Posted by Tom Pearce on November 7, 2016 under Graduate Technology Scheme
Hi all. It’s hard to believe that we are already two months into life on the technology graduate scheme; what seemed so far away when I was double-checking my application form and worrying about numerical tests is now a reality and flying by! I thought I’d give you an update of what we’ve been up to, and what life on the technology graduate scheme is like.
If you’ve seen Clément’s post, you’ll know we started with ‘Grad Lab’ – 6 weeks of creating an innovative solution to a real-life business challenge and taking this through the IT Project Lifecycle. This was concluded by the ‘Groscars’ (Graduate Oscars), in which we presented our ideas and (semi) functioning prototypes to senior leaders and Partners throughout IT, and were presented with a variety of awards, from best idea to most likely to be the next CIO. The event was a great way to continue to improve our public speaking skills (I’ve lost track of the number of presentations we have given so far!), network with Partners throughout the business and to celebrate what we had achieved (my team won best idea so we had plenty to celebrate!).
Us at the Groscars.
After this it was time to start our first placements. During the graduate scheme, you’ll undertake placements in all areas of IT, and our first placements were representative of the breadth of experience you will gain – grads were placed in a variety of teams from architecture to online payments to ways-of-working. For me, I was placed as a Project Coordinator in the biggest project John Lewis IT has undertaken, improving omnichannel ordering (hint – omnichannel is pretty important to John Lewis, and so worth researching!). It has certainly been a steep learning curve, but everyone has been really helpful and friendly, and there is a wide support network in place, with buddies, graduates and others. In my placement I’ve been given a large amount of responsibility very early on which, whilst terrifying at times, makes you feel valued as a partner, not ‘just a grad’, and means you can really see the impact of the work you are doing. As part of your time on the graduate scheme you can also gain external qualifications and so I’ve now applied to undertake a course in PRINCE2 Project Management.
The graduate scheme is more than just placements however, and we’ve been busy on a number of other projects as well. One of the largest of these is our Product Lifecycle Project – a chance to work with graduates from throughout the business to explore the lifecycle of a product, report back on our findings and suggest areas for improvement. My group was lucky enough to be given wine as our product, and so we’re in the process of booking a trip to a vineyard to understand how we source wine, and carry out some tasting to report back on! I’m also helping out with an initiative by Wrap Up London – taking donations of coats from Partners for redistribution to homeless and other vulnerable groups. There’s plenty to get involved with!
I hope that has helped to give you an idea of daily life on the technology graduate scheme. Applications are still open, so if you feel like this is something you’d like to do get applying! Amber has written a post of her experience with the application process, with plenty of hints and tips, which I’d recommend reading. Key is making sure that you have researched well, and have a good understanding of the Partnership and the importance of IT in achieving the Partnership aims. For video interviews and assessment days, stay calm and be yourself – I know everyone says it and it’s pretty useless advice but it really is true here, assessors want to get a feel for how you will work day-to-day with others, not to see some over-polished fact regurgitator!
It’s worth reiterating than there is no requirement to have a technical degree to apply. I studied Zoology at university, others completed degrees in sports science and music. There is plenty of support available to get you up to speed with the technical details, so providing you are passionate about technology and understand how it is changing the face of retail you’ll be fine!
That’s it from me. Best of luck in all your applications.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and hopefully I’ll see some of you soon!