John Longworth – An Introduction…

Hello to you all, and thank you for reading my first ever post on the blog! Let’s start things off with who I am (the only place to start!). I’m John, born and raised in Manchester, an IBMer almost exactly two years into my apprenticeship and someone who had no idea what to do after leaving college. Coming out with a BTEC in Games Design might I add. I never enjoyed classroom learning enough to go down the route of Uni so that was never an option in my mind and given the fact that I’d had an interest in IT and Technology, applying for Apprenticeships in the IT industry seemed to fit all too well. After applying for IBM (plus many others), I only initially received a reply and invitation to continue the process by IBM. More rolled in later but unfortunately for them, I’d already accepted IBM at that point! 6 months (I missed out on the first induction group and got into the second), 1 IPAT Test, 1 trip to North Harbour Portsmouth for an Assessment Centre and a few phone calls later and I found myself on a 2 week induction for one of the biggest multinational technology/consultancy companies and an Apprentice at IBM! 😀 But that’s just the beginning of it all, way back in 2013/14…

The 2 week induction didn’t only just teach me about IBM on a whole (values, admin tasks that need completing and all the technical fundamentals you could ask for). It introduced me to so many new people from all around the country (12 other apprentices to be exact) with all sorts of different experiences and backgrounds and taking all that in, completely improved my confidence. I came into day 1 of induction having no idea what to expect by the people but I can say I was pleasantly surprised. Having IBMers (mostly other apprentices) who volunteered time to come and speak to us and give us their experiences in the company so far. Sort of like what I’m about to do now…but in text format…

So after leaving the Induction, I started straight away on my first IBM account, situated not too far from home, in Liverpool. Being one of only two IBM apprentices on the account, it was one of the biggest learning curves I’ve faced yet. I was placed into a role of Junior Oracle DBA (Database Analyst), the only issue was…I had no idea how to write SQL or anything remotely related to Databases. TIP – Online courses were a must. Not only did they help me develop my skills, but it meant I could stay around the office and learn by doing and watching my (small – only 3 person) team. I improved my skills on PL/SQL infinitely. But unfortunately, before anything else transpired or I could get to the point where I would have access to the ‘LIVE’ system, my time on the account was cut short. As far as I’m aware, mostly due to the fact that the client decided to go down the route of having their own Apprentices on the account (which I personally had a hand in – pitching the apprenticeship scheme to the SDG team). So after a short few months, my time was up and it was already time to move on. Some great experiences and some (honestly) challenging experiences were had, but it was all part of a significant part of my IBM experience!

Next TIP – When moving accounts or trying to find a new role, contacts are essential, use them! So, I found out I would be moving accounts around 2 days before my ‘final day’, so after getting in touch with an apprentice whom I’d met one of the mandatory Foundation courses (FSPE) and I was passed along to the resource manager of another account in Preston. An interview call with the Service management lead later and I find myself where I am today.

I currently work in Service Management (Incident, Problem and Change/Release) on that very account and have been for the past year and a half. Thus far, they’ve been very intriguing roles to be in and I’ve learnt a huge amount! So the room I work in is purely Service Management, it’s basically “ITIL in a box”. I’m a believer in that the best way to pick up a skill or learn something is to be as exposed to it as much as possible and that is exactly what my time here has given me. Let me also not bypass the fact that I’ve met some of the most amazing people here too, a lot of them other (past or present) Apprentices! Being in the 3 roles has really kindled my excitement for Service Management, I feel like it’s something I’ve really gotten an excellent grasp of now and is definitely something I can drive forward with in a career sense in the future.

That brings up my final (and personally the most intriguing) point of my first post, the future and where I’m heading next.

After being in Service Management for such an extended period of time (over 12 months), I’m feeling like it’s time for something new. Something that will challenge me and push me outside of what I know and am comfortable with. As of the writing of this post, I’m not sure where to head next, but a move of accounts seems to be on the cards. Which in of itself will provide new certain exciting opportunities! But what’s next in regards of a role is still up in the air. I’ve given my all to ensure that my options are open and I’m sticking to the motto of ‘An open mind opens up opportunities’ and all being an Apprentice has done is drive that message home to me.

So that’s that for the future, where I will be or what I’ll be doing next is part of the excitement, but going off the previous 2 years alone I’ve spent in IBM, I’m looking forward massively to what will happen and who I’ll meet on the journey. You never know, by the time I next post I could be in a completely different place, doing something completely different. Things happen that fast!

Last tip and final statement from me for this post – A lot of opportunities come and go, and you’ll notice a lot pass you by. Take time to stop and think about what you’re letting go, because you never know, some of your greatest experiences might be passing without you even knowing it!

Thank you all for reading my experiences and until next time, goodbye and good luck!

John Longworth

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