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19 October 2020
Graduate schemes are a great way to secure a job for when you leave ARU. Here's our guide to finding, and applying for, the right scheme.
The nights are drawing in and the glorious sunny weekends feel like a distant memory already – Autumn has well and truly arrived. As well as the start of the new academic year, Autumn also marks the start of the new graduate recruitment season, with many employers already advertising their graduate schemes starting from summer 2021 onwards. In fact, at the time of writing, we are currently advertising 465 graduate schemes on our Jobs Board!
A graduate scheme is a paid, structured training programme offered by an employer to allow graduates to develop within their organisation. They usually last two to three years and involve work experience, training and a mentor or buddy. It is a great first step into the workplace after university and an amazing feeling to know you have a job ready for when you graduate.
After completion of the scheme, it is quite common for graduates to be offered a permanent role, particularly given that the employer has invested in your training and development. However, this isn't the case with all employers, so make sure you check the programme details before you apply.
Starting salaries for graduate schemes can often be high and alongside increased earning potential, some schemes offer other perks including private medical insurance, generous holiday allowances and company cars. Given all of these benefits, graduate schemes are a popular career route to take after university.
Graduate schemes can be as varied as the organisations that offer them so you should do as much research as you can before you apply. Some schemes are longer than others, some may offer the chance to gain professional qualifications, or the chance to work on rotation, which means you will complete placements across a range of different departments within the company. The sound of this might be really appealing if you know that you want to be involved in a particular industry, but don’t know what specific role you would like to do in the long-term.
Several of our Be Your Best workshops this trimester focus on graduate schemes and they will help you to weigh up your options. If you're a student at ARU, you can book your place here.
It is important to note that some graduate schemes have very early deadlines, particularly those that are very competitive. To give you an example, the Civil Service Fast Stream, the Civil Service’s flagship leadership development programme, opened for applications on 24 September and closes again on 22 October. After recently being named as the Graduate Employer of the Year in The Times Top 100 for the second year running, a choice of 15 different schemes on offer open to graduates from any degree discipline and competitive starting salaries, it is no surprise that the scheme is hugely popular. Their short application window means you have to act fast!
Many other graduate schemes will close before the end of December, so to be in with a chance of seizing these opportunities you need to be prepared. The sooner you start researching graduate schemes the better, but before you settle down to apply, let me tell you how we are here to help.
We have recently launched our own guide to graduate schemes, which includes a search directory. Many leading UK employers across all industries run graduate schemes and you can start researching these here.
Graduate schemes are highly competitive, and the application process often includes multiple stages. This can feel overwhelming but don’t panic – we’ve got you covered. Here is our comprehensive list of resources to help you search, apply and succeed.
There is no ‘best’ path – whether you decide to aim for a graduate scheme or not, we’re here to help you. If you are unsure or need some support to explore your options come and speak to us – we are available to ARU students through live chat every day, or you can book an appointment either online or on campus. See details of what’s available.
By Emma Mottram
Employability & Careers Adviser
Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.