January 5, 2016, by Laura Estrop

What Is a Graduate Scheme? Part Two: Myths Busted

By Suzanne McGregor, Careers and Employability Consultant 

Over the past couple of weeks we have received some questions about graduate schemes. We decided to put a selection of your questions to Suzanne to answer!  

  1. I can only apply in my final year

You can apply for a graduate scheme at any point during your final year and beyond as long as, if they have a deadline, you meet it for that year. I once had an ex-student who graduated and went into a specific career, decided it wasn’t for her and then applied for a graduate scheme. You can use your experience from one role to make you a more confident applicant; it’s that added extra element that can really help.

  1. Do I need an upper-second-class degree or a specific degree?

The good thing is that many schemes don’t require a specific degree and are generally open to any degree you may have. In terms of a 2:1, there is no denying that this is often used as a filter in the recruitment process. However, there are some organisations who will accept a 2:2 such as the Civil Service, Jaguar Landrover and Network Rail. In the long term, performance in the workplace tends to supersede classification of degree, and grad schemes are only one way of entering the world of work.

  1. I need to have had an internship or some form of work experience before I can apply

When applying, anything can count towards the answers you provide during the application process, as long as you have carefully related it to the question and demonstrated its relevance. You can reference any work you did with a society, hobbies you have, what you gained from travelling, volunteering etc. Pick out the relevant skills you used. The more varied, interesting and well-crafted answers will help you stand out from the crowd.

  1. All the good graduate schemes are in London

This very much depends on the type of graduate schemes you are looking at and applying to. For some companies, such as Slaughter and May and Lloyds who are solely based in London, it is likely that they will only offer roles in London. However, the majority of schemes you can apply to actually recruit to UK wide locations, some examples include, Aldi, BT and the Royal Bank of Scotland, to name just a few. If you would like to see where companies are recruiting to, pick up one of the free Times Top 100 Graduate Employers books from outside our office.

  1. Is there a guaranteed job at the end of the scheme?

The majority of entrants selected onto graduate schemes are done so with the expectation that they will remain within the organisation. This is why so much effort is put into the recruitment process. Progression is always subject to satisfactory performance and also successful performance in any related professional exams. However, there are often no guarantees. Equally, you are also not obliged to stay with the company if you decide that it is not the right environment or role for you.

Got a question about graduate schemes that we haven’t answered here? Leave us your questions in the comments below! Remember if you would like one-to-one advice about a specific graduate scheme book an appointment with a careers adviser. 

Featured image: – Q&A

Posted in Careers Advice