Graduate programmes have become increasingly popular over the years, and whilst you may have heard of them, do you really know anything about them? As someone currently taking part in a graduate scheme myself, I will be diving into what a graduate scheme is really like, debunking myths and highlighting the benefits of joining one.
“A graduate programme (also known as a ‘graduate scheme’ or, occasionally, ‘trainee programme’) is a fixed-term entry-level position offered by companies to university or college graduates (typically those who have graduated in the last few years).” (Lewis Ashman, 2016)
Typically, graduate schemes were associated with business and engineering industries however nowadays, you can find graduate programmes available within all industries and sectors. This gives graduates from all backgrounds, the opportunity to find the perfect graduate programme to suit their needs.
So why go through a graduate programme instead of going straight for an entry level graduate role? The key benefit of taking part in a graduate programme is that they offer structured training. Training is often designed to give holistic and comprehensive education across all departments and sections of the company; this provides graduates valuable, extensive knowledge that they can apply to various roles as they progress within their careers, which they likely wouldn’t have received in a standard role.
As part of the graduate scheme here at Impel, I am trained for my direct role (Junior Marketing Associate), but I also receive training in all aspects of the business from recruitment to sector training, where I learn about the company’s areas of expertise (life sciences, space & technology and renewable energy). Holistic training such as this not only develops graduates by allowing them to apply the knowledge and perspectives they have learnt from different departments to their specific role; it also gives graduates the opportunity to specialize, by using the tools learnt from the various departments to make an informed decision on which area or role suits them best.
In addition to the thorough on-the-job training, most graduate programmes also offer personal mentoring. Graduates will be assigned mentors who are available to provide them with general guidance, assistance on any area they are being trained in and are also available to answer any questions or feedback the graduate may have about the programme and their progress. Here at Impel Talent, as well as being provided a mentor in our relevant departments whom we shadow and learn from their senior expertise, we are also provided with learning and development training through a professional learning and development coach, Terentia Browne.
Despite these undeniable advantages, some graduates may still opt for an entry-level role instead of a graduate scheme. One of the main reasons for this is, because like everyone else, graduates have bills to pay! Well guess what? Graduate programmes include a salary! (woohoo). Unlike some internships, graduate programmes are paid and many offer salary progression as you meet certain expectations.
Graduate programmes are also likely to turn into permanent placements. Companies aren’t investing valuable training and resources just to let you go at the end of the programme- they want to keep you on. It’s up to you to prove that you have a desire to progress your career at the company and will be motivated to do so through hard-work and dedication. The position may well have promotions scheduled into the programme that may lead to you being offered a permanent position earlier if you have shown sufficient progression.
While many programmes lead to long careers at the same organisation, if you or the organisation choose not to continue at the end of the programme, the experience and training you gained from the programme will definitely help you stand out to future employers in your job search and will boost your CV.
Brogan Kirkpatrick who is also on the Impel Talent graduate scheme shares her experience, “The Impel Talent Graduate scheme has given me lots of new and transferable skills. Aside from my Junior Talent Associate role I’ve loved learning about the inner workings of manufacturing, the supply chain and client care, and look forward to learning even more!”
Junior Recruitment Associate, Rui Spranger shares his thoughts on the Impel Talent graduate scheme stating “I’ve had the opportunity to learn about electrical engineering, different methods to approach clients and our personal brand. I feel all this knowledge is helping with my business awareness and self-development”
So, training and development? Check. Salary? Check. Career progression? Check. Positive feedback from graduates? Check. In my opinion a graduate program is one of the best options for recent graduates when considering their next step.