Written by: Danielle Arney (UKI Communications Specialist)
This summer students across the UK are receiving GCSE and A Levels exam results and considering post school options. To help make the decision process easier and explore the range of options available we are sharing ‘behind the scenes’ blogs from apprentices at IBM.
IBM offers a range of apprenticeships spanning business and technical roles, helping to prepare the next generation workforce with the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing workplace.
Hear from Dani Arney, a Business Management Degree Apprentice, who joined IBM after completing her A Levels:
Why did you choose an apprenticeship route?
One of the main reasons for choosing a degree apprenticeship was that it gave me the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge of working in a business environment and then apply these to my degree, all whilst earning a good salary. I felt that understanding concepts of business was more effective through experiencing it first-hand, and the idea of working for a large, successful organisation really appealed to me.
As there is the expectation that you will be offered a job at the end of your apprenticeship, choosing this route seemed an obvious choice to me. Despite my school promoting the university route, my family were extremely supportive and believed this was much more suited to me.
What apprenticeship are you doing and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
My role is great as it allows me to work across the Internal, External and Executive Comms team which gives me the chance to develop a real range of skills. The internal side is essentially improving how IBM employees communicate, this can include finding and writing stories for our newsletter and running campaigns that help employees get involved with activities outside of their day job.
The external side of my role is all about ensuring we maintain a strong brand image to help stand out in the press and on social media. This involves analysing competitor’s media presence and managing our Newsroom website.
How are the subjects that you studied at school relevant for your apprenticeship? How are you using them on a day-to-day basis?
At GCSE I took product design as a chosen subject, the concepts I learnt are still very much relevant in my day-to-day role as I am constantly working with the customers’ needs in mind. As well as this, the subject taught me to have a creative mindset and to think outside of the box. English, which is compulsory for all students, is also still appliable as much of my day job involves written communication and therefore, I am using what I’ve learnt to ensure my messaging is clear and engaging.
At A Levels, I chose Business Management as one of my subjects which directly relates to my job role and university course. This subject taught me the core concepts and theories around business which has helped me understand how elements such as marketing work.
What skills does it require you to use, and what skills have you learned through doing the apprenticeship?
The apprenticeship requires regular use of teamwork and communication skills as you are interacting with different people from across the business. Through working with a variety of people, I’ve come to understand how important it is to understand individuals working styles so that you know how best to communicate with them.
Over the past three years I have also developed leadership skills, which was a personal goal of mine prior to starting the apprenticeship. Being given the opportunity to lead and manage certain projects I’ve learnt to use my initiative and take responsibility and it’s great to see how your work is making a positive impact to the business.
How has it been taking part in a virtual apprenticeship? Has it matched your expectations?
As I started my apprenticeship with going into the office, I have been able to compare this to working virtually and it has exceeded my expectations. Firstly, teams made an extra effort to ensure the community feel and social side of the role continued from home by setting up virtual social events or even just putting time in the calendar to have a catch up. Saving time commuting allowed me to do my university work in the morning compared to afterwork which was more suited to my schedule.
As we begin to move to a hybrid model, working both remotely and in the office, I am looking forward to benefiting from the flexibility of working from home alongside interacting with others in the office.
What is your advice to others considering an apprenticeship?
There can often be a stigma associated with apprenticeships that they are a less reputable than other routes such as university; however, this is not the case, they give you the chance to kickstart your career whilst continuing learning to help you develop in an area of your choice. Spend time researching what different apprenticeships can offer you and getting work experience can help you decide if this is the right route for you. If you end up choosing an apprenticeship, your time will fly by so make the most of it by getting involved with as many different projects and opportunities as you can.
For more information about apprenticeships at IBM, or to register your interest for available roles, please visit – https://www.ibm.com/uk-en/employment/entrylevel/