Looking back at my Apprenticeship – Ryan McManus

So with 2016 just around the corner I cannot wait to see what fresh challenges and new experiences it brings. However with my apprenticeship now completed and 2015 coming to an end, I want to take a moment to look back on the past 3 years with IBM. I don’t plan to bore you with my achievements, I’m not going for promotion with this blog, so take a look at some of the things that summarise a few of my thoughts on the apprenticeship.

What was the best part?

The best part for me was the opportunities available and the responsibility associated with some of those opportunities. If you are driven to succeed and really want to get your career kicked off to a great start you can rip that apprentice label off from day 1. There is no making tea or getting your bosses lunch, you can seek out as much challenge and responsibility as you like throughout the 3 years if you prove your capabilities.

If you act like an apprentice you shall get treated like one, no matter what career or industry you are in. Only you can take that label away by committing yourself and proving you are capable of taking on new experiences and challenges. IBM offer lots of training and has a very well planned out apprenticeship scheme, but they are only effective if you want to learn and expand your skills.

Something associated with the above are the people that support you in creating the opportunities. In every company you get your fair share of great and not so great managers. I have been fortunate enough to have some really great managers and worked with some really great people. They have created opportunities to enable me to prove myself and when I did prove myself, work with me to increase my responsibility and therefore my learning. I cannot thank these managers enough and the people who supported me in my roles! IBM promotes this kind of work ethic which is great!

The friends I have made and the social events I have attended are definitely highlights of the 3 years. The three years have really brought the term “work hard, play hard” to life.

What did I utilize?

When I entered the scheme I had no real idea about the career path I wanted, nor what industry I wanted to be in. A lot of apprenticeships take you on so you can learn about one area. But that was no use to me as I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The IBM scheme suggests you move around in different roles every six months and I really tried to stick to that. I knew I had 3 years to learn about some core areas so wanted to use that time to take opportunities to accelerate my growth, knowing that I had the support around me to do it. Every time I got comfortable I wanted to move and do something different. I have done 7 roles and worked with 4 different clients in the span of 3 years.

What could have been improved?

What would have benefited me is a list of the high level areas that you can go into within IBM and a short explanation. I am talking very high level, but an insight into what is actually on offer would have helped me. This would have given me confidence that I can try different areas and less of walking into the unknown.

What would I have done differently?

No one is perfect …sure there are things that I would have done differently and below are a couple of them.

There are so many roles within IBM it is impossible to cover them all. I would have taken time to plan my roles to cover all aspects of a project life-cycle. If my plan changes then that is fine but having a plan enables you to think about what you wanted to do anyway, so it can help you make informed decisions when you look at changing roles. Luckily I have ended up doing some amazing roles that have been very steep learning curves, however I shouldn’t have left it to chance!

I should have made more time to keep in contact with my network. What I mean by my network are people I have met throughout my apprenticeship, whether it is apprentices I started with or previous bosses etc. In my apprenticeship I was so driven to deliver I started to forget about the people who originally developed me and enabled me to deliver in the first place!

How has it set me up?

There are many things that it has done for me so here are a few….

  • Place me in a company that is at the forefront of the technology world! IBM is a great name and is a renowned business leader. It is a company that cares about you and wants to keep you on after your apprenticeship.
  • Given me knowledge in many areas of the business that I shall keep with me throughout my career, therefore has given me a base of skills to develop my career path on.
  • It has provided me with experience of working in many different client environments.
  • It has given me the challenging experiences that have enhanced my CV.
  • I have gained a better idea of the career path I now want to pursue.
  • IBM is very competitive on its salary….you can guess that benefit!

What helped me get through the apprenticeship?

  • My dedication to succeed.
  • Wanting to show everyone that apprentices can perform to a very high standard.
  • Having a passion to improve things no matter what role and grow as a result.


If you want to know more or have any questions, drop me an email at RYANMACM@uk.ibm.com


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2 thoughts on “Looking back at my Apprenticeship – Ryan McManus

  1. SAM WINBUSH April 26, 2016 at 8:07 am Reply

    Creative comments – I learned a lot from the facts , Does anyone know if my business could access a blank a form example to fill in ?

  2. Ryan McManus April 27, 2016 at 9:31 pm Reply

    Hi Sam, Thanks for the comment. Would you like to email me regarding this and we can discuss what you are after further? RYANMACM@uk.ibm.com

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