Meet Ashleigh…..hear her story of life as an IBM apprentice

I am Ashleigh Denholm and I work within the labs as part of the CICS Market Enablement Team based in Hursley, Winchester. Upon leaving school I began a Primary Education Degree at the University of Strathclyde. However, a career in education was not the path for me. I began looking into different careers and I was faced with two options: begin a new university course or look at alternative avenues.

I heard about IBM apprenticeships from a friend who was in his second year of the scheme. The biggest benefit to an apprenticeship for me, is the ability to learn and develop your skill-set in a business environment. Managers view apprentices as integrated employees and give considerable responsibility to the roles. This shows their trust in our ability to complete the tasks required for the team success.

One of the most enriching opportunities was being part of the IBM Brathay team for 2017. Being part of this team allowed me to promote apprenticeships within the local area as well as spend time at a young carers centre. We built a willow shelter where the young carers could go to talk or think. Through the hard work and determination from the whole team we reached the finals of the challenge. After a week of intense and continuous challenge both psychical and mental, the team finished fourth nationally. This was a massive achievement for not only the team members but also IBM as this was the highest position ever reached by an IBM team.

As cheesy as it sounds, the things I enjoy most about my job are the people I work with. Stepping in to a completely new role after two years at IBM was a nerve wracking experience. CICS software is a deeply technical area of the business and gaining even a high-level understanding of this was a daunting task. However, working alongside various experts allowed me to tackle this challenge and this to me was an exciting and rewarding accomplishment. 

The variety of tasks I can tackle within my role makes each day different and this is one of the main highlights to my role. I have been given the opportunity to gain skills in audio and visual editing, design, web page content development, writing HTML and so much more.Over the course of three years in IBM I have gained many skills and developed not only in my role but also as a person. I want to be able to use my experience and journey to support and mentor other apprentices within the organisation.

Within the last year, I have been working with a group of colleagues to innovate and submit disclosures through IBM’s patenting system. I would like to build upon my two published inventions and am currently working towards gaining my first patent award. I then aspire to become a Senior Inventor and hopefully one day a Master Inventor!

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