For many of our Apprentices, looking at Timehop over the next few weeks will certainly bring a few throwbacks of the last few days of School or College. It was five years ago that I was leaving school. If someone were to tell me then that in five years’ time I would be finishing my apprenticeship at IBM, I would probably just laugh, something along the lines of ”Everyone just goes to Uni I don’t think apprenticeships are for me… what’s IBM?”
I left school with some very good GCSEs ready to move on to the next big thing, College. Right from the get go at College everyone around seemed to have a plan, something I hadn’t quite yet figured out. Turns out “I’ll just do some courses and go to Uni” was not the best approach when it came to choosing courses. I ended up doing some A-levels that really weren’t for me, but by the time I had realised this, it was already too late to change. As a result my first year at College wasn’t great, so when second year came around I had some serious thinking to do.
I had only passed two out of the four AS levels I had taken, meaning as it stood, I wasn’t going to get into Uni & I wasn’t going to be in the best position once I left College looking for work. I thought I had messed up my life. I was invited in to College for a meeting with the Careers Service and my tutor where I was told that I would need to do a whole A-level (or a level three equivalent) in one year in order to continue. I didn’t have much to pick from, I decided to take IT.
This was a massive turning point for me. Although I had to do double the work, I consistently churned out top marks in my assignments, made even better by the fact I was really enjoying what I was doing. This was something I could do as a career! I began looking for Uni courses.
Prior to this moment, I hadn’t really had much exposure to the world of technology and IT, so thought it would be a good idea to find work in the industry for a year before Uni. I spoke to careers & they suggested I look for a short term Apprenticeship. I began my search & started to apply.
I was mostly applying for year apprenticeships at schools, where the wages weren’t great but it was the experience I was after. This was true for all except one in particular. IBM. The Apprenticeship was longer than I was looking for and I’d never heard of them but I was intrigued to see why they were paying so much. After visiting the website and reading up on what the IBM Apprenticeship could offer, the experience, education & high starting and finishing salary, I realised this was a viable alternative to University and so I applied.
I began receiving invites to interviews for a few schools and accepted a place as a technician, due to start in July as soon as I finished my A-Levels. IBM invited me in for an interview assessment day in Hursley during this time frame.
It was the day before I was due to start at the school IBM gave me the call offering me a place on their Apprenticeship scheme. I’m now two and a half years in, completed my qualifications & looking to move to become a fully pledged IBMer. I haven’t looked back since.
Leaving school can be tough and College even tougher, especially if you don’t know what your plan is or not doing as well as you would like to be. But don’t panic, it doesn’t mean you’re going to end up with nothing. Just know that it’s never too late, be open to new things, be willing to work and you’ll get there.