Everything You Need to Know About Graduate Schemes

July 2020 by


For a lot of people, after finishing university your first question is, what’s next? Now, with graduate schemes you can get ahead of the game by applying during your final year of university and guaranteeing yourself a job when you get out!

A graduate scheme is essentially a training programme run by companies to introduce people into job roles they may want to pursue. They can often be quite competitive but if you’re already set on your dream job, they can be very useful.

The first decision to make is, of course, whether you want to do a graduate scheme. They certainly have their benefits but there might also be reasons as to why it isn’t right for you.


  • You could be on a high wage – fast! Similar job opportunities that ask for the same skills often pay a lot less than graduate schemes. It’s a chance to be on a decent amount of money straight after university.
  • You have the opportunity to work for big names as many companies that offer graduate schemes are well known in a variety of industries. If you’ve got your eye on a large company, you should keep up to date with what they offer!
  • You’ll receive appropriate training for the role you’re joining. This means you can ease into it and get increased support that you wouldn’t get from a regular job.
  • It gives you a chance to be sure about your career choice. By being on a graduate scheme you can get a taste of what the job is like before working in the role officially. Many schemes offer 6-month rotations so you can find what aspect of a role really suits you!


  • They’re competitive. If you want to secure a scheme you will have to apply to a lot of companies to avoid disappointment and even then, there’s a chance you may not pass all of their assessments.
  • Not every company has a scheme. If there’s a specific company you want to work for, there’s no guarantee they will offer one.
  • You might find you’re not ready for a corporate environment. If you’re straight out of education you might find this isn’t the right path for you and you would rather do something else. Really consider what suits you most before committing.
  • There’s a chance it might not lead to a job. There’s no guarantee you’ll land a job after your graduate scheme and if a stable job is what you want then this might not be right for you.

Where to apply

Firstly, you will want to make a note that most graduate schemes open their applications in August for entry into August/September the following year. It’s important to get your applications in as quickly as possible, as you don’t want to miss out on any places!

If you already have your eye on a few companies then you will be off to a good start. But not everyone has an idea of where to find these schemes. Here are a few places you can look to find some suitable for you:

  • If you have a particular company you want to apply for – keep up to date with them, they might offer a graduate scheme! The best way to do this is through social media sites such as LinkedIn as they will be likely to post upcoming opportunities there.
  • The Graduate Recruitment Bureau – they’re the best if you haven’t decided on a specific company. They are a recruitment agency and post the latest graduate jobs and schemes available around the UK and you’re bound to find what you’re looking for on there. Of course, there are other agencies you can check out online too.
  • Besides agencies, there are also several graduate websites you can keep up with. Target Jobs and Milkround are just two of the most popular websites that post opportunities regularly.
  • You can even contact your university careers advisors! They might point you in a few of the same directions as us, but you never know, they might have something new too. Always utilise the people around you!

How to apply

If you’ve read through everything and you’ve decided to do a graduate scheme then – hooray! We’ve put together a list of tips on how to make your application it’s best:

  • Write a list of companies you’re going to apply to. Do your research and find out which companies offer graduate schemes for job roles you’re interested in, the sooner you’re aware of them the better!
  • Then, make a list of all of your appropriate achievements. This will help you narrow down what to put onto your CV. Your CV is one of the most important things when applying as this what they will initially judge you on.
  • Build your CV. Creating the perfect CV can often be difficult and if you’re struggling, it might be helpful to use a service that will set you up for success. At Ivory Research, we offer services that can help you to structure the perfect CV that will be sure to make you stand out. We also offer other writing services such as cover letters and personal statements which you might find you also need in the application process. Whatever you need – we’ve got you covered!

When applying it’s also important to note that the application process can be quite long. This differs from applying for a normal job as it’s a lot more thorough. The process goes as follows:

  • Submit your application – This will be your CV and most likely a cover letter. As mentioned previously, make sure to check out our services for help on this step!
  • Complete a psychometric test – These are online tests that touch on Maths and English to test your skills. You can complete these from home.
  • Have a digital interview – Your initial interview will most likely be over the phone or even on a video call. It’s important to take notes for these calls as you may get a chance to refer to them as you go along.
  • In-person interview – If your phone interview is successful then you’ll most likely move on to have a face to face interview. It’s important to do your research on your employer and the role you’re applying for, this is your chance to really impress them!
  • Assessment – This usually consists of a day with other candidates doing a range of activities surrounding teamwork and leadership. This is often lead by the current graduates so don’t be afraid to ask them any questions that might benefit you.

As you can see the process is lengthy but if you really want the role, it’s worth the effort!

Hopefully, this is everything you need to know about how to apply for a graduate scheme. Make sure to use the resources around you to give yourself the best chance of being successful and securing a place. Good luck with your applications!



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