So, you’ve got about 2 months left until you graduate and you’re wondering what to do after university? Graduate schemes are a good option for many graduates, and are offered by lots of large employers. Lucky for you I’m going to give you an idea of what grad schemes are and how great they can be!


What are they?

These schemes normally last between a year to two years, and the time period it takes differentiates grad schemes/programmes from graduate jobs (entry level roles).

Employers can run more than one type of schemes within one company, with each programme specialising in a different sector of the business. For example, an Accounting service can train graduates in areas such as tax, audit, advisory, or assurance.


How do I find one?

Companies will advertise their graduate schemes on various websites, and on sector focused boards. Relevant websites can be found in university careers departments. Also, companies who are advertising grad schemes will be active on campus during your final year, participating in recruitment fairs etc.

Why should I choose a graduate scheme?

These schemes give you a way of getting directly into professional work, and give you some of the necessary skills which will increase your employability. You will also have an opportunity to network with people in the industry you want to work in, in the form of both your seniors and peers – watch your LinkedIn grow!

You may also have the opportunity to work abroad and/or in various locations, but if this isn’t what you want then there are opportunities to stay in one place.

An obvious advantage of these schemes is the fact that you get paid while you’re in training, giving you a great way to start your career. These salaries also tend to be in the higher end of graduate salaries, with the median starting salary in the UK being £30,000 in 2016. Obviously, these salaries change for each industry and in different locations in the country. In London the average graduate salary in the Education sector was £21,785 while the average for Human Resources was £38,251 – so keep this in mind before you let the potential salaries change your opinion.


So how do I get onto one?

The first (and maybe most important) tip for getting onto a graduate scheme is to apply early! Most of the schemes have deadlines between November and December, so getting your application in during the first term of your last year is crucial. This point still stands for open recruitment processes – which mean that the company take applications all year round – as applications are made from the beginning, and offers will stop as soon as the positions are filled.

Remember that grad schemes are really competitive, so while some employers will take on lots of graduates, your application needs to be the best it can be. This means that your CV also needs to be perfect, and you can check out this guide on *how to write a good CV*.


I hope that this little guide to graduate schemes has helped you to decide if they are right for you. Remember that they are not the only option, so if you don’t get onto one or decide not to apply for one, there are tons of other things that you can do! For further help including interview tips and how to write a CV, you can check out the rest of our blog.