A group of people sat around a table with notepads and laptops.

June 22, 2021, by indybamra1

Graduate Schemes With a Difference

By Lucie Whitfield – Senior Careers Adviser

When looking for roles, students are often drawn to the graduate scheme route or summer internships. Usually, these offer a chance at ‘taster’ placements in different parts of the organisation alongside some support with a group of colleagues who are entering the workplace at the same time. Are you aware that some organisations have schemes available to support students with particular characteristics and needs?

Inequality in the workplace has been discussed over a number of years, whether it’s the gender pay gap, opportunities available to disabled graduates, or workplace support and progression for graduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds. So now organisations are using targeted schemes to focus on addressing these inequalities and providing support to students and graduates in the workplace.

Who can access these schemes?

As I mentioned, there are a lot of different schemes out there. As of yet, there’s not a one-stop shop to access these. However, if you have one or more of the following characteristics then you might find support available if:

– You’re the first in the family to access higher education or are from a low socio-economic background
– You class yourself as LGBTQ+
– You’re from an underrepresented ethnic background within a particular field or sector
– You have a disability or mental health condition.

If you’re not sure if there’s a scheme to suit your requirements then a good place to start is by checking our sources of vacancies webpage and go to the ‘programmes to increase diversity in the workplace’ section. Or you can contact us to speak to a careers adviser.

What schemes are available?

The number and types of schemes available are growing. Some offer internships, others offer graduate schemes with support systems through the first few years in an organisation. Some of these are long-established programmes whereas others are new initiatives or projects that are short-term. A few examples are below:

Civil Service Fast Stream: Summer Diversity Internship Programme  

– EmployAbility (for disabled students and graduates) 

SEO London internships and graduate roles 

– Change 100 (internships and graduate roles). 

How can I access support from the Careers and Employability Service?

As a Careers and Employability Service, we can offer impartial one-to-one guidance for applying and sourcing a wide range of opportunities. Come and speak confidentially to an adviser to discuss your needs by booking a careers appointment.

Additionally, we have a specific set of events including a Belonging in the Workplace series (check out MyCareer to keep updated on the next available presentation). Employers will deliver presentations on various schemes and support, that they offer for people from all backgrounds. Some of our internships through the Nottingham Internship Scheme are targeted at particular cohorts of students as well.

Below is a quote from an alumni who gained an internship in 2020 on Change 100:

‘The internship went really well and I’ve stayed on with the company since which has included a pay rise. I had mixed feelings about using any schemes for in-need groups as I didn’t want to be given an unfair advantage but, what I’ve learned is that if you qualify for a scheme it will help you and your workplace.

Having a company that understands my weaknesses and helps develop my strengths is making me a much more well-rounded and self-actualised person and has led to enormous personal, financial and intellectual growth. Moving forward I have every confidence that I can achieve great things in my life, beyond what I thought was possible when I was a student.

Thanks so much to the Careers and Employability Service for suggesting this scheme to me and taking the time to care. It’s changed my life over the last year.’

It’s worth taking a look at your rights at work webpage and if you’d like to talk about any career-related concerns that you have, please book a careers appointment with one of our careers advisers.

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceDisabilityGraduating in 2021Interviews