Case study: helping bring out the best in learners at IBM

by Nov 9, 2021Case studies

All the recent change to the way we work makes it more challenging for new recruits and interns to reach their potential. Here I share how IBM improved their intern programme to help bring out the best in learners and make them as ‘self-sufficient’ as possible, while keeping management time close to where it was before the improvements were made.

Against the backdrop of a well-documented skills gap in the tech industry, coupled with the changing nature of the tech skills required, this global leader relies on its intern programme to address a fundamental strategic need and create a skilled future workforce.

3,500 interns have been trained since 2008 and IBM committed to extend the training programme to 120 new interns annually for the next 5 years.

Programme Managers Joel Thomas (MCMI ChMC) and Anna Withrington say that key to the programme’s success was immersing learners by working with them as key influencers who take action to enrich the learning experience.

How were learners “immersed”?

  1. Agile Recruitment – resulting in faster screening and invitation to assessment centre
  2. Assessment Designed by Early Professionals – to help see how potential new early professionals work together
  3. Building a Psychologically Safe Environment – listening to learners ‘Hopes & Fears’; another way to switch the flow of information from managers to learners
  4. Continuous Evaluation – rather than more concentrated assessment at year end
  5. Deliver More Content when Learners are More Settled
  6. Learner-Led Events with managers ‘sponsoring’ – to ensure content is learner-focused

How do you enable learners to have more influence in the training programmes at your organisation?

Find out more about IBM’s intern programme here.


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