An update from the 2017 graduates

I’m James Gale, and I’m bringing you the final edition of the Project Management Graduate Blog from the 2017 intake.

Hello All,

I’m James Gale, and I’m bringing you the final edition of the Project Management Graduate Blog from the 2017 intake. I’ll pause quickly to allow you to shed a tear… Thank you to my colleagues who have written the editions before me, providing you all with updates regarding our progression through the programme.

The last 7 and a half months have flown by, and we are really starting to feel settled into our projects and working life at Computacenter. In this final edition, I thought it would be a good idea to update you on where everyone is currently working, and how the graduate rotations have helped them so far in their new projects.

Firstly though, please allow me a little self-indulgent waffle! I’m from a town called Lechlade, kind of between Swindon and Oxford, and graduated in July 2017 from the University of Reading with a First Class Honours in Business and Management. My early experiences of work, as a waiter and later as a tennis coach, developed my soft skills and showed me how much I enjoy working with all sorts of customers in different types of teams. These experiences, coupled with an interest in technology developed through a 13 month placement at IBM, is why I thought life as a project manager at Computacenter would suit me.

So far, so good! Since joining Computacenter I have been overwhelmed with the time given to us graduates. Gaining exposure to most areas of Computacenter has accelerated our development and allowed us to build a network that is proving invaluable to our project work.

I’m currently working with Mark Goddard (UK Data Protection Officer) on an internal GDPR implementation project. It’s a fantastic first project to be a part of, helping to shape something very important to Computacenter’s future legal compliance (this is where I insert a subtle plug to do your online training). The knowledge gained through my rotations of project management practices has allowed me to own certain work streams already. Understanding the different departments at Computacenter has enabled me to positively contribute to discussions in my project about how different areas of CC handle personal data. My highlight of the programme so far was travelling to Germany to work on development of an online tool for the GDPR project. Working across the Group has shown me the international scale of Computacenter which has been challenging and rewarding.

Now, back to the group of 2017. We are all fully engaged with our projects, which is allowing us to truly appreciate the benefits from our rotations. Here’s a short update from each of the 2017 Projects Graduates…

Alex Young:

  • My first project is on the Post Office account in the POL Deployment Team. It’s a very dynamic, reactive role which involves a lot of liaison between scheduling teams, engineers and technical support.
  • A fictional project assignment in our rotations gave us some useful exposure to the pre-sales and governance process. Now that I am on a big deployment project, I can really appreciate the logistical problems and challenges during deployment and how difficult prediction is during the Pre-Sales process.
  • My highlight of the programme so far was getting our hands dirty with TRG. I will fondly remember my time dismantling and reassembling laptops (probably doing more damage than good)!

Laura Springall:

  • I am currently on the Managed Print project for The Authority. It’s interesting to see how lots of projects fit together to empower the customer’s work force and remain secure.
  • Currently I am managing risk, change and tracking finances. The rotations helped me understand how these activities I perform fit into the wider picture at CC, i.e. how the finances I track will input into the E-WIP database and be used to forecast Projects Practices’ contribution to the company.
  • There were many highlights during the 6 months of rotations, however the ultimate highlight was the International Project Management rotation in Barcelona. It was my first time in Barcelona and what a great city! Over a few days we learnt the importance of thinking and acting globally to grow and protect our business.

Tom Darwin:

  • I am currently working within GMS on various Automation Projects with the aim of driving Service improvements. It’s really interesting to see how we are driving service improvements, creating value for our customers and ourselves.
  • The wide exposure to different business units through the rotations has allowed me to understand their key business drivers. Understanding how automation benefits these different units really helps with progressing and overcoming issues that arise.
  • The highlight of the rotations for me was travelling around the country and across seas to really understand what Computacenter do for our customers and what sets us apart from competitors.  Now putting what I learnt into practice is a huge benefit of the programme to aid my development.

Isobel Ferris:

  • I’ve been working on the Hays PPO for just over a month now. In this time I’ve grown my project portfolio from just 1 project to 11! I’ve had to quickly become familiar with a PPO structure and processes, along with gaining more knowledge about the different technologies we support.
  • From our rotations the most useful knowledge for me has been the different ways the departments within Computacenter are structured. Understanding the priorities, workloads and processes of different teams has helped my interaction with them.
  • My highlight was the Service Management rotation, where I went to Edinburgh for 3 weeks to shadow Brian Rutherford on Standard Life and Scottish Power. It really opened my eyes to the services Computacenter provide – which considering the enormity of this side of our company, I had little knowledge of before I went.

Tom Weston:

  • I’m currently working with Hannah Andrews and Angela Smith on Project Charon. It’s an internal project implementing CyberArk technology as the link between Customer environments and our own. It’s stretching me technically and I get to work across a range of customers and ISPs. Throwing in some German occasionally is a bonus!
  • The rotations enabled me to hit the ground running. With a strong understanding of how Computacenter operates internally and externally, I feel like I always know where to go whenever there’s something the project needs, which has proved invaluable.
  • The highlight of the programme has been my time spent on Customer sites: whether it be Eversheds or Schroders, Tesco or TFL or even Sky or Heathrow, interacting with a range of customers has been a humbling experience as I begin to understand just what it is that Computacenter can deliver.

Arolape Adebowale:

  • My first project is at the Home Office. I am currently in a Data Manager role, so I handle data for over 60,000+ devices, which can be overwhelming sometimes but I have become a pro with excel and I find it fascinating that I know where each device is located.
  • I really enjoyed the rotations, apart from increasing my network, I have come to appreciate how each department contributes to the success of delivery of a project.
  • My highlight of the programme so far was spending time with the International Projects Team in Barcelona. It was interesting to see the presence we have globally and the world wide opportunities that there are.

Nick Brew:

  • During rotations as part of the Projects Graduate scheme, I was fortunate enough to get an insight into the operational side of the business, including our service offerings and what really sets CC apart from competitors.
  • As a result of this time spent in a multitude of areas within the business, it also enabled me to build a network, whom have already demonstrated their willingness to provide guidance and support during my move to the Sales Associate scheme at the beginning of this year.

The next blog post will come from the 2018 Project Management Graduates in August. Most of us have met some of the prospective candidates over the last couple of weeks. I’m sure they will be a great intake to bring more fresh ideas to Computacenter (although I’m also sure their blogs won’t be quite as good). Thanks to everyone we’ve met along our journeys so far for all of your help and support. And thank you for reading this slightly extended blog post. Now it’s time for us to create value for our projects and Computacenter as a whole. See you all around!

2017 Projects Practice Graduates


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James Gale

Project Co-ordinator