Graduate Schemes in Brief
Graduate recruitment schemes can vary significantly from sector to sector and organisation to organisation, but most have a few things in common. At a minimum, you’ll learn project management, people management, communication skills and negotiation tactics. More established schemes at larger employers typically support your work toward professional qualifications as well. Public institutions, financial services organisations, and accountancy firms, for example, tend to support well-developed graduate schemes geared toward helping participants gain the professional standing they need to build successful careers.
From the organisation’s point of view, graduate schemes are safe, efficient ways to audition especially promising talent. Because of this, they tend to treat participants rather well. You can expect to be assigned a mentor, typically a director or senior manager, to help guide your term as a trainee. Make the most of this relationship: your mentor is there to help ensure that your experience in the scheme helps you build the skills you’ll need to develop your career. Organisations with long-standing graduate recruitment schemes often complement this official mentorship with a ‘work buddy’, typically a younger employee who stayed on with the company after completing the graduate scheme themselves.
Toward the end of the scheme’s term, participants and mentors meet with other managers and executives to negotiate next steps. When participants stay on, they typically do so in junior management roles.