How we’re supporting our members’ careers through COVID-19 - read our update.
Hide message

What is A Graduate Scheme

There is a wealth of opportunities available to you after university, so it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.  A graduate scheme is just one of the avenues you could go down, but what exactly is a grad scheme? Here we’ll explain everything you need to know, and why it’s an option you could be considering. 

What is a graduate scheme?

A graduate scheme is a job that is open to you if you have a degree from a higher education institution. Generally, a scheme will include a mix of training and hands on experience over the course of 1-3 years, to develop you into a future leader of the business.

Graduate schemes are available across a range of sectors and depending on the size of the company you apply to, as part of a graduate scheme you’re likely to be part of a larger graduate cohort who will have joined the company at a similar time to you. Smaller schemes may only take on 1-2 grads, but some of the largest schemes take on over 500 graduates a year across the country!

Why would you want one? 

There are multiple benefits to joining a graduate scheme, including the unique opportunity to build skills and experience quickly as you are given real responsibility. Many schemes will rotate you around projects or different areas of the business to give you a wide range of experience, and this is great to find out what interests you and where you’d like to develop your career. 

All graduate schemes will have a tailored training programme for you to undertake whilst you’re on them. This will include job specific training to make sure that your excelling at your day to day role, but you’re also likely to gain training in management and leadership to prepare you as you progress through the company. Within some sectors you’ll receive professional qualifications as part of your training, and these will ultimately make you more effective at your role, and more valuable as your career develops. 

Graduate schemes will also give you increased exposure to senior stakeholders within the business, and quite often you’ll be assigned a senior mentor when you join a graduate scheme. This can be an invaluable experience to develop your career, as well as picking up tips and advice when you come across challenges in your day to day work.

The financial aspect can often be very attractive to students, with the average graduate starting salary sitting at about £30,000, though there’s much more to consider than just the pay. The biggest benefit is that your career progression is going to be much more rapid than someone who isn't on a graduate scheme. After having the chance to broaden and develop your skillset across a number of different business areas, all whilst being exposed to key senior stakeholders, you'll be perfectly equipped with the knowledge and understanding of the business to quickly rise up the ranks. This progression will lead to greater responsibility within the business, and the ability to take your career where you want it to go. 

How to get started

Graduate schemes differ massively between sectors and companies, but the opportunity to develop your career means they’re something you should be considering as you enter the final year of your degree. When looking for graduate schemes it’s important you’re thinking about the kind of sector you want to go into, the sort of company you want to work for, and the benefits of the scheme you’re looking for. 

You can start your hunt for graduate schemes on the Bright Network site, alternatively if you’re not sure where to start, you can find more out on our ‘no idea what to do’ hub.