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Graduate Training Schemes

What is a Graduate Training Scheme?

Graduate schemes are formal schemes normally run by large employers and are designed to provide structured training and support to enable graduates to enter the company at a relatively senior level. The majority of schemes are open to graduates from any discipline.

Although schemes vary between employers they typically involve a period of structured training lasting between 12-36 months. Often schemes involve a rotation between departments or locations of a company enabling graduates to develop a rounded view of the business. In some cases this rotation is used as part of a decision making process whereby the company identify where each graduate might fit best within the organization - in other schemes graduates will be expected to be much clearer about their career plans at the point of entering a company.

Although it would be anticipated that completion of a graduate scheme would lead to full time employment with the organization, it is not always the case, and graduates often have to go through an interview process at the end of a scheme.

What opportunities are available?

Opportunities are available in a range of different kinds of company. The majority of opportunities focus on business and management processes and are designed to train graduates for senior level careers. The kinds of opportunity you may find are:

  • Schemes run by large corporations, these typically focus on corporate functions such as Finance, Marketing, Sales, IT and Business Management.
  • Schemes run by the public sector, including the civil service fast track scheme, the NHS and local government.
  • Smaller companies and the not-for-profit sector may run graduate schemes, although these are less common.

Application Process

Typically graduate training schemes recruit graduates in the Autumn term of their final year. Closing dates may be as early as November for entry to a scheme the following year. It is increasingly common for graduate training schemes to recruit recent graduates as well as current undergraduates, with most schemes being open to graduates within 2-5 years after graduation (and some even longer).

Entry to graduate schemes can be highly competitive, with hundreds of applicants for a handful of positions. As a result the recruitment process is often intense and lengthy, requiring several rounds. Typically the rounds will involve an application form, a maths and English test or psychometric testing, a group selection day and several interviews. Because of competition, many schemes stipulate a minimum entry requirement of a 2:1 honours degree, and often also seek evidence of relevant work experience.

To increase your chances of success it is recommended that you:

Finding vacancies

Details of companies who offer graduate training schemes can be found on the Prospects website.

Vacancies may also be found on our online jobs database. We also advertise particularly relevant vacancies on our facebook page and Twitter feed.

If there is a company you are particularly interested in working for then it is also worthwhile checking their website and keeping an eye on their recruitment pages.

TargetJobs have a list of graduate training opportunities along with details of when and how to apply , find out more at TargetJobs.

Further information and support

Additional information about finding work is given in our 'Job-searching' advice sheet.

We have advisers who can speak to you to help you :

  • Identify appropriate schemes
  • Prepare CVs, application forms and practice for interviews

Our services are free and confidential and are available to graduates up to two years after graduation.