1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Program Manager for Java. This means I have to deliver a beta program for the new code of Java. I create a platform for customers and other IBM'ers to use to download and test code, and then give feedback, comments and observations.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am continuously developing my Project Management skills, I will attending the Prince2 course in March to help develop this further. I am also improving on my organizational and communication skills with both internal IBMers and external customers, both written and verbally. As part of my apprenticeship there are also mandatory courses through out the three years. These courses help develop communication and presentation skills, along with customer conversation and client framework learning.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy working for IBM. The BetaWorks department that I work in has a very big 'team' culture and everyone is very helpful, advises me, and allows me to shadow to learn new skills. It has definitely met my expectations and more. IBM changed my perception of the definition of 'an apprentice', this is due to the huge amount of trust and responsibility I am given.
4. How valued do you feel by IBM?
I feel valued by my department. This is shown through appreciation and feedback from my managers and peers. I am often asked to help out in other projects around the department because I can be trusted to do the work to a high standard.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The IBM apprenticeship program has a good structure in terms of education and courses. The mandatory courses have come at a time when most valued and needed in terms of knowledge and development.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I do not have contact with my training provider, this is because IBM provide all of the training 'in-house'. Therefore when in need of guidance or assistance, I have my Early Programs Manager who is very supportive of me.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a huge amount of support from IBM. This comes from my departmental team, and the wider Foundation team. I have set up a mentor with someone in my department who I meet with weekly. He is able to advise on my role, the wider IBM and also any other issues. Setting up this mentor has been very beneficial for me. I also meet regularly with my managers.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I had to relocate for my apprenticeship. The starting wage did not really cover my costs as a car was needed also for traveling to the office. However, the continuous increments I receive are slowly helping with this.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is a lot of giveback opportunities I can get involved in outside of work, that are not related to my role. These can involve holding a stand at a local STEM fair or creating and holding an open day for college students. There is a vast array of activities to get involved in, and also meet other IBM'ers.
9a. Would you recommend IBM to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
There is a role for everyone. IBM is such a huge company with so many different departments that everyone is going to find something they enjoy. The apprenticeship program provides me with a huge support network and encourage me to push myself to reach my potential and sets you up with a job for life.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to IBM? *
On your application form, when using examples of where you have applied the IBM competencies, try not to use examples from solely a work environment. Think of a school trip/project or an event you've helped to organize that is completely non-work related. As this shows versatility outside the work place. At the assessment centre, don't be afraid to speak. They are looking for people that get involved, and also involve others in the conversation so don't hold your thoughts back, even if you think they are wrong. It shows you are trying.
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