There are several paths to explore when graduating, two common terms you may come across are graduate schemes and graduate jobs - so what is the difference?
A graduate scheme is usually a structured position within an organisation, across virtually all sectors in private, public and third sector businesses. Typically, these schemes are well advertised around the same time every year, are competitive and take on a number of new graduates each year depending on the size of the organisation.
Graduate schemes usually have a set length ranging from six months to three years or more. Commonly, they will involve some form of professional training where you will complete the scheme with a qualification, such as accountancy. A lot of graduate schemes work on a rotation timetable where you will spend an amount of time in different sectors of the business to get a feel for what you like the best and feel your skills are most suited to.
An important factor to remember is there is not always a guaranteed job at the end of a graduate scheme, but it can give you a lot of experience and qualifications which can lead to a great career.
Graduate jobs are slightly different to schemes in the way that they are less structured, and often come from smaller businesses who take on a smaller number of graduates than the larger schemes. They are sometimes harder to find out about as they may not be as well advertised, but they can be found across just as many sectors and include a variety of work and job roles.
Generally, graduate recruitment happens later in the year, closer to graduation or throughout the year, whereas graduate schemes tend to recruit at a specific time each year.
Prospects graduate schemes
- Charity - While rarer in this sector, some organisations still run schemes.
- Finance - All the major banks, including Barclays, the Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC, have dedicated finance graduate schemes, with finance specialists in demand across all sectors.
- Healthcare/management - If you're looking to work in the healthcare sector at management level, you could consider the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. For general management schemes, explore graduate careers in consulting.
- Human resources (HR) - Many large organisations including BP, KPMG and Royal Mail require graduates to work in their busy personnel departments.
- Information technology (IT)/sales - Graduate training programmes are also run by IT and telecommunications companies such as Google, Microsoft, BT and EE in technical and sales-based roles.
- Law - By following a structured route into the legal profession, you can take advantage of training contracts and vacation schemes.
- Marketing/media - Another popular and far-reaching field, you could work for a major media company such as the BBC, Sky or Virgin Media. There are also general marketing graduate schemes available across all sectors.
- Public services/intelligence - If you're interested in getting a graduate job in public services, you'll find a number of schemes are available through governmental departments, the intelligence services and the armed forces.
- Retail - The UK's biggest retailers, including Boots, Next and Marks & Spencer, train their staff through structured retail graduate schemes typically split across various customer-facing and head office roles.
- Transport - British Airways (BA), easyJet and Virgin Atlantic seek graduates for their commercial, finance and IT-related airline graduate schemes, as well as offering commercial pilot training. You could also consider road and railway careers.
Coventry & Warwickshire Graduate Schemes
- Coventry City Council: National Graduate Development Programme
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Enterprise Rent-a-Car
- National Grid
- Coventry Building Society
- Rolls Royce
- Aston Martin
If you are a business offering graduate schemes or graduate jobs and would like to be added to this list, please email email@example.com