Monthly Archives: October 2015

Where are they now? – Ryan McManus

Well I’m still in IBM and no I’m not the CEO …just yet! I have now progressed into “the business” and like Oli and Lewis, I have completed the Apprenticeship after an amazing 3 years! I have not got a new job title or changed my job – So what is the difference?

The difference is my knowledge and my view on the world of work.

Looking back at my apprenticeship I have had 7 different job types on 4 different accounts/locations. Some roles I learned more on than others, some clients were more structured than others, but every single one of them was different and unique in their own right. Every single one of them taught me new skills and made me think differently to solve complex challenges.

I have now gained a breadth of knowledge in multiple areas of IBM. I am more than confident that the knowledge base I have gained shall serve me well no matter what career path I go down. It’s not just the role knowledge I have gained, I have also gained people skills and learned how to interact with different clients, IBM’ers and work with different cultures. I have developed new and different ways of thinking / working to help me perform to my best ability.

I dared to challenge myself and if I’m being honest, not all of my decisions turned out how I expected, but I sure did learn and develop from every single one of them. By challenging myself I proved myself to others which led to more responsibility and in turn gave me knowledge at a faster pace! When I think back, I have seen myself go from role to role gaining more responsibility or challenge in each one of them which really defines the term “development”!

At the start of my apprenticeship I only really knew of (and wanted to be) the job role that was abbreviated PM (Project Manager). Over the 3 years I have experienced roles that I never really knew existed and ones that at the beginning I thought “it’s just not for me”. But the apprenticeship has given me an insight into roles that I now want to explore further and are a huge interest to me! IBM is a massive company and you could set up a 20 year apprenticeship and not get through the all the areas, so I had to pick roles wisely and be realistic in the paths I wanted to explore.

Gained the contacts – At the end of my 3 years one of my biggest assets is my contacts list. I have built an extensive network that can open new doors and can link me back to some of the career paths that I explored earlier on in my apprenticeship.

I have developed my understanding of the market and business I am actually in. Sure I had an understanding of what IBM did before (they did computer stuff right…?) Now I actually know how IBM operates, the processes and models within a business and the markets they are involved in. But more importantly I know why they are in those markets. I can use this to understand how to deliver real benefit to our clients and understand the challenges our clients face and what can be done to solve them.

It’s not all work work work. You have to have a social life too right? I have met some amazing people and made some great friends all of which have led to some great experiences throughout the apprenticeship!

Do I now have a firm and confirmed career path I want to follow? No…but I’m not far away. I know what I enjoyed and I know what I was good and not so good at. I shall now look to explore the areas I have enjoyed the most, but also where I know my skill set lies, to hopefully lead to great achievements and a prosperous future within IBM!

So it’s not really where am I now as I’m just setting off on my journey…its more about                           “what have I done to prepare myself for my journey”.

Ryan McManus

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Where are they now? – Lewis Davies

Wow how time flies! Like the creator of the IBM apprentice blog, our very own Oliver Pope-Mostowicz, I too have just celebrated my 3rd Anniversary at IBM. Oliver and I were lucky enough to be on the same induction week and have stayed in contact throughout our time as apprentices despite working at different locations. It was really interesting to see how differently our careers have progressed from the same grass roots we shared at the induction.

So naturally it’s a great time to reflect on the highlights of my last 3 years and think about what’s next after the apprenticeship.

Let’s start with the highlights! Firstly transitioning to a technical role from a business focused background. When I started IBM I was somewhat under the impression I would be channeled in to a project management or service delivery career path. Starting a technical role was a completely new and alien idea but I would argue the best step for my career yet. Whether I remain technically focused or not the things I have learnt and the concepts understood will stay with me and can be applied wherever my career takes me and should ensure I don’t suffer fools so easily should I go back to a more business focused role. Secondly becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associate. In the world of networking this is the first foot in the ladder of qualifications and shows a good knowledge of most networking concepts and can be used alongside other qualifications such as the MCSE (Microsoft qualification path) to create a strong and desirable CV! My third highlight was from around a year in to the scheme but I feel still holds some merit to this day. Completing the IBM Professional Skills Class (a course that simulates competing for a client bid over one week in a high pressure environment) with perhaps the highest average score ever seen and being awarded a nice bottle of bubbly to accompany. (My average was 1.89 for any IBMers reading who know the scoring system 1 being excellent 6 being failed).

Post apprenticeship? It’s really satisfying to have become a full IBMer and to have graduated the apprenticeship scheme. The fact your pay is able to rise significantly overnight shows how much value apprentices are creating for IBM even before they graduate the scheme. I’m currently involved with a project that will be moving data centers from the IBM Farnborough office which is closing, to the IBM Hursley site near Winchester. All my efforts are currently in preparation for this with the move set to happen early next year. It’s a huge piece of work and it’s not something I anticipate I will see again in my career any time soon. So it’s all hands to the pumps to get this moving and a rather action packed 2-3 weeks while the move actually takes place! Also a new site means new connections and hence new opportunities. All my experiences so far have been in the public sector accounts so I would be interested to see the differences working for a private sector client. I’d like to continue to build my skills in networking and eventually progress in to an architectural role.

So farewell apprenticeship and hello life as a full IBMer!

Lewis Davies

To Foundation and Beyond

So you have decided to take the plunge. You have read through all the great blogs on this page which has given you one conclusion – the IBM Apprenticeship is where you see yourself. After looking through all of my blogs it hit you that you want the same thing, so you’re welcome.

Assessment centre arrives and you pass through with flying colours, nothing is going to stop you from getting to the sweet life. First day on the job and your excitement threatens to boil over as you begin your career. You’re meeting Managers, Clients and other Apprentices and start to feel at home. The 3 years you have in foundation will not be wasted as you attend courses, work on multiple accounts and build your network. You may even be inclined to write about your experiences on the IBM Apprenticeship Blog. Impacts that you make to your clients are meaningful and acknowledged to the point that your are depended on as if you don’t have the tittle of ‘apprentice’.

So when the 3 years is done and you have given yourself a head start in your career, what’s next? What happens now? Lets have a look at some people that have left foundation and have pursued their careers further.

Two people that I believe to be great examples are Hayley James and Manuela Doutel-Haghighi. Hayley was one of the first apprentices to join IBM Foundation back in 2010. During her 3 years in the scheme she has won the National Apprentice Award in 2014 and came runner up in 2013 to a fellow IBMer Sadie Hawkins. In an interview she did last year at the awards evening she expressed an interest to one day being a CEO at IBM. Now that she has moved out of foundation she has continued to work towards that goal as well as any others she wishes to achieve. Whist working as a Release Manager at one of IBM’s largest account, she still takes time to help new apprentices and graduates with on boarding including myself when I joined a year ago.

Manuela Doutel-Haghighi was an IBM Graduate in 2001. She is currently a Complex Projects Executive for Global Technology Services (GTS). Having developed a talent in outsourcing business, after the graduate programme had ended she then had the opportunity to occupy a role that would expand the business as part of IBM’s Growth Market Initiatives in South Africa. Upon returning in 2010 she was given more responsibility as an Account Executive for 100 companies in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Like Hayley, Manuela has also helped new graduates into IBM as an Early Professionals Manager (EPM)

These are two shinning examples of how you can take advantage of what IBM offers. Hayley has used her time to build eminence both within IBM and across the UK, as shown by her awards. Manuela has taken her acquired expertise to help IBM across boarders on large scale and demanding projects.

What I find most important of all is both women have not forgotten the path they took to success and have always been willing to build on IBM’s early professional schemes and help anyway they can.

Please take the time to find more people that have succeeded beyond the scheme and hear their story. Plenty of former Graduates and Apprentices have stories to tell. What will your story be?

Joseph Barry