1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Although my day to day job is challenging and valuable it's important to note that there are two side's to the business; Account and Foundation. Sadly, the two do not interlink as they should. The impact of this is that irrespective of your performance on account, if you do not 'jump through' the required hoops to satisfy the foundation workstream you will not be able to receive the recognition you will most likely deserve.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Although the mandatory 'foundation' business oriented courses are good, in terms of technical skills there is little progression. On accounts separate to mine there are a number of reports of apprentices being used as cheap labour, working a monotonous and skill-less admin job for far more than the indicated six months. This severely holted the progression of a number of my colleagues and although it thrives on the aforementioned account is not an isolated incident.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
In comparison to other companies (I have now moved following my experience within IBM) the scheme is not as it seems. Apprentices are treated as school children at best, and cheap labour at worst. True innovation and development of the company ethics is not at all encouraged thus meaning the scheme is considered something of a joke within the company. I met a number of PM's who have a disregard for both the scheme and those leaving from it.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
As previously stated, besides from being treated as cheap labour the company does not offer the appropriate support. Pay rises are late (there is not a single apprentice I knew that received this on time) and your development managers are more of a hindrance than an asset. Whilst waiting for my manager (whom I had to travel to for a review in London) a colleague referred to them as a primary school teacher and that is not far from the truth.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme itself is structured, but as previously stated there is no consideration for any work outside of 'foundation'. In Accenture where I now work the scheme is much more tailored toward awarding those adding true value to the company.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I never had any contact with the associated college.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
Unless it is a query that somehow benefits the foundation scheme, there is little to no time dedicated to the resolution of other issues.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is reasonable, especially considering how easy it is to keep your head above water. However, Accenture, my new employer do pay more generously despite a questionably worse expense scheme. I stayed in Hotels at IBM but some people did have rented accommodation purchased for them. I'm unsure as to eligibility for this scheme.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes - loads of them in foundation. However being able to do them is a different story.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Little appreciation for value added in ways that aren't 'the norm'.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM? *
Properly consider all options and other companies. Make sure this is right for you. The technical apprenticeship is not technical, and will end up with you being in a business oriented role in most cases.
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