Francesca Beckett at IBM Top Employer

Programmes Offered: Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5) Gap Year Programme Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3)
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Francesca Beckett

Francesca Beckett

UKI Business Operations Specialist Francesca Beckett

I joined IBM as a Futures gap year student working in recruitment and after an enjoyable year organising and running assessment centres for early professionals, I had created a wide network, gained experience in a professional environment and been involved in various HR projects. During that year, IBM started a HR Apprenticeship where I passed the assessments to be inducted onto the new scheme.

I am now in my 2nd year of the apprenticeship scheme as a HR Business Operations Specialist. This is a generalist role where I will work closely with the Business Operations Lead & the HR director. The role is really varied so I will get involved in lots of different projects throughout the year.

I enjoy the variety of work and being busy. I get to meet a lot of people in this role, both within HR and in the business, which will increase my network. The projects I will be involved in will also give me visibility to other HR departments so I can see what I would be interested in doing during my next rotation. The community is very encouraging in HR and there is always someone on hand to answer questions, shadow or support my development.

I think the key skill for any role is keeping an open mind. This has allowed me to have opportunities that I never thought I would be involved and to meet people I wouldn’t have ordinarily met. Being able to prioritise your time and manage expectations during busy periods are also other skills that are important.

When applying for IBM my top 3 pieces of advice are:

  • The IBM application form is an essential part to the application process. It involves competency based questions so be precise, use the STAR model and mix up the examples.
  • Think about your personal brand. Who are you? What are you known for? How do you come across? It also comes in the form of social media! LinkedIn is an online CV so make sure it’s up to date and check your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter to make sure it’s suitable for your employer to view.
  • Know the company. We have 1 Purpose, 3 practices and 9 values that all employees should work by. Competencies are so much more important than hard knowledge. You can be taught how to perform excel tricks but showing adaptability, being a team player and putting the client first are more essential traits.

I came out of college and straight into IBM; So, the School Leaver Programme, and subsequently the Apprenticeship, has really shaped my career. Through the different job roles, I have learnt what I want to do and what I don’t necessarily want to do but know that there are lots of opportunities I haven’t yet explored. Over the next few years I will complete my CIPD Level 5 Qualification for the HR Apprenticeship and do another two HR rotations before thinking about a career path that I would enjoy and be suited to the most.

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