First off, thanks to James and Callum for the useful tips on applying for the Associate Programme. The other Service and Sales Associates have just come to the end of assisting with the assessment centres which definitely brings back memories from when we were in their place just this time last year. I have to say, it’s much nicer being on this side of the table and passing on our words of wisdom to the hopefuls for next year instead of being put under the spotlight ourselves. That apart though, it really puts into perspective just how far we have all come since starting the programme ten months ago and it’s both scary and exciting to think we only have eight months left!
With this in mind and with the new associates nearly in place to start their role in January, I thought I’d take the opportunity to take a look at what I’ve found particularly valuable on the programme so far. I certainly feel that the programme has continued to improve the longer I’ve been on it. By this point in the scheme I’ve gained a grasp of the services and solutions Computacenter provide, I’ve managed to finally decode a large number of the acronyms I hear used in work every day and I have a much better idea of who the best person to turn to for each individual challenge I come across is.
One of the rotations which, I think really shows how much we’ve all learnt since starting the programme in January is ‘Helping Clients Succeed’. For those of you who are not aware, during this module the Associates are split into groups of three or four and are given the challenge of responding to a brief from a telecommunications company. We have to go through all the usual, well known processes when first qualifying and going ahead with an opportunity. The module concludes with each group presenting back to the key stakeholders within the dummy telecommunications business. Each group is just getting to the end of their initial conversations with the key stakeholders from within the company: Martin Roberts, Barry Binding, Andy Bryant, Derek Wilks and Darren Chapman or, as you may better know them, Pete Larson, Stewart Filler, Ade West, Gavin Bell and Rob Stanley. It’s surprising how capable and relaxed I think we’ve all felt in leading these conversations with the key stakeholders. It’s been really interesting to find out the ways in which you can best lead these initial conversations with prospective new customers. Hopefully, as we progress through the module we’ll continue to feel as at ease, especially when undertaking our final presentation.
For me, another highlight of the programme so far has got to be working on the Waitrose Account. I’ve been on the account for the past two months supporting and assisting the Service Management team. The John Lewis Partnership has been a long standing customer for Computacenter and it has been really useful to experience the Service Management role on this account.
Working with Waitrose has given me real exposure to what the Service Management role is really like. It has shown me that Stuart Maynard, when he introduced the role of Service Management to us all in January, wasn’t exaggerating when he said the role was fundamentally ‘spinning a lot of plates’. Juggling is certainly a skill I think I’ll be able to add to the CV by the time I finish the programme! Working alongside Waitrose, our internal teams and third parties has challenged me but it has also been a thoroughly positive and enjoyable experience. They say the best way to learn is to really get stuck in and get your hands dirty and this has definitely been my experience so far on the account. It’s been very rewarding to watch ideas progress and see relationships build with the customer. The experience so far has definitely made me very pleased I decided to go into Service Management and I’m looking forward to working with both Waitrose and the Service Management and Account Team during the peak period which will soon be upon us all.
My final highlight of the year is a bit more general. A lot of the programme revolves around us building relationships with key people within the business and ensuring that we get to know each part of Computacenter well. One of my highlights so far has been doing just this, and I don’t just mean drinks at the Oyster Shed after work! As we’ve all been progressing through the programme, I’ve found that so many people put time aside to assist with your development and that’s one of my favourite things about Computacenter as a whole: if you want to achieve, Computacenter will do its best to give you the tools to do this. Having had a small taste of seeing what being a Service Manager is like, I know how busy people are and so I’m extremely grateful to all the people who so far have given up some of their spare time to help with my development.
Admittedly, some of this has taken place in a more fun environment such as the Services University, but we’ve also all spent a lot of time with people from across the business during the working day, whether that’s whilst we are on set rotations or because they’re willing to give up time to give us the benefit of their experience in a particular area which may not be covered by the programme. So many people at Computacenter have worked here for so long and it is always useful to pick up hints and tips from those who have much more experience.
It’s safe to say that I’m looking forward to what the next eight months will bring. There’s still much more to learn and many more people to meet. Thanks for giving up the time to listen to my ramblings, next month we will be hearing from Harry Walkden.