What are graduate schemes?
Graduate schemes are work based training programmes that are aimed at recent graduates. They allow you to develop your skills in a variety of work environments. They vary a lot in terms of the types of schemes that are on offer. Graduate schemes vary in length. Some companies offer graduates the chance to gain experience in different departments. This an obviously benefit you a lot, helping your decide what career path you want to follow.
In the UK, the Times’ top 100 graduate employers is a very useful guide to show you the types of schemes and employers who recruit graduates and offer programmes. In 2018, Top graduate schemes included PwC, Civil Service Fast Stream, Aldi, Teach First, Google, Deloitte, NHS, KPMG, Ernst and Young, GSK, BBC, Unilever, Lidl, JP Morgan, Rolls-Royce, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Jaguar Land-Rover. As you can see, the list of companies that take on graduates is endless. They recruit roles in across a wide range of sectors.
How to find the right graduate scheme for you?
You can search specifically for graduate schemes that are in your local area, if you are based in a set area. You can also do some research into local firms that may also take on graduates and offer unique training programmes. Check out websites like Milkround or Prospects. Make sure you attend careers fairs with employers at your university. Start looking into graduate schemes as early as possible. Work out what they look for in graduates. For example, many graduate schemes ask for a degree classification of 2.1 as a minimum. To improve your chances of getting on schemes, you will also find that gaining work experience and internships will also help diversify your skills, showing your capabilities and previous experience.
Looking at what you can expect with the interview process for graduate schemes. They are rigorous processes. You can often expect to have to submit an application form. This will be used to screen your application. It is important that you provide a cv and references at this stage. If you are invited to interview, some places will give you a telephone or Skype interview to screen applicants again. You may then be invited to a graduate assessment day. This process will often involve a face-to-face interview, psychometric tests (numerical and verbal reasoning tests), an in-tray exercise to assess your time management skills and group exercises to see how you work in teams.