Every year there are hundreds of graduate schemes that operate across a wide range of industry sectors. Employers recruit many months in advance, so you need to start looking at the very beginning (September) of your final year.

What is a graduate training scheme?

Graduate schemes can take many different formats, depending on the employer, but usually allow graduates to experience many different aspects of both the role and the organisation through a variety of placements.

Graduate schemes typically last for two years (although they can vary between one year and up to three years). They offer a new graduate the chance to ‘dip their toe in the water’ before committing themselves.

However, graduate schemes are not for the faint hearted. Many organisations invest a lot of time and money into the training and support on offer, and therefore in return, expect a great deal of dedication and focus. Working on the schemes is not easy, requiring long hours and hard work to prove yourself.

When do I need to apply?

The ideal time to start looking for a graduate scheme is at least one year before you graduate. Many graduate schemes start to be advertised between October – November each year, so you need to identify which companies you would like to apply to and get your application in early.

An increasing number of employers have ongoing or open recruitment processes meaning that in principle, they take applications all the year round.  Despite this flexibility, it is still advisable to get your application in early as they are sometimes known to make offers from the start of the application period.

Will I get paid?

Yes! A typical starting salary for a first degree graduate ranges from £15,000 – £40,000.

Do I need to have a relevant degree?

Not all graduate schemes require a relevant degree as many employers are more interested in the skills and attributes you have to offer.

Am I guaranteed a job on completion?

Graduates are generally recruited and trained with the expectation that there will be a permanent role at the end of the scheme. However, some companies do not guarantee this. This is something you should clarify with the employer.