What are Graduate Schemes?
Graduate schemes and graduate training programmes are offered by many large employers. They typically last a year, but some extend to 18 months or even two years. It's the defined time frame and structure that normally distinguishes a graduate scheme or programme from the wider term graduate job.
A single employer can run more than one type of training programme within their organisation, for example some will have a marketing programme, and HR, Operations, Customer Service, and many others.
If you wish to take a quick look at the graduate schemes on offer, click on the Graduate Schemes - Upcoming Deadlines at the top of this page.
The advantages of graduate schemes
Graduate schemes enable new recruits to settle quickly into a professional work environment, receive relevant skills development and get hands on experience, either working in a specific role within an established team, or through working on a number of assignments in different areas of the organisation over the duration of the programme. If an employer has a large graduate intake, it is more than likely that you will have opportunity to network and socialise with your peers.
You may have opportunities to work overseas or at different locations in the UK, or you may be based in one place. If you would prefer not to travel and you like a regular home life make sure you are aware of how much mobility is expected when you consider careers and employers.
Training in career areas such as engineering, accountancy, human resources, law, construction, management and property is often accredited by a relevant professional association. This type of support will assist you in qualifying to practise professionally.
Top 100 Graduate Employers
The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers has been produced annually by High Fliers Research since 1997, celebrating Britain’s most sought-after and successful graduate employers. The latest rankings are based on face-to-face interviews with 17,737 final year students, who graduated from the UK's leading universities during the summer of 2012. Finalists were asked the open-ended question – “Which employer do you think offers the best opportunities for graduates?” View the list now on Milkround.
The websites below advertise graduate level jobs and in most cases graduate schemes as well.
Tips and Advice
Milkround and Career Player both offer students sound tips on making applications to graduate employers. Please click on the links below to learn more about preparing your graduate CV, writing a cover letter, completing applications, and what to expect from an ‘assessment centre’:
Graduate Opportunities Drop-in
If you’re thinking of applying to a graduate scheme and want someone to give their feedback on your application, then why not book a 15 minute drop-in session with our Graduate Opportunities Officer? Appointments are on Fridays during term-time from 2-4 pm at Newton Park Campus. Book your place via CareerHub on the day of your visit.
How and when to apply
Closing dates can be as early as October (particularly advertising agencies) with the selection process beginning early in the new year, although some companies do recruit all year round. It is essential to apply early and not leave it until Spring; the application and selection process is a lengthy one, taking up to 6 months in some cases. Procedures vary but as a guide you could expect the following (not necessarily in order):
- Submit application/CV etc
- Telephone interview
- Invitation to sit a test - verbal/numeracy/psychometric (many applicants are screened out at this stage - it's important to practice so you know what to expect)
- Assessment Centre: A day or two-day assessment for all candidates that can include giving a presentation, in-tray exercises, business games; psychometric test and more
- Individual interviews
Tip: Companies are looking for candidates who have a real and genuine passion to work for their company so you will need to demonstrate this in your application. They also stress that application forms must be fully completed with use of proper language (no slang) and with perfect spelling.
Company websites provide information about graduate schemes, other graduate roles etc and include details of their application and selection processes from September onwards, and most companies now recruit on-line. Some require an initial contact by telephone which can take the form of a mini interview.
Graduate Recruitment Fairs
These events are an excellent way of promoting yourself and making contact directly with potential employers. Dress casual-smart, have multiple copies of your CV and take the opportunity to make an impression.
Most universities host their own careers fairs where all students are welcome. National fairs are also held, usually in London and Manchester, and more specialist events are held annually in various locations, eg public relations, media, social care sectors. Students/graduates from all universities can usually attend summer graduate fairs , but you should check this in advance.
For details of recruitment fairs look at our section on Careers Fairs.
- View the latest jobs and opportunities
right now at CareerHub, where everying you see is relevant and personalised.
Advice on how to write a successful CV as well as downloadable examples...
- Graduate Recruitment Schemes
Where to go to find about about graduate recruitment...
- Getting a Teaching Job
Information and resources for getting a teaching job...