Working as an Apprentice at IBM UK – Enjoying the best of both worlds

By Amy Magistris


I had always found the technology industry to be a daunting thing. It’s so vast and complex and I didn’t think I would have the right frame of mind to enter an industry that is so cutting edge; that was me two years ago at least.

Two short years ago, I was in my final year studying A-Levels (Computing, Design Technology and Physics), with absolutely no idea what direction my life could take but I knew I wanted to do something with technology There are so many options available for a student who does not know exactly what they want to do. It is difficult to apply to a university if you have no clue which university or course you want to pursue.

Enter IBM. I became aware through family that the global technology and business giant had schemes in place for people like myself. I applied for their Gap Year scheme, where you work and earn for a year while experiencing the technology industry first hand and getting exposed to incredible technologies along the way.

Joining IBM was the best career decision I could have made.

My first year with the company allowed me to discover that I wanted to work in the tech industry. Being an IBMer created amazing opportunities for me – being involved in a project to create a newspaper app for a top UK university, meeting with the General Manager of IBM UK and most importantly discovering the option to participate in the Apprenticeship Program. When I mentioned to my manager that I was interested in applying for another IBM scheme –the Apprenticeship – and continuing my career here, she informed me of a new program being developed. After months of developing the scheme and the dedicated work of IBM and Queen Mary University (QMUL) alike, the IBM Degree Apprenticeship was born, and I was selected for it! I am one of four IBMers to be completing a three-year apprenticeship, and a four-year BSc Digital and Technology Solutions degree simultaneously. The apprenticeship consists of four years sponsored at QMUL studying both business and technology-based modules, as well as working and earning at IBM – three years as an ‘Apprentice’, then officially a regular employee. .

I am currently working as Office and Communications Manager for the London Bluemix Garage based in WeWork Moorgate, London. It’s incredible to be a part of such a unique and special part of IBM, where I can experience the start-up environment, as well as big business. The essence of the Bluemix Garage is its Methodology, which is an approach that brings together IBM Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Agile and Extreme Programming to empower companies to build innovative applications. I’ve had the opportunity to travel while working here, helping with Design Thinking workshops in Nice and Zurich so far. My first year at QMUL is now over and I’m over the moon to say that I passed – one year down, three more to go!

Joining IBM was the best career decision I could have made. I would encourage anyone still in school, or people who have recently left to apply for the IBM Degree Apprenticeship or the Apprenticeship if university isn’t for you. I have the balance of university learning and student life, as well as putting my knowledge in practice and becoming a respected professional. In the words of the greatest poet of a generation – “I’ve got the best of both worlds”.

This article was first published by Tech Partnership.

Amy works as Office and Communications Manager at IBM UK.

To find out more about our apprentices scheme, visit our UK recruitment website.

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