Tag Archives: RITTech

IBM Foundation: where are they now? – Oliver Pope-Mostowicz

So here’s an interesting turn up.

I started this blog, along with a number of my Apprentice colleagues for National Apprenticeship Week … wait for it … 1.5 years ago!  Since then, we’ve pretty consistently posted a blog a week on a huge array of subjects – all from the view point of IBM Apprentices.  I’m really proud of what has been done here.

What makes this even more interesting, for me at least, is that the start of this blog marked the half way point in my career as an IBM Apprentice.  Which, as you have guessed, means that (by the time this blog is published – so long as everything goes according to plan *touch wood, throw salt over shoulder, buy a horse shoe etc*) I am no longer an IBM Apprentice.  I have ‘graduated’ from the Apprenticeship scheme and have joined my colleagues as an IBM professional.

It’s quite strange; I look back on that first blog post and I can see an element of defensiveness – I was proving to the world around me that I had made the right decision, that I was an IBM Apprentice and proud and here are all the reasons why ‘I was right and you were wrong’.  Part of me has stayed the same – I’m still immensely proud that I am/was an IBM Apprentice, I know I made the right decision and I still occasionally like to take on the world. But I like to think that part of me has also changed.

In the time since I joined IBM in September 2012, I have been all across England, to Vienna and Barcelona, I have worked 15+ hour days, worked on holidays and been woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call from work.  I have sat in client offices as the sole IBM technical representative and I have created architectures for client systems that are now in place and support their critical services that allow them to run their business.  I have made friends, I have been coached by excellent mentors, and I have been absolutely awestruck by human beings and technology more than once.  I’m a qualified TSM administrator, an Infrastructure Architect and a Registered IT Technician (see Paul Martynenko’s post from last week).  That sounds like I’m boasting – and maybe I am a little, I told you, I’m proud of my achievements – but mostly it’s just incredible to me to sit back sometimes and just list what I’ve done, where I’ve been and who I’ve met.

On that last point, I’ve met ex-Foundation members who are now IBM Distinguished Engineers (the highest technical banding within IBM), who are running *massive* global accounts and who are involved in continuing the support of the Foundation scheme seeking out new talent and new opportunities amongst young people.

Now I’m not saying I’m going to reach those lofty heights (though I certainly intend to), but it does give me pause for thought …

Foundation: Where are they now?  Probably the question is more where aren’t they?  And more importantly, why aren’t you here as well?

Oliver Pope-Mostowicz


Registered IT Technicians at the top of the Gherkin – Paul Martynenko

For our next guest blog post we are truly grateful to Paul Martynenko, IBM Vice President and Technical Executive Europe, who has written a post about his visit to the Gherkin to speak at an event launching a new, industry wide, accreditation – an accreditation of which the first 10 members were IBM Apprentices!

A short while ago I was asked to give an after dinner speech at the restaurant at the top of the Gherkin.

I agreed, but not because of the fine dining, or the restaurant’s great reviews, or because of the amazing views over London from the 39th floor.

Let’s be clear, if you have to speak after dinner then you usually don’t enjoy the food or the views; you focus on your speech. In truth you rarely eat much.

No, the reason I volunteered was because it was the dinner to mark the soft launch of the new Registered IT Technician professional recognition. Sponsored by the BCS The Chartered Institute for IT, who will run the accreditation process and maintain the register of IT Technicians. This new qualification is a massive step towards making professional accreditation available to all IT people.

Accreditation which gives employers trust in the people they employ and lets employees differentiate themselves. We have long benefited from accreditations in the IBM Professions but this sets a new industry wide standard. And it’s a step towards the BCS’s Chartered IT Professional which is the gold standard for professionalism outside IBM. So that was definitely enough of a reason to speak.

But what really convinced me was the fact that the first Registered IT Technicians are our colleagues.

Ten of them, three of whom joined us at the dinner. As I toyed with my bread roll, and picked at my main course, I was immensely proud of our team. They should have given the after dinner speech not me. And, in part, they did, as the BCS had made a series of promotional videos featuring them which were played just before I spoke. They were the stars.

Please take a look and congratulate them: video link

Paul Martynenko