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Career Advice

Finding a Graduate Program – the what, how, where and why’s

A Graduate Program, graduate scheme, or post Graduation position – call it what you like – over the last few years the competition and availability of such graduate programs has become harder to find and even harder to even get short listed for. However they still do exist, and in their 1000’s, so TheEmployable, took some time out to consider some basic tops tips on the what, how, where and why’s of the Graduate Program…

What is a Graduate Program?

Okay, this is a broad question, as it depends a lot on the type of degree you did and the type of company you are applying to.

However, historically, Graduate programs are schemes, generally for 1-3 years that allow a Graduate to be integrated into a company by giving them a structured and programmed approach to teaching them about specific areas of the business. This may mean training and learning in one specific department, or floating around the business, department to department, to gain overall knowledge of the whole business. At the end of this ‘program’ specific roles may be created or kept aside for the now qualified grads. It is often the case that Graduate Programs can pay a higher starting salary, than would otherwise be expected, and those picked for Graduate programs are often being groomed for more senior level roles in the company down the line. As a general rule, it is usually large or corporate companies that offer Graduate program jobs, smaller companies may just have entry-level positions for Graduates.

How and Where?

Well a good place to start would be to visit your university careers department. If anyone knows what companies locally or nationally are running Graduate programs…it should be them! Also, historically, Graduate employers like to advertise their Graduate Programs at Recruitment fairs – it’s a good place for them to meet loads of Graduates in one go and also a good bit of PR as well!

All Graduate employers will have differing criteria for shortlisting, but as a rule a 2:1 has been the bench mark to be considered for some of the more well-known schemes. In recent times there have been suggestions that the qualification criteria may have even been extended to a First! However employers, will also look for the right attitude, professionalism, and competency, so don’t think that a grade is all that counts. If you are planning to go to a recruitment fair, it would be a good idea to do some research before you go, so you know who is going to be there and perhaps pre-plan some of the questions you may have to individual recruiters.

Application processes can be rather drawn out and for a role starting in the September, expect to need to get your application in by the December before!

Like anything these days, a good place to find a Graduate program is online, and here are a couple of links to help you out along the way!




Well why not! Career progression, a structured start to your employment career, a good starting salary, and some respect for the qualification you gain and the hard work you put in, are not bad places to start.

However, you may not want to commit to a long-term( or even 3 year) plan of action and therefore a Graduate program may be a little bit too soon for those of you just about to Graduate. You may want to go travelling, take some time out, or just find your own career feet and therefore don’t go looking for a Graduate program just because you feel you have to!



2 Responses to “Finding a Graduate Program – the what, how, where and why’s”

  1. Hi,

    I found your article very interesting and agree with you that it is very time consuming and difficult for students to find graduate jobs. Fresh Graduate is a service that helps match Students with the right graduate entry or school levers jobs based on their education achievements. It also acts as a career planning tool for Career Services and Students so they can make the right choices earlier on in their education to maximise prospects later when they are looking for their first role. I would be keen to gain your views.

    Posted by Fresh Graduate | July 31, 2012, 12:39 pm


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