Your Guide to Grad Schemes

Meg Timbrell
Content & Social Media Manager
2 min read

What's the difference between grad schemes and grad jobs?

When do you apply for grad schemes?

Who are the top employers of grad schemes?

We answer all of your burning questions about grad schemes below...

What is a graduate scheme?

Employers run grad schemes to provide hands-on experience to graduates.

The purpose of grad schemes is to build up your knowledge and experience, sometimes across different parts of the company. If you can demonstrate that you're the right person for the job during your time completing the grad scheme, you may receive a job offer, however this may not always be the case.

Graduate schemes are a great way of growing your career prospects, and even if you don't receive a job at the end, the experience and skills you gain during your time are a huge asset to any CV. Additionally, using your time to network and create contacts is hugely beneficial. For more tips on how to network, click here to read '5 awesome tips for networking'.

Grad schemes last between one and two years in length and usually begin in August/September after graduation.

While not every employer offers them, they are widespread in a number of industries, including law, banking, HR, retail, IT and many more. The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2020-21 (voted by graduates) include the Civil Service, PwC, Deloitte, NHS, Aldi, and Google.

Pros & cons of grad schemes

How does applying to grad schemes work?

Usually, you'll complete an online application to start with - the standard is a CV and a cover letter, but some companies may have their own application systems and/or online tests. We have a couple of great guides for both CVs and cover letters if you're in need of polishing yours.

If your application is successful, you could be invited to an assessment centre to complete a number of tests to prove your suitability to the employer. If you're unsure about what assessment centres entail, read our piece all about them here.

How much experience do you need to get on a grad scheme?

Of course, the more experience you can gain, the better. However, it will depend on what industry you want to enter into on the amount and type of experience needed.

Law

For grad schemes in the legal field, quality experience includes pro-bono work, vacation schemes, mini-pupillages, open days, shadowing, and uni law societies.

Finance & Banking

Internships and vacation schemes are your best bet for gaining good quality experience for finance & banking grad schemes. There may be also opportunities for shadowing or attending open/insight days, but they may be harder to obtain.

IT & Technology

For schemes in IT & technology, placements, work shadowing, and internships are great ways of proving you have the experience to be a successful candidate.

What's the difference between a grad scheme and a grad job?

If you're still unsure if a grad scheme is for you, we'd recommend watching the video below from Valeria (Mind The Grad), which debunks grad scheme myths and explains the differences between grad schemes and normal entry-level jobs:

Want your voice heard? Send an email to megan.timbrell@sortyourfuture.com to share a story idea - we love hearing from you!

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