Imtiyaz Rahman, 18, secured his place on the BSc (Hons) Digital and Technology Solutions apprenticeship after achieving D*D*D on an IT Level 3 Diploma last summer.
He spends four days working at IBM’s offices in Southwark and the one day studying at Northeastern University London, a hub of the university in Boston, Massachusetts.
Imtiyaz, from Westminster, revealed that his uncle and cousins had been a big influence on his decision to pursue an IT career at an early age.
“My interest stemmed from an initial desire to play computer games with them when I was about seven. My uncle knew how to build PCs and told me about the hardware and the key things I needed to know, and I began to get into it in more depth,” he said
Imtiyaz’s interest grew as he began to find out more about how computers work and the different components needed to build them, which enabled him to upgrade his own PC.
“I’m interested in many different aspects of IT. On the one hand I’m interested in the hardware side, but since I’ve been at IBM I’ve been shown some new aspects of software and cloud-based technology that I never knew about, which has also piqued my interest,” he said
“I’ve also learnt about AI and quantum computers, which are faster, more powerful and beyond any computers that most of us know today.”
Imtiyaz heard about the apprenticeship through his friends at CANDI. He also applied for another at Lloyds Bank, which although unsuccessful helped him better prepare for his application to IBM.
“I had my focus dead set on going to university and that was the way to my future career, but then my classmates started to tell me about degree apprenticeships,” he said.
“I didn’t expect to make it. With UCAS application you send off your application and personal statement, but with the degree apprenticeship I had to answer a lot more questions on why I want this role and why I am good at it as well as face-to-face interviews and a presentation.
“When I got the call to say I had got on the apprenticeship I was in the middle of class. I walked out of my lesson to take the call and they asked me about my results. There was this daunting silence and then they said I’d got the role, and I was super happy.”
Imtiyaz explained that the diploma at CANDI gave him a realistic expectation of what it would be like to work in IT and how it is applied in business, while also preparing him for degree level study.
“When I’m doing assignments for university, I’m using the same approach and research skills I learnt at college. The practical side on my course also meant I am now able to look at someone’s coding and have a general idea what it means,” he said.
“The teaching was rigorous and intense. It was great to have teachers who had passion for their subject and wanted to see their students grow as people and improve their skills.”
Imtiyaz explained that the degree apprenticeship was a great option because IBM cover his tuition fees and he is not just getting an education but a career.
“What I’ve learnt is that no one really knows what they want to do for the future and not to plan or have too many expectations because situations are always changing, so keep your options open,” he said.
“I am happy for the future because this is a potential career opportunity at a great company that’s well known within the industry, which will give me the skills and experience over the next three years that I might not get just at university.”