Skip to Content

Guide to Graduate Schemes

8 things you should know about graduate schemes...

Large graduate recruiters often run ‘graduate schemes’ or ‘graduate programmes’ – a route to employment with on the job learning, a good salary and (probably) a household name on your CV.  

But, if you are considering this path here are somethings you should consider:

  1. Which graduate scheme is right for me?  There is no such thing as ‘a graduate scheme’  – they are all different and come in various shapes and sizes! You really need to look at the details to understand what is on offer and choose those that suit you. For example, they can be for different duration's; single location based or with positions that move geographically; they don’t all lead to a permanent job.


  2. When do graduate schemes open?  Many graduate schemes run annual recruitment rounds  – often they recruit in the autumn before you graduate – so you probably need to be applying in September-January of your final year. Watch out though some recruit only in the spring. But not all operate like this, as  some employers run open recruitment . So you need to do your research or you might miss out. Don’t miss the deadlines!


  3. The recruitment process for grad schemes tend to consist of several stages : an initial application via CV (see our CV tips here)  or application form (often on-line); psychometric or other on-line testing; telephone / skype interview; face-to-face interview; 2nd interview or assessment centres can all form part of the process.


  4. There can be literally hundreds of applicants competing for each place on a graduate scheme – so it could take months to work your way through the process. Be patient – but don’t rely on just one application either!


  5. Applying takes time, so choose where you apply carefully. Put in the effort –  prepare, prepare and prepare  some more… understand the employer and why you want to work for them, personalise your application, make yourself stand out and spend time getting your application right.


  6. Not all the graduate schemes are in London!  Here in the South West there are a number of employers running graduate schemes – so if you want to work in the region and do a graduate program there are options open to you. See our FREE Directory of graduate schemes and opportunities in South West England.


  7. When do graduate schemes start?  If you are successful, you will typically start in the September after graduation.


  8. And finally, the big graduate schemes really are not for everyone – nor should they be. About 10% of graduates end up on these schemes, meaning 90% don’t. See our advice on the alternatives here
Which ever path you take good luck!