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Graduate schemes - don't miss out!

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

29 October 2019

Final year students, do you have plans for when you graduate? Or are you waiting to get through the year before thinking about it? If you are in the latter group, you might want to re-think your plan of action.

What is a graduate scheme?

A graduate scheme is a paid, structured training programme offered by an employer to allow graduates to develop within their organisation. They usually last two to three years and involve work experience, training and a mentor or buddy. It is a great first step into the workplace after university and an amazing feeling to know you have a job ready for when you graduate.

Student and lecturer working together


Do you know that most graduate schemes open in October each year and many close before the end of December? If this comes as a shock to you, you are not alone. Many students don’t realise that deadlines for graduate applications are usually before Christmas in your final year, with some schemes closing as early as October. In most cases, if you miss these deadlines, you will need to wait for the scheme to open again the following year. So, if you have companies in mind you would really like to work for, check they have a graduate scheme and then check the close date.

Where to look

So now you know graduate schemes have deadlines, where do you find these vacancies? If you have an idea of the type of work you are looking for, there are some websites that are a must to check.

These include:

There may be industry-specific job sites that are relevant to you, so please contact your Employability and Careers Adviser for further information.

Student studying on a laptop

Applications – what to expect

Applications to graduate schemes can be lengthy and it can take some time to not only complete your application form, but complete the selection process. That’s why you should think ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’. Your chance of success will be higher if you spend more time on fewer high quality applications, rather than lots of low quality ones. For most graduate schemes, there are a number of steps involved in the selection process. Each company website will have specific information, but the selection process can consist of:

  1. application form
  2. selection tests (gamification, numerical, verbal etc)
  3. video interview
  4. Assessment Centre
  5. interview.

This can be overwhelming, particularly if you have never applied to a job in this way. But don’t let this put you off. The employers are not trying to trick you or catch you out, they just want to measure your performance in a variety of ways. Plus, we can support you at each step!

Final thoughts

Don’t delay. Speak to your Employability Service today! If you are unsure of your career plan, we suggest you book an appointment with your careers adviser. You can also arrange to speak to your Employability and Careers Adviser by contacting us at [email protected].

By Sarah Sterling, Employability & Careers Adviser




The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.