Emma Foster: Level 4 Junior Management Consultant Apprentice

Emma Foster: Level 4 Junior Management Consultant Apprentice

What is your current job role?

I am a Junior Management Consultant Apprentice currently working as a Business Rule Tester for the HMRC CDS project.

What made you decide to come to IBM as a school leaver?

In September 2020, I started at the University of Leeds to study Maths and Economics but quickly came to realise that the university lifestyle was not for me and that I would much prefer to start working as soon as possible. This led to me looking into apprenticeships and I was always drawn to the business focused pathways, but I also had a keen interest in getting into a technology-based company as I feel that this is the best industry for innovation and development.

When looking at apprenticeships, IBM really stood out to me as it is a company that is highly thought of globally and has made some of the biggest achievements in the progression of technology and then when I started to look more deeply into the company and discovered more information through the application process, I knew getting a job at IBM would allow me to have so many amazing opportunities and develop my skill set more than other companies I had looked into.

What hints or tips would you pass to those who are interested in applying to IBM as a school leaver?

I would day to be yourself throughout the wholeapplication process, one of IBM’s values is to treasure wild ducks and that stands true through the whole company. Those experiences and skills you have are what set you apart from the crowd and IBM will recognise the greatness of these if you share and show them during the application process.

Once you are part of IBM, I would say to take every opportunity that comes your way (within reason) and push yourself outside your comfort zone, you will be surrounded by a great support network from your colleagues to your foundation mangers that you are able to grow your skill set in a safe environment that welcomes failures, as long as you show you have learnt from it the next time round.

What’s the best thing about your current role?

The best thing about my current role is that even though my role is a tester, I also contribute to my team in many other ways through being a part of the external documentation team to owning and improving the training hub, as well as holding 30-minute games sessions for my team on a Wednesday afternoon and organising social events to keep the team spirit high whilst we are all working from home.

I wear many ‘hats’ and can get involved with so many different aspects of my team that I am constantly developing and growing my skill set which is allowing me to gain a better insight into what type of path I want my career to go down.

What support was available to you when starting at IBM?

When I started IBM, I had a 2 week induction with all the other new apprentices meaning we formed a close bond as a group so when I left induction, I knew I had at least 15 other people in the exact position to me that I would be able to talk to and trust if I was struggling or wanted some extra guidance.

Aside from that, I was assigned an experienced apprentice as my buddy during my first week who was super helpful and supported me whilst I was settling into IBM as we would have weekly calls where I could ask her anything I wanted, or she would show me how to use different tools. She has since finished her apprenticeship and is now my mentor, it is amazing to have someone who was in my position a few years ago guide me through any difficulties I am facing as she can relate to the situation I am in.

I also have monthly calls with my Foundation Manager to monitor my progressin my role/apprenticeship and to ask for any advice I need to ensure I am putting myself in the best position in my apprenticeship and my practise.

What’s the best thing about being at IBM?

The best thing about IBM is that the opportunities are endless, there are so many different projects and teams within the company that you have the chance to work in almost any role you desire, as well as the decision of when you want to change roles or projects being in your control. You can decide what you path you take and that allows you, especially as an apprentice, to try to many different roles and projects without the fear of failing but with the chance to develop all kinds of different skills.

Everyone in IBM wants you to do well and will help you with whatever goal you have, as long as they can see you are working hard yourself to achieve this,and I think that is rare thing to find such a consistent trait throughout a large company.

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