At Computacenter, we are proud to offer a range of different career paths for people looking to start or progress their careers in IT, including our award-winning graduate programmes. These programmes are structured in a way to give candidates access to all parts of Computacenter, helping to accelerate the best fresh talent into the technology services industry and world of business as a whole.
This year, we are delighted to welcome Emily Gaskell, Sam Jones and Sharon Odozi as Graduate IT Consultants in the Platform and Hybrid Infrastructure Team (PHIT). The three talented young individuals have only been part of the team for a matter of days but are already settling in well.
In this blog, they share their insights and experiences over the last two weeks, exploring how their preconceptions of what a global, FTSE 250 organisation might have been like were changed:
Joining our new team
Two weeks ago, three of us started our new adventure at Computacenter as Graduate IT Consultants as a part of the Platform and Hybrid Infrastructure Team (PHIT). We each took a journey here through QA Consulting, a branch of QA where we all undertook a 12-week training program; Emily trained in Azure and Data Science while Sharon and Sam studied AWS and DevOps.
On our first day, we arrived feeling both nervous and excited. We expected that Computacenter, as a large organisation, would feel somewhat impersonal. The preconceived expectation was far from the truth.
Our team members Vicky and Neil gave us a very warm welcome and encouraged us to take part in icebreakers to get to know each other. We have, of course, discussed our background when talking to and networking with other members of the organisation, but this gave us the opportunity to discuss hobbies, interests and our families which has made it easy to quickly build relationships.
Meeting other graduates
On our second day, we met some of the project managers who had recently completed grad schemes at Computacenter. It was great to hear their thoughts about starting out at the company and how they had found the process.
Working with different areas of the organisation
As a large organisation, we had the expectation that there would be a rigid hierarchy at Computacenter which would determine who we could and couldn’t talk to and who we could and couldn’t work with. This absolutely wasn’t the case.
Since joining, we have had the amazing opportunity to meet lots of people from different areas of the company and with different levels of seniority. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet Martin Provost, Head of Consultancy, who was easy to talk and relate to.
Everyone has been really excited to have us onboard. It’s made us feel inspired about the future and is so nice to know that we have a voice in the company.
This was especially apparent when we found out about Fresh Minds – an internal initiative which allows fresh talent to connect, network and have their opinions heard.
Another facet of the company that really stood out for us in the first two weeks was the overwhelmingly large warehouse in the Hatfield Ops building, that we only actually saw a very small part of. As we had no expectation, and little knowledge of the inner workings of the company as a whole, we were unsurprisingly blown away by the sheer scale of their physical technology production system.
The second we arrived into the warehouse we were inundated with rows and shelves full of a wide variance of technology all being prepared for prospective customers. It’s safe to say we could easily have wandered around the maze that were those laptops and servers for hours without finding an end or discovering everything there was to discover.
Strangely, this sense of awe and scale was shared when a week later we were exposed to the Cyber Defence Center. Despite being much smaller physically than the warehouse the CDC was truly impressive regarding the technology and systems they use to monitor the company as a whole. We were deeply impressed by the tools utilised by the defence centre.
We were so impressed with how lovely everyone has been when giving us these tours and inside looks into the company, it has truly made our first two weeks that much greater.
We would like to end this blog by saying a big thank you to Neil Walters and Vicky Mellor for the past two weeks, specifically for being so warm and accommodating, and for facilitating fantastic opportunities for us.
We are very much looking forward to developing our careers at Computacenter!
Interested in one of our award-winning grad schemes?
Tim Murphy, one of our Sales Associates of the 2012 programme, takes a look back over 2013
Its been a while since the Computacenter Sales Associates posted on here, so there is much to catch up on…
The first important thing of note is that we have now been joined by the bigger and better than ever Associate Programme encompassing Sales, Line of Business and Services Associates. We would like to wish them the best of luck over the next 18 months we are sure you are going to love it!
“A fantastic understanding of the work that goes on ‘behind the scenes'”
So what has happened in the last year? Well there’s too much to cover for one blog so we have picked some highlights. In the first six months, we spent time with the Inside Sales, Partner Management, Bids, Marketing and Propositions teams. These rotations provided us with a fantastic understanding of the work that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ to make for a smooth and successful operation. We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took the time out to help with our development and teach us what we needed to know for the future.
The second half of 2013 had more of a technical and sales focus where time was spent within the various lines of business; Workplace, Software, Datacenter, Networking and Physical Infrastructure. Plus at the end of the year, we spent time with the Projects team. A great deal of time was spent within these teams where we experienced the technical landscape in which we’ll be working in the future.
Some concepts certainly seemed daunting at first but working with our specialists to break down their knowledge of technology and help us get to grips with it has benefited us hugely. On behalf of the Sales Associates, thank you to the teams involved for their time and effort.
The second quarter of 2013 was certainly an interesting period! As the rest of the business was very busy in closing the year, we were also in a very important period of our development. As part of our sales training we had to deliver presentations to some very senior audience members.
The first of these was a 30 minute session with Mike Norris (CEO, Computacenter). In this Mike played the role of a fictitious company CIO who was experiencing budgetary pressures and had difficulty in procuring software.
“We all came out of the experience feeling positive about our progression”
Our goal was to show Mike that we had learnt from the sales training process we had been though, and that we understood how to position Computacenter as a partner to help him achieve his goals. The feedback we received was invaluable – certainly a good audience to pick up from feedback from! We all came out of the experience feeling positive about our progression since starting the associate programme, but recognising we still have a long way to go to be performing at this level successfully in the future.
The second part of this process was a more in-depth, group-based project on qualifying the challenges of multiple stakeholders within the same fictitious business (played by Computacenter people) and providing a solution. The final presentation was to John Beard (Sector Director, Financial Services and Retail) and Pierre Hall (Line of Business Director, Workplace and Mobile).
The subject matter of this solution was more complex in detail. It exposed us to how Computacenter identifies challenges, provides solutions and articulates the business benefits succinctly. It was certainly a difficult process but working together with the Lines of Business Associates we all managed to come through it having learnt a great deal and put some new techniques into action.
In order to get this solution built and be able to understand and articulate the benefits we had to draw upon the experience of a wide range of people – all of whom we thank for their help.
“An experience that really put the last year into perspective for us”
A final activity in which we have been able to get involved was the recruitment process for the Associate Programme 2014.
This was an experience that really put the last year into perspective for us since it was only a year ago that we were going through the same rigorous assessment process ourselves. Being sat on the other side of the table this time, helping out candidates where possible was certainly rewarding. Working alongside the senior members of sector sales, lines of business and services for the respective process gave us the opportunity to reflect on the last year and the knowledge we have been able to build up through working on such an involved and structured programme.
Now working as buddies to the new associates we will be able to pass on our learning from rotations and help to continue with their growth in the same way that everybody around Computacenter has helped us.
To summarise, the last year for us has been a steep learning curve – working with a wide variety of people within Computacenter and being exposed to many areas of the business. We have six months left on the programme now working with the Contractual Services team and then moving into Internal Account Management.
We know we have a long way to go over the next six months in terms of learning and development but we’re feeling optimistic that by the end we will have achieved our goal of successfully completing the programme, and moving into Account Management. We hope you found this update informative. We will soon be handing over responsibilities for this blog over to the members of the Associate Programme 2014 to give you a view of their journey through Computacenter.
All the best
Welcome to the Sales Associate Blog, written by Aaron Norris, Ian Revell, Tim Murphy, Anjalee Vyas and Richard Beeching – A.K.A the Sales Associates of 2012.
This is the first of our regular blogs, being written to provide some insight into our lives as associates, the selection process and the programme. Hopefully this will be interesting and useful for anyone looking to join Computacenter as a Sales Associate (SA). If you’re looking to get into Sales and have an interest in helping some of the UK’s top businesses achieve their goals, this is probably the place for you!
So you’re probably wondering what the Sales Associate Programme is? Aaron explains “This is an 18 month programme designed to produce the future generation of Computacenter’s sales force. The key factor Computacenter look for is potential, and so they aren’t necessarily looking for IT graduates with previous sales experience (if you do, then great!). Each of our current Associates has their own story prior to the programme and a unique background. Whether you have just finished your degree or you want a more challenging (and rewarding) opportunity than your current graduate role, the only thing you must have in common with us is a drive for success!”
So what brought us here? Well we all had a variety of reasons for joining Computacenter, many reflective of our backgrounds, Ian explains “I was looking to work for a company and in a role where I could take my previous sales experience to the next level and Computacenter certainly offered that in terms of professionalism, career development and overall opportunity. The selection process for the SA program really confirmed this for me, coming out of the last assessment day I knew that any company willing to put that much effort in their recruitment policy was definitely somewhere that I wanted to join.”
“The assessment process was lengthy, beginning with a telephone interview, following on to a one on one interview with a client director, and then a tough assessment day “explains Richard . “Not only that but through the process you are exposed to a significant amount of the Senior Sales people as well as the MD and the CEO, and this gives you a flavour of how highly regarded the programme is within the company. We’d all agree that it’s a tough process but definitely worth it.”
“We began the Programme mid-January and initially this felt like a daunting experience for all of us. We arrived at the Hatfield HQ on a cold Monday morning to be whisked away in to our customer suite to start the learning process” Tim recalls. “This process could not have been more organised if it tried, with people from all corners of the business dropping in to help us with the on-boarding process. One of these people was none other than Mike Norris, Group CEO to welcome us and wish us the best for our future! This was a true reflection of the level of commitment the company was willing to dedicate for our success, and has since pushed us forward to do our very best.”
“We’re now in mid-July, 6 months into the programme and it’s flying by”, says Anjalee. “The Programme is split up into rotations, like mini work placements where we work our way all around the company, from marketing, to bids, sales etc…We’ve just begun our fifth rotation and we really value each rotation and love the exposure to the business we’re getting. The Programme is continuously pushing us to exceed even our own expectations and teaching us so much, and it’s these very factors that are keeping us really excited and passionate to succeed! “
We’ll be writing another blog next month to talk about the very inspirational Sales Kick Off and our journeys so far; we hope you’re as eager to read our next blog as we are to write it – see you soon!