It's that time of year again and graduates and final year students are getting very excited as it will soon be Graduate Scheme Season! Although nowadays this is a bit of a misnomer and graduate schemes are often open all year round with a more fluid recruitment process rather than seasonal draft style employment. But before we go any further it'd be useful to make the distinction between and graduate job and a graduate scheme. Graduate job: a normal job for a graduate with a permanent contract and normal career progression. Graduate Scheme: a crafted programme, designed purposely to take university leavers and mould them for a position in a company over a set period. This week at graduate-jobs.com we launched the 2014-2015 graduate schemes for E.ON, Deutsche Bank, Santander, IBM, Sky, to just name a few and these were the ones that are just getting started early, over the next coming weeks expect to see plenty more Graduate Schemes appearing on the site and our social media. But there are several things you need to know about graduate schemes before you apply, these include things you should look out for and things to be aware of when signing up.
1. Graduate schemes are just for graduates
This is theoretically true and it is not a graduate scheme unless one of the requirements of applicants is to have a degree. However, the misconception that is often believed is that if you don't get onto a graduate scheme while you are in your third year, you've missed the boat. Not true. It doesn't matter how long it was since you graduate, employers are still going to be interested in you if you fit their bill and sometimes you can be a more attractive employee with a year or two of work experience under your belt.
2. Get on a scheme and you're set you up for life
Graduate schemes are only supposed to be a set amount of time. The large majority of graduate schemers are kept on by the company, but the company can obviously decide not to keep you on. Graduate schemes tend to be roughly around two years long and traditionally provide you with a 6 month stint in each department to learn how business work and then you pursue that area after you have finished your rotations, however the company is perfectly within their rights to not keep you on when the time limit is up.
Graduate schemes see to be everyone and they receive a lot of publicity because companies invest a lot of time, effort and expense in trying to snap up the brightest and best talent to their company. However, this is deceptive, graduate schemes actually account for a small section of the employment of graduates. There are a handful of employers who take on just over a thousand graduates, like PwC and KPMG, but this is peanuts in comparison to the amount of graduates from across the country.
4. Graduate schemes can be better for your career
One of the main emphases of graduate schemes is training and in some cases it can be training for professional qualifications. For example many schemes at Accountancy firms will support successful applicants in gaining their ACA, ACCA or CIMA qualifications. This is the same with other graduate schemes depending on their sector. Sometimes, however, graduates who don't already have these qualifications can find it difficult to do these for themselves.
5. Graduate schemes pay more
It is often believed that the pay for graduate schemes is higher than ordinary graduate jobs. However, there has been no study or research to prove that graduate schemes pay more than traditional graduate jobs. However, the reason that this presumption has arisen is because of the fields that graduate schemes usually are in. Graduate schemes are often in the professional sectors like Banking, Accountancy, Finance, Consultancy and so on, which are fields that more often than not pay a lot more than most.
6. Graduate Schemes have long application processes
Graduate scheme application processes tend to be long and drawn out affairs. Many of the schemes that are currently being launched will not have start dates until September 2015. Not only because they are usually aimed at final year students to start once they've graduated, but also because this allows the graduate recruitment teams the chance to process and review thousands and thousands of applications. So when you're applying do remember that just because you receive an automated response acknowledging your application and then don't hear anything for weeks or even months don't think you're out of the game.
7. Graduate schemes are just for the top of the class
Graduate schemes are all very different so deciding this as a rule is not exactly straightforward. Graduates who are applying for some of the most competitive schemes out there might struggle at the first hurdle but this is not because they are not good enough for the scheme, but you need to appreciate the volume of applications these graduate schemes receive and that employers really do have the pick of the bunch. Does this mean you shouldn't apply? Absolutely not! Get your strongest application together and spend time on highlighting exactly why you are the best person in the world for this position.