 2025 I would be happy if I have:

  • Achieved a position in my career and salary that I can support my family
  • Worked closely with some of the ‘thought leaders’ in my industry and in the Cloud space
  • Worked as the chief Architect with personal responsibility for a number of successfully completed projects
  • Sky dived (jumping out of a perfectly good plane seems something that takes a few years to build up to!)

So those are my plans (not all of them, because I think it’s OK to have some goals that you don’t particularly want to put into the public domain), and I’m happy for each and every one of you reading this to hold me to them!

And now it’s your turn, have a look at 2014 – what did you do, what didn’t you do – and think about what you want to look back on at the end of the year (and further!) and think to yourself ‘yeah, I killed it this year .. much better than 2014’.

Thanks for reading, have a great 2015!