What is a graduate programme?
A job at a desirable company, where recent graduates can launch their career without the need for previous experience. A graduate programme, (or scheme), usually provides extra training opportunities, support and the chance to build key skills. It’s a head start on a great career, and most last between one to three years, with the chance for permanent employment beyond this.
The inside track on graduate programmes
A graduate programme in financial services helped Jonny get his career off on the right track. Find out how a grad scheme could help you look at the big picture, and what you can expect.
Is a graduate programme right for me?
This could be for you if you’re:
- Ambitious - You're aiming high and want to start your career with a strong footing, building professional networks as you go
- Committed - You're happy to commit to a work placement for at least a year (can be up to three)
- A university graduate - You've just completed or are in your final year of uni and you’re looking for the next challenge
How do I know if I’m eligible?
If you’ve recently graduated, or you’re in the final year of a degree, you could be eligible. Most graduate schemes ask for you to receive a 2:1 or higher, though it’s worth checking this - some graduate schemes, such as the NHS, ask for a 2:2 or higher.
- Ask your careers adviser or the careers advice centre at your university
- Attend a careers fair (these take place at larger universities, as well as in cities across the UK)
- Search websites such as prospects.ac.uk and targetjobs.co.uk
- Check the websites and social media of companies you’re interested in
- Use LinkedIn. For more information see social media for work
Graduate programmes tend to be similar to any other job application. You’ll complete an online application, sometimes writing a cover letter or email, and then if you are successful, attend an interview (this may also be online, via a video call).
However, some programmes use an ‘assessment centre’ or assessment day, where lots of candidates are brought together and complete a series of exercises and tests. These might be things such as presentations, group problem solving and written tasks. These tend to showcase a broader range of skills than a traditional interview.
Most graduate programmes open in late summer or September. There are usually a limited number of spaces which fill up quickly so it’s best to get ahead and start researching the companies you’d like to work for ahead of time. You can do this via careers fairs at university, or through your own research.