1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a System Services Representative or Customer Engineer. On a normal day I manage and attend calls to repair customers' equipment. I also work nights at a customer site and in the field. I have a lot of contact with customers; over the phone and face-to-face. I often call other engineers to see if I we can help each other out. With each call, I have to pick up and drop off parts for different systems, often aiding in the diagnosis of faulty equipment.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
This apprenticeship has me working towards a Level 3 diploma in IT and hardware. My communication skills have gone through the roof since joining IBM. My work is very technical and because of this I have been on several training courses to educate me in different systems. Additionally, I am enrolled on Cisco and Comptia Security+ training courses. I have also been on a few professional training courses for skills based around high-level customer interaction involving contracts and agreements.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my team, other IBMers and customers all in their own ways. I often meet new people every day, internal and external. I attend careers fairs and school talks to discuss and raise awareness of apprenticeships. I am part of the IBM Brathay Challenge team that is in the finals; we are centered around promoting apprenticeships across the country and not just for IBM. I like the way IBM operates; measured and calculated. There are not many rash decisions made, especially when it comes to executive-level decisions.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
IBM and my team place a lot of responsibility on me to complete my work and to a high level of quality. I am a trained engineer that can work on most equipment in my area of the country. I receive positive feedback from within my team and outside it. I have been nominated for Apprentice of the Year (2016), and I plan to try my hardest in qualifying for it. I am also put forward for visiting other teams and offering a fresh set of eyes on how they operate.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The induction was a lot of fun, but also very intense with covering the basics of IBM. There are good courses and gaps for you to implement skills that you have acquired. The timing feels right on the structure of these courses. I have quarterly reviews with my manager and regular catch ups with my mentor (a fellow engineer)
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I do have a training provider, but most of the support is done by IBM.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My manager is always happy to help me out with making questions clearer and making tasks easier to understand. My mentor is always looking out for me regarding calls. He checks calls that might be tricky and calls me to see if I'm OK with them. If I'm doing work at night or at a weekend he will let me know if he's available to help if anything goes wrong. The rest of the team are similar in that they will help me and offer advice when they can.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The base salary is enough on its own to meet my costs, but I do a lot of overtime and standby shifts which almost doubles my earnings. As an apprentice, the salary starts at £15,000; Foundation try to increase this by £2,00 every 6 months, but there are exceptions.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Unfortunately a lot of IBM events are in the south of the country; so I try to attend all the northern ones and occasionally drive south for a big event. I am trying to organise to go snowboarding with a couple of engineers soon.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
It's a great company to work for with lots to offer and plenty of career paths to follow.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM? *
Emphasise you enthusiasm for your passions and how they can be within the role you are applying for. IBM recognise that you have A levels/Diplomas, but they are just as interested what YOU are like and what you enjoy. They are hiring a personality as well as a worker, so they want to know how you think and how you approach tasks.
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