What is a graduate programme?

With the university year coming to an end, inevitably your thoughts will turn to ‘What the heck am I going to do now?’

As you start looking for jobs, you will see the variety of what is out there. Graduate jobs, graduate programmes, internships, what are they are what do I need to do to secure one? In this blog, we will explain what a graduate programme is, as well as the benefits of getting on one, as well as steps you can take now to ensure that you are selected in the future.

What is a graduate programme?

What is the difference of a graduate programme and a graduate job? Is there any difference at all? Or are they the same thing? If you find yourself wondering these questions, you are not alone. Looking for your first job after university can be confusing, there are grad jobs, programmes, internships and everything else in between. Knowing what to apply for and what each one entails requires a bit of research.

What exactly is it?

A graduate programme differs from a graduate job. The main difference is that the programme is usually a structured scheme over the course of two years. The schemes are highly structured and typically involve training and development in various departments within the business. At the end of a graduate scheme, some companies award a professional or postgraduate qualification or certificate.

The programmes are used as a way to build a ‘pipeline’ of talent. This pipeline is usually filled with people who aspire to leadership positions, therefore reducing the recruitment costs for the company by ensuring a stream of ready-made candidates.

Many different types of companies use graduate programmes, everything from retail, to banking, technology companies to manufacturing.

What are the benefits of doing a graduate programme?

1. The chance to get rotated around various departments
2. Lots of experience in different areas
3. Typically awarded an additional qualification after completion
4. Chance to access training and development opportunities
5. High level of support is usually provided

Sounds good, how do I get on one?

These benefits probably explain why graduate programmes are so competitive. Companies will usually have lots of applications for just a few spaces on the scheme.

Employers typically have a thorough recruitment process which involves a mix of interviews, assessment centres and online testing. This ensures that the highest calibre of candidates make it through the process.

What can I do now to help me get on one in the future?

If you are still in university now and think you would be interested in applying for a graduate programme after you complete your degree, it is best to start thinking about the steps you need to take now in order to ensure you are the chosen one!

1. Try and secure a placement: if your degree offers the chance to do an industrial placement, grab this opportunity with both hands! This is a great way to get vital experience and start learning real-world skills that will help you stand out from those who didn’t take up the chance of a placement.

2. Internships: if you can’t secure a placement or your course doesn’t offer the chance to do it, start looking at internships. Internships are usually shorter than a placement, which lasts for one year. They can take place over summer so as not to interfere with studies, and just like placements, are a great way to start boosting your employability and your CV.

3. Voluntary experience: if you don’t succeed in securing either of the first two options, voluntary experience in a relevant company within the industry could be another option. This may only be for a day or it could be for a week, but it is still experience that you can put on your CV and talk about in an interview.

Where can I find graduate programmes?

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