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Industrial placement


A 12-month industrial placement at IBM is hard to top. First and foremost, it gets you a global leader’s name on your CV. It’s also a year filled with challenges that will stretch your capabilities, give you exposure that will kick start your professional career and along the way you’ll meet truly inspirational people. It’s certainly not easy; we’re successful because we push ourselves hard. After all, we’re a huge business, where complex work is going on everywhere you look (and we’ll encourage you to explore). But, if you’re insatiably curious, passionate about innovation and eager to get into the world of big business, there’s nothing like it.

We’re looking for enthusiastic, driven and innovative individuals. IBM is now 103 years old, and the reason we’ve been around for so long is because we’re constantly reinventing ourselves. And we do this by employing diverse and creative people. People like you.

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If you join our industrial placement under IBM’s leading into Africa programme, you could have the chance (if you perform well during your 12 month assignment) to be concidered for a range of Graduate opportunities in Africa after you complete your final year of studies.

This program currently offers roles in business and technology and is a first class opportunity to expolre other IBM markets. To find out more about our leading into Africa programme follow the link below.

What roles do we offer?

As you’d expect, there’s a variety of placement opportunities for students with a keen eye for technology: in Business, Finance, HR, Marketing, Technology, Software Design and Software Development

Business placements

The best thing – you can make your mark on the business world and focus on the commercial side of IBM.

What you’ll do – anything from analysing our business, creating proposals for potential clients or even doing research into different areas of the market.

Your degree subject – any, but you’ll need to show a keen interest in business and getting to grips with how a large organisation like IBM works.

Location – Most IBM locations in England and Scotland.


Finance placements

The best thing – Our 10,000 strong finance practice can give you heaps of real world experience and help you develop a host of new skills.

What you’ll do – accounting, financial planning, auditing, analysis or virtually any other area of finance.

Your degree subject – any, though it’s obviously ideal if you’re studying a highly numerate degree.

Location – All roles are in England and most roles are based at IBM North Harbour in Portsmouth.


Human Resources placements

The best thing – it’ll offer you a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a vast and complicated business.

What you’ll do – you’ll be involved in creating and supporting initiatives and policies that help us attract the right people, and develop and motivate them once they’re working for us – so, anything from resource management, business development, to recruitment, employee well-being or diversity.

Your degree subject – any.

Location – All roles are in England and most roles are based at IBM North Harbour in Portsmouth.


Technology placements

The best thing – at IBM, trust us, we know technology. We provide companies around the world in every industry with the best technology services available. So this is a chance to learn from the best of the best.

What you’ll do – web design, problem diagnosis, database development, technical project management… there’s loads to get involved in. Whatever role you take, you’re likely to be designing, implementing and maintaining technical solutions for our clients.

Your degree subject – any, but you must have a keen interest in both business and technology, and be aware of current trends.

Location – Most IBM locations in England and Scotland.


Marketing placements

The best thing – if you’re full of ideas and creativity, you’ll learn how to use them to increase revenue, strengthen a huge global brand and hit different business objectives.

What you’ll do – your role could involve advertising, market research, organising events, managing websites, creating newsletters or working with our suppliers on the design, print and production of new promotional materials.

Your degree subject – any.

Location – Most roles are based in IBM locations in the South of England.


Software Development placements

The best thing – where better to start your career in software development? You’ll be at the heart of IBM’s major innovations; software development is the area of our business where our innovative and extraordinary software products, applications and processes take shape.

What you’ll do – you’ll get involved in virtually every stage of either developing new solutions or supporting and improving existing ones.

Your degree subject – any.

Location – Most of our roles are based in IBM Hursley, near Winchester, the largest software lab in Europe.


Software Design placements

The IBM Design Division need talented and motivated designers to join an era of design-led innovation at one of the largest software companies in the world. Designers will conceive and articulate the future of IBM’s entire portfolio of products, ranging from software and hardware to consulting.

What you’ll do – User Experience Designers will craft intuitive interactions and workflows informed by market and user research. User Experience Researchers will specialise in discovering, analysing, and communicating user needs and evaluating user experiences. Visual Designers will use their expertise in designing visual communication, layout, typography, colour, etc. to elicit emotional connections and intuitive, intelligent responses from our audience. Front End Developers will use their expertise in front-end programming, mobile platforms and web markup, to quickly prototype a working model of the assets and ideas generated by Visual Designers, User Experience Designers and Researchers. You could complete a placement in any one of these areas.

Location – Most of our roles are based in IBM Hursley, near Winchester, the largest software lab in Europe.


What we offer


Your benefits

A salary of £15,000 (pro rata) and a sign on bonus of £1,000

25 days holiday (pro rata)

A laptop

Discounts and cash back at more than 1,300 stores including Apple, Tesco and John Lewis through the IBM Rewards Programme

Social activity

Over 500 students join us every year, which means you’ll have a ready-made social life. For instance:

Before you start, you’ll be invited to join our Facebook group where you can chat to current IBM students and graduates. It’ll also help you meet and get to know other new joiners (so you can even sort out who to share a house with).

We have a dedicated social club offering everything from discounted weekends away to theatre and theme park trips.

There are sporting teams to get involved with, loads of student networking functions and a dedicated graduate and student newsletters to keep you up to date.


Support & training


"You can’t put a price on the experience you’ll gain, until you apply for your fist job after uni."

How we support you

For the day-to-day things, you’ll have a Task Manager who’ll help you with new tasks, manage your workload and give you the opportunity to get involved with new projects.

You’ll also have a Professional Development Manager looking after your ongoing development and your future career plans. They will sit down with you to create a development plan which will identify:

This plan will be reviewed at regular intervals with your Professional Development Manager to make sure your on track to meet your development goals.

You’ll also have an IBM Buddy. You can talk to these professionals about absolutely anything: they are there to support you in anyway they can, and it’s good to be able to chat to somebody outside your own team sometimes!

Your training & development

It all starts with a 2-day induction, which will help you understand how IBM works and how we operate. Don’t worry, you’ll be in good company - around 70 other placement students at the same time, and you will take part in valuable team building exercises, so this is a great chance to get to know each other.

After that, it’s all about 2 areas:

There are literally hundreds of courses available and it will be up to you to find the ones that are most appropriate and appealing to you.

"They say success in business is all about having good contacts. Fortunately, I started gaining them from my first day."

What we look for

To begin with you should be interested in taking a year out as part of your degree and to be on target for at least a 2:1 in your honours degree. Whilst you don’t need a specific degree background to apply, you do need to be enthusiastic, with plenty of energy and passion for the areas of our business that you’re applying for. Never fear, if you haven’t studied business or IT, we’re all about the person, not about their background. And if you’re an international student, we’re more than happy to accept your application, providing that you are authorised to work in the UK for the period of your placement.

To sum it up

Whichever career path you choose to follow at IBM, we can offer you incredible, memorable times. You will have a great social network, gain invaluable experience in the field of your choice, learn new skills and develop expert knowledge – at one of the most successful companies in history. You just need to apply.