Alexander Best

Name Alexander Best
Company IBM
Last Known Job Role  IX Apprentice

As an ambassador for IBM and the Ignite program I have been nominated to attend and represent IBM at external events, the most prominent being my TV appearance on the WOW show. The show is an online platform designed to bridge the gap between industry experts and students looking for guidance on educational and career decisions. I was asked to attend as a Technology expert and during the live shooting of the show, shared my experience and answered any questions the students might have regarding careers in IT and technology.

My journey began when I started on the City Gateway traineeship and successfully gained a 5 week work placement on IBM’s ‘Ignite’ program. I was placed within IBM’s Brand and Communications team in the Marketing Department where the team focused on raising the profile of IBM in the UK & Ireland. My role was challenging and extremely varied and included a range of activities; supporting the Brand Systems, Internal Communications & External Relations teams. My day to day activities included the management of their social media channels, communication platforms, creation of social copy, newsletters and the filming and editing of presentational material.

My role and the support of my IBM team and mentors allowed me to gain experience working in a corporate environment, developing my skills, employability, building relationships and an extensive network of IBMers.

I received excellent feedback from both my team and the Ignite leadership over the course of my placement and my team were keen to find an opportunity to bring me on board on a paid placement.

Following the success of my placement and the professionalism and dedication that I demonstrated,  I was offered the chance to return to IBM for a year as part of the Futures programme,  returning to the Brand & Communications team replacing their current intern. During my Futures placement my role evolved and expanded and I demonstrated my skills and further gained the trust and respect of my team. This led to deeper and more challenging roles increasing the level of my responsibility in the team. I was successfully delivering the publishing and distribution of IBM UK’s internal newsletters, creation of infographics and images for communication platforms and collaboration with external agencies to release brand advertisements for different levels. My experience was life changing and I knew that IBM was where I wanted to be and I was keen to take on my next challenge.

After investigating the opportunities available internally I applied for an IBM apprenticeship in IX and was offered a fast track opportunity due to the success of my Ignite and Futures placements. I am currently on the Junior Management Consultant pathway and working as a PMO for the Virgin Money account. Ignite was a crucial step in achieving my apprenticeship and enabled me to lay a foundation which just over a year later is demonstrated in business results, skills, networking and career progression.

Since my graduation from the Ignite program I have made it a priority to have an active involvement in the program to share my experience and support the trainees in a variety of ways.

I have been involved in all the cohorts that have come after me and have been a mentor and a point of guidance for the trainees.

  • delivered and facilitated communication skills sessions and presentational technique sessions
  • acted as a mentor, providing guidance and working with the trainees to build and define their goals and milestones.
  • Leading the Tech Badges session as part of the program on Cyber Security which involves guiding the trainees through an online interactive badge, facilitating discussion and supported by a presentational deck that I designed to supplement the badge.
  • Represented Ignite both Internally and Externally, including presenting at Movement to Work quarterly meeting
  • TV appearance on the WOW show.

I feel a sense of pride that my dedication to helping the trainees get the most out of their time in IBM has shown results and has been influential in two more trainees being given full-time roles in IBM.

To raise further visibility of the Ignite Program, every year an internal Ignite Launch Event is hosted in Southbank by the Ignite team. Prominent members of the scheme are invited to explain the Ignite program, what it is, and how we are supporting the program to tackle the problem of youth unemployment. I’ve been privileged to be invited to share my story and showcase the impact Ignite is having and gain wider support for the program. I’ve received amazing feedback from managers and attendees who have mentioned that my presentation had a big impact on their decision to get involved in the scheme and help make a difference.

I have also represented the program and the MTW Quarterly Employers Event earlier this year and gave a presentation showing the progress and improvement trainees can have once they go through the programme.

The IBM Ignite program is a fantastic initiative that over 200 trainees have now taken part in. I am proud to have been one of them and provide ongoing support for the program and I am excited to see the program grow and develop this year.