What is a Graduate Scheme?

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 - 09:00

Similar to an apprenticeship but tailored for recent graduates, a graduate scheme combines working for an employer with training and gaining professional skills. They are mainly offered by large companies who are willing to mould graduate candidates into their perfect employees, and are common in sectors like finance, retail, and manufacturing.

The length of a graduate scheme varies significantly, ranging from one to five or more years. This can seem like a very long time, however these schemes are tailor-made by employers to ensure that graduates get all the experience and skills they need to be a valuable employee. At the end of the graduate scheme you should have all the experience and skills you need to succeed and begin a successful career.

What does the application process look like?

First off, you need to do your research and decide what sort of scheme and company you would like to join. There are many graduate schemes available but not all of them will be a perfect fit for you. Look at focusing on a few schemes and getting those applications just right – recruiters are not impressed by generic applications but want to see why you are the perfect fit for this specific scheme.

Once you have narrowed down your options make sure you apply in good time. The general rule is that graduate schemes are open for applications between October and February, however this can differ from company to company and  they can close their applications at any time if they have received a huge number of responses.

The majority of graduate schemes will begin the following September.

How can I boost my application?

Although many employers want to see a 2:1 or higher, they tend to be flexible about the subject studied.

 The most important thing is work experience; this is golden! Your part-time retail or bar job can easily be used to demonstrate your professionalism and skills such as organisation, team work, and customer service.

Furthermore, internships are a great way to get an insight into the sector or role you are hoping to join in the future. Most internships take place during the summer months, so don’t leave it until April or May before you begin applying. Get on the ball early and secure your internship before someone else does!

Many top employers now offer paid internships, and although the competition for these can be fierce they are a unique opportunity to boost your CV and prove to recruiters that you have some knowledge of the industry already.

For more careers advice, as well as hundreds of graduate schemes and internships, visit Milkround!