IBM Apprenticeship : yay or nay? – Joe Barry

When forming an opinion of the apprenticeship I often look back at what I knew at the start of the programme and what I know now. Two years ago all I knew about IBM was this first paragraph that is on the IBM website describing the apprenticeship scheme;

University isn’t for everyone and here at IBM we have a fantastic alternative. Apprenticeships at IBM are all about picking up new skills and lots of them. It’s three years of brilliant training, lots of exposure and an experience you simply couldn’t get anywhere else. If you’ve decided to dive straight into the world of work after college we believe our apprenticeship is one of the best learning experience out there.

This paragraph ticked every box for me. I had been on apprenticeship schemes before and I was happy that this was the best way for me to learn compared to university as the only other alternative. IBM was not wrong when they spoke about new skills, skills from employment and from courses available for all of Foundation. During my first role I was given as many opportunities to learn new techniques and master new skills as I could handle (clients have no problem teaching you new skills if it means you can become more useful to them). The responsibility that I was given allowed me to develop my organisational, technical and personal skills to a point that I could be a valid contributor to real world problems. New skills are not just learning a new coding language or programme; you learn to be a more skilful person.

Now, when I read that it was a three year scheme I was a bit concerned. My last apprenticeships was only for 1 year which I though was ideal as a big deciding factor in my argument towards apprenticeships was the fact that I was not committed to a specific subject matter that half way through I could lose interest in as could be the case when you are enrolled in Uni. If you share this concern then let me help you out, if you join IBM for the next three years you initially have a choice between Business and Technical programmes. This choice does not affect the education throughout the 3 years nor does it limits your opportunities. Switching from the two after you joined however is hard to do, possible but not guaranteed. I myself have never been 100% convinced that I preferred the technical side to the business, in fact since joining I have preferred the business related tasks I have had the opportunity to do over the technical. This scheme is set up so even if you join the technical programme, as I did, you still get a taste for the other sides of the business. Three years I believe is the minimum amount of time I want to be with a company that offers so much variety as IBM does.

You are not typecast to one area of expertise, if you have a change of heart you have courses and job roles out there that will build up your skills, knowledge and hopefully interest in what you love doing.

IBM Apprenticeship, Yay or Nay? In my opinion the scheme is the best opportunity for young people to pick up new skills, experience a role/specialisation that you love and connect with a massive community of IBMers that all want to push the business and one another to new heights. Only if you push for every opportunity and get involved with your own development will you reap the full benefit of the programme and understand why IBM have moulded the next generation of innovation.

IBM was and still is the best opportunity for myself and everyone who shares my views, dreams and concerns so it’s a YAY from me.

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