A Graduate Training Scheme is a structured training programme run by an employer to help them find and develop the future talent of their business.
These schemes are often rotational, allowing graduates to experience multiple aspects of both the role, and the organisation as a whole by rotating through the business in a series of 'mini-placements'. Formal graduate training schemes generally last between one and three years, however this will depend on the employer.
Graduate schemes usually offer a combination of "on-the-job", and some form of formal external or residential training. They may also include the opportunity to study for a professional qualification during normal working hours e.g. accounting (ACCA), or marketing (CIM).
Many graduate schemes include mentoring programmes with senior management, which is a great way to grow your network of contacts. Being one of the "latest graduate cohort" is celebrated within most organisations, and you'll probably be mentioned in internal PR and company publications.
There are usually a limited number of spaces available on any graduate training scheme, so employers set minimum requirements to qualify for entry.
Usually these will be a set criterion, such as:
"You will already possess a good academic record (20/320+ UCAS points) and be expecting a 2:1 degree or higher in any discipline."
A typical graduate training scheme will entail:
- Induction Period: A short period at the start of your training, where you’ll be introduced to the company’s culture, structure, and staff.
- Possible relocation: Some graduate schemes may require you to relocate or travel, depending on where you or the scheme are based.
- Formal and Informal Training: The main purpose of a graduate scheme is to help you build up your workplace skills across multiple sectors of the business. This could range from Marketing, Internal Communications, Finance, Operations, Strategy, Sales, and Human Resources, where you could join a number of project-based roles or work within a team to build your experience. Often, graduates will be assessed after each successful project, although this falls at the discretion of the employer.
- Professional Qualification Study: Although companies do not insist you study for professional qualifications, many provide advice and support if you wish to do so. Many graduates wait until the end of the programme to pursue a professional qualification when they have decided what area they want to specialise in. Relevant courses could include those offered by CIMA or the ICSA.
- Mentoring 'Buddies': As part of your training scheme, you might be assigned a mentor to help you navigate your new role. These are often a member of senior management or a Director, who will offer ongoing advice and support during your training. You could also be assigned a “work buddy” (usually this is someone in a similar role or a fellow graduate scheme alum), with whom you can share your thoughts and ideas and can help provide you with support.
- Completion and Deployment: After you finish your graduate training scheme, the company will place you in the role that you both feel compliments your skills and attributes. Usually, this will be a junior managerial role, where you will be able to further develop your skills, and eventually progress through the organisation.
If you’re interested in pursuing a graduate training scheme, you can browse our listing of available schemes here.