Careers and Employability Service
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Graduate training scheme

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A graduate scheme is a work-based training programme that allows recent graduates to gain practical experience with a company, giving them a head-start into the world of work. It will often involve shorter placements various departments within the organisation allowing you to find what best suits you. 

Max Cooper 300x300

What made me want to apply for graduate schemes is the unparalleled training and development opportunities.

What appealed to me most about this scheme was the rotations. I still do not know what I want to do with my career so the more experience the better!

Max Cooper, BA History (2020)

Read the rest of Max's story on our blog


Graduate training scheme: fact file

What is a graduate training scheme?

  • A structured period of training lasting between one and three years
  • There are general management scheme where you move around the business and then specialise
  • There are functional schemes where you specialise from day one, for example human resources, IT and supply chain management

Who offers them?

Companies across a range of sectors including the public sector, accountancy, engineering, IT and telecommunications, retail and pharmaceuticals

Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2021-22


Can postgraduate students apply for them?

  • Employers recruit both postgraduates and undergraduates. They don't differentiate between them either in their recruitment processes or in their salary offers.
  • Postgraduates need to use their experience to differentiate themselves from the competition. For example at taught postgraduate level highlight skills such as: dealing with complex issues and solving problems, delivering demanding work within tight deadlines, applying knowledge in original and creative ways, and designing, and undertaking short research projects

When and how should I apply?

  • Half of the UK's leading employers now recruit graduates all year round
  • For employers with a single deadline, most are either November, December or January
  • The recruitment process is likely to include an application form, psychometric tests, interviews and an assessment centre

For help and advice when applying for direct entry roles head to our Making applications pages where you can find information on CVs, covering letters, application forms and more. 


Where do I find vacancies? What is a fair graduate salary?

Attend out recruitment fairs and talk to recruiters directly

Search for vacancies on My Career

Find vacancies using our list of national and regional websites


What is a fair graduate salary?

The Pay Index has developed a completely new tool to answer the pressing questions about salaries on most students’ minds:

  • What salary could I earn with my degree?
  • What will be my actual pay after deductions?
  • How will my salary vary across different roles and industries?
  • How much could I earn with a masters or PhD?

Learn more about your options with our online course

This resource will help you make sense of the graduate career options available to you.

On our blog



Careers and Employability Service

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