Tag Archives: brathay challenge

You wouldn’t believe what these IBM Apprentices have been up to this month…

We asked some of our apprentices to share some of their highlights from the last month. Here are there responses:

Being part of a team that successfully completed a complex 9 month long project where I had to rewrite 2 entire applications in the Java programming language and make them do the same thing as before with a few new features – quite a challenge! I also presented two “Lunch and Learn” sessions about “Agile” to my colleagues – Please see my blog post on agile here: A Point of View on Agile Vs Waterfall – Richard Cure

~ Richard Cure

The past month for me has been a roller-coaster of workloads. The workload in my current role goes through peaks and troughs and funnily enough, the past month has certainly been a peak. I feel that I’ve handled it well and been able to manage 2 team-mates and teach them the things they need to know, without drowning in work or doing silly amounts of hours. Which I believe is an achievement in itself!

~ John Longworth

My highlight of the past month is being a part of the 2017 Brathay Apprentice Team (If you want to know more, read my blog I posted earlier this year Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2017 – Sarah Naylor) and being given the opportunity to take ownership of approving increases/promotions for many business units across IBM and working with managers to ensure they give their employees meaningful increases.

~ Sarah Naylor

Over the past few months, I completed a project I had been working on for over a year. It was a great feeling to move off this project knowing that I’d taken ownership of everything I was required to do across this time, and finished it all within the defined time frame. Furthermore, it was great to see how my input contributed to the overall success of the wider account – in general, a very rewarding month! In addition to this, I also moved roles (given my previous project was finishing), which is a great opportunity to find something new and start a fresh challenge.

~ William Spiers

Over the past month I have had the opportunity to start infrastructure design work on two new projects. Although this doesn’t sound like much it’s helping them to develop massively and showing me the trust I have gained from the architecture team on the account. I have also just worked at the University of Manchester ‘Big Careers Fair’ promoting IBM, it was great to pass on my experiences of working at IBM and what can be achieved whilst working here.

~ Gus Parkhouse

In the past month I have had one big highlight where I dealt with issue of high importance for the client. The details of which are sensitive but my actions resulted in many of our contractors being able to stay on site and continue working. My manager and the client recognised that downtime was likely to become an issue if the Contractors were not able to work so I received great pieces of feedback from them that will help me out massively when I look to progress out of foundation. I appreciate the responsibility I have been given at IBM and the pride I feel when I work hard and become successful.

~ Joe Barry

Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2017 – Sarah Naylor

This year, eight other apprentices and I have been chosen to represent IBM in the 2017 Brathay Apprentice Challenge which will see our company up against employers from across England to be crowned apprentice team of the year 2017.

Our team ‘Brathay Blue’ ranges from business/technical apprentices across many business units, giving us the opportunity to collaborate with individuals we would not normally get the chance to work with.

Our team consists of:

  • Me, Sarah Naylor
  • Charlotte Moore
  • Wesley Manta
  • James Ginn
  • Ashleigh Denholm
  • Conor Champion
  • Dominic Day
  • Shuhui Xue
  • Sophia Kyriacou

This challenge enables us to give back to the local community where we will spend the regional heats gaining valuable skills working on a community project and engaging in a number of exciting awareness raising challenges. Our aim is to raise awareness of apprenticeships across the South East of England, with two of the team doing the same in Manchester, promoting the benefits of apprenticeships for young people and the positive impact they can have for businesses.

The team will find out if we have been successful on May 17th when the National Finalists are announced. If we are lucky enough to be successful, we will have the opportunity to visit Brathay Trust HQ for the week where we will compete in the logistical and team building finale for the title of Apprentice Team of the Year 2017.

We are planning lots of events with schools, colleges, businesses and the local community for the coming months. We are always looking for new opportunities to get involved in, please contact us via Twitter direct message (account below) if we can support any of your events by raising awareness of apprenticeships in the South East.

Please support us this year and see what we will be getting up to in the coming months by following @IBMBAC  on Twitter and Tweet using hashtags #IBMBAC17 #BAC17.

Sarah Naylor.

My opinion of the IBM Degree Apprenticeship – Megan Murray


For my blog this quarter I decided to cover my opinion of the Degree Apprenticeship Scheme… and as a painfully honest person it’s always a little bit scary to voice your opinion on anything; let alone when your employer and people responsible for your future career will be reading what you have to say!

A summary for those of you reading who may not be aware of the scheme – the IBM Degree Apprenticeship is a part time degree over 4 years in Digital & Technology Solutions (Computer Science and Business essentially), and we attend Queen Mary University of London twice a week during term time and work at IBM for the rest of the time as normal employees. This year was the first year of the scheme and after a couple of weeks of exams the first year of uni will be complete!

The first opinion I guess I’d have to give is that it is hard work… you get plenty of uni students who struggle and they’re often not even having to balance going to work for one of the biggest tech/business companies alongside it all! It can be stressful and difficult to keep up with everything you’ve got going on, plus depending on your background, the content can be tough to get your head around, especially if you’re trying to learn stuff for work at the same time! Thankfully though IBM really are very flexible with it all and if you’re struggling, there is always something that can be done or someone who can help, but resilience definitely goes a long way.

The second thing is the number of opportunities to do something else in addition to your ‘everyday’ apprenticeship, it’s astounding! For me I wanted to fully focus on university and getting through first year until I really got involved in anything else, but I can’t wait to start to get stuck in to some other events and opportunities that are open to apprentices.

Thirdly, it’s massively rewarding… even more so because it is difficult. Whether it’s passing a mid-term or handing in a piece of coursework, or doing something to really help your team, or taking part in some Giveback. You are praised for what you do achieve, and supported in what is more difficult. The apprenticeship scheme at IBM is recognised and you are appreciated. It’s difficult not to be proud of yourself when everyone is telling you how much you should be when taking on a degree and work at the same time!

Finally, because it is a central reason why many people take apprenticeships, it’s undeniably a huge attraction not having to pay your uni fees and get in all that debt. They’re covered by the Government and IBM, plus you get a salary so technically you almost get paid to go to university, plus you get tons of real world experience and knowledge too… and that’s pretty sweet whichever way you look at it.

In summary, I guess my opinion is that if you’re willing to put in the hard work and dedication then this scheme is a really good option. It’s rewarding, comes with plenty of opportunities, gives you the chance to learn loads of new stuff and kick starts your career… I don’t think anybody could say that isn’t a good choice.

IBM Brathay Team Challenge!

Brathay Apprentice Challenge!

As you may be aware from our previous blog, the Brathay Challenge (#BAC16) is underway and the IBM team are in need of your support. In case you missed the last update here is a brief overview of what we are doing.

We are a team of 9 Apprentices all from very different parts of the organisation working through a number of challenges in order to win the title of ‘Brathay Apprentice team of the year’. The challenges are designed to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships with young people, educational establishments, other businesses and the community.

Our Brathay challenge is split into two parts, the first being awareness of apprenticeships and promoting them, and the latter being our community project.
Our previous blog gave you an insight into how we have created an awareness of apprenticeships and the different formats we have used to do so and we also gave a small introduction into our community Project.  Here is a quick recap if you missed it!

Community project:

The team selected Spithead community centre for their project as this community Centre will help many local residents and assist SEHCO in providing activities for young people in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire.

Spithead community centre, situated on Montgomerie road, Southsea, is run by a Charity called ‘SEHCO’ (South East Hampshire Community Outlook) who aim to promote community involvement. SEHCO currently have three community centres for hire, and are also leading a major Big lottery funded initiative that delivers arts and sports activities for local 10-18 year old. 

Our community project is now complete and was a huge success!

The team of 9 Apprentice’s worked alongside SEHCO to prepare and plan the project. All equipment needed to be ordered and delivered ready for the apprentice’s arrival on the Saturday 2nd of April. This included the basic furniture including chairs and tables, a fridge and microwave, and even a flat screen TV and Xbox one! A projector screen was also bought so that the users of the centre can practice presentation skills.

The team were left to assemble the furniture, thoroughly clean the centre and set up the IT Suite using their technical knowledge which included updating the systems and ensuring that the users of the suite could access the web and print documents safely.

Here are some after Photos:

5 4  2. 1.3

We will now be creating a portfolio to show what we have completed for the challenge so far and producing evidence to see if we have earnt a place in the Finals week commencing on the 13th June.

Please help support us and keep up to date with our progress on Twitter @IBMBAC16.


IBM Brathay Challenge!

IBM apprentices need your support!

A team of nine apprentices from IBM have entered the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2016, the search for the apprentice team of the year, which will see our company up against employers from across England to be crowned apprentice team of the year 2016.

Our team is made up of:
Acacia Hayles, Identity and Access Management Specialist
Amy Magistris, Bluemix Garage Office and Communications Manager
Katie Fielding, z/OS Systems Programmer
Georgia Crane, Commercial Manager
Martin Dawson, Customer Engineer
Jonah Reid, Customer Engineer
Luke Pearce, RFS Manager
George Marshall, Software Designer
Dmytro Oliinyk, Configuration Manager

What is the Brathay challenge?

The Brathay Apprentice Challenge (#BAC16) is the search for the apprentice team of the year, supported by the National Apprenticeship Service.

To win the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, teams undertake a series of exciting and interactive work-related challenges to develop new skills and showcase their employer by engaging with young people and businesses to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.   The challenges are designed to ensure that the teams demonstrate their team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities.

Teams of nine apprentices can be from a single employer, a group of small businesses, an industry, supply chain or training provider.  There is no limit to the number of teams that can be entered per organisation or group.

The apprentices will need your support throughout. Regional Heats take place from February to April 2016 consisting of a Community Project and activities that raise the profile of the team, employer and apprenticeships.

What have we done so far?

So the Brathay challenge is split into two parts. The first is making awareness of apprenticeships where we as a team have to conduct a series of presentations and host events to increase the awareness and benefits of apprenticeships to young people, parents and businesses. And the second part is doing a community project in a local community to benefit young people.

Apprenticeship awareness:
So far the team have reached out to numerous students, parent and teachers in order to make awareness of apprenticeships. We’ve also got involved in National Apprenticeship Week 2016 events, done an Apprentice panel at BT centre, run mock assessment centres and completed job swaps with executives.


Community project:
For our community project we have partnered up with the charity SEHCO (South East Hampshire Community Outlook) in order to rejuvenate Spithead Resource Centre in Southsea. This is a fantastic opportunity for us as SEHCO have received funding from the lottery to carry out the project. Currently Spithead Resource Centre looks very tired so we are will be redecorating, refurbishing the inside by buying new equipment and getting the IT suite set up and planning the project from start to finish.

7 8 9

What our community project will offer:

Our project will help people living in the area of extreme deprivation adjacent to Spithead Resource Centre by providing a friendly place to drop in, enabling them to find out what’s happening. It will also be an ideally-located base for outreach from local colleges and training providers, a number of whom we have already contacted.
It will assist the large local population of young people, who are often poor and who (living in rented accommodation or lodgings) can be socially/emotionally isolated. It will do this by providing an important part of the framework of support that they need in order to thrive and make the most of their life rather than ‘drop out’.
A rejuvenated Spithead Resource Centre will help the wider community by offering a friendly and welcoming source of varied opportunities for informal engagement. As many of these people will have low confidence, this may well prove a first step towards enrolling in courses that could change their lives.
The area immediately surrounding Montgomerie Road has changed. It is now predominantly populated by young people, a fact that only serves to exacerbate the social isolation of the older members of the population. Bad credit is, increasingly, a feature of the area.
A medium-height chair is no longer merely a piece of furniture but becomes the means by which an older person can participate. The projector screen is not simply a high-tech adornment but an important tool that will help in the informal learning of a young Mum starting to prepare for employment.
The fridge and microwave are not merely kitchen appliances but key resources in preparing the refreshments that mean young people can enjoy a hot drink and a snack and talk with others, making them feel welcome, valued, part of something worthwhile.
Similarly, an Xbox with games is not just a big toy but a way of engaging with young people. The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, already supportive of SEHCO’s work, will be invited to present the trophy to the winner of the Xbox competition, thus giving us the publicity that could attract even more lonely and vulnerable young people and encourage them to participate.

In the meantime, please support us and keep up to date with our progress on Twitter @IBMBAC16.