This first week of February 2020, we celebrate two back to back milestones — the 10th anniversary of IBM UK’s Apprenticeship Program, and the National Apprenticeship Week 2020. To tell us more about the program and the experience, Julia Game, head of IBM’s Apprenticeship Program in the UK, interviews five amazing apprentices currently working at IBM.
In this installment, we meet Dani, a business management degree apprentice from Pearson Business School.
So, Dani, what attracted you to do an apprenticeship in the first place rather than any other pathway?
Back in 2017, I did a Futures scheme at IBM, which is a work experience placement year for students who leave college. I just enjoyed the year so much that I decided to stay. When I originally started, I was actually quite set on not doing an apprenticeship, but I got such great experience. I had such great client exposure so I thought, why pass up an opportunity to learn more.
How did you find out about the apprenticeship program? I’m assuming it was because of you actually being in IBM in the first place or had you heard about it elsewhere?
I heard of apprenticeships before, but not these sorts of apprenticeships? I certainly hadn’t heard of degree apprenticeships or apprenticeships within huge consultancy tech firms like IBM.
And did you have to convince anybody at all that you wanted to do an apprenticeship rather than go to university? Were your parents involved in that decision?
Yeah, I think my mom and dad were quite surprised when I told them I didn’t want to go to university. I think it was mainly down to them just not knowing what apprenticeships were about. So I think it’s really important for parents to be aware of all the options open to school leavers.
What made you decide that you wanted to do IBM’s apprenticeship program rather than another?
I think it was due to the fact that I’ve been given so many opportunities during my Futures year, plus all the partners and the people I’d work with. I didn’t get the feeling that I was just an intern or just someone who was here for a year, I felt like a valued member of the team, so I wanted to continue to be a part of that.
Fantastic. So what is the apprenticeship that you’re doing?
I’m doing the business management degree apprenticeship at Pearson Business School, and the degree is validated by Kent. I do four days a week of full-time work like any other consultant and then one day a week, I study at university and the degree covers a variety of modules from law, to marketing, to project management just really good foundations.
And you have to balance that with your role. Tell me a little bit about your role and how you manage that.
I’m working as a junior project manager for a large blue-chip organisation. Previously I’ve done design and service design roles. That’s another good thing about apprenticeships is you’re able to experience so many different roles. Sometimes coming in you might not know what you want to do, so there’s that flexibility for you to discover what you enjoy doing.
What’s the biggest thing that you’ve valued about your apprenticeship so far?
I’d say some of the give-back that I’ve been able to do with the clients. We have the opportunity to do voluntary work and that’s been a really good way of me developing my skills and learning more about the technical side of things, that doesn’t come to me as naturally.
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