Graduate schemes

A graduate scheme is a work-based training programme that allows recent graduates to gain practical experience with a company and get a head-start in their professional career.

The structure of graduate schemes varies depending on the employer and industry, but usually, they will include training, mentoring, and hands-on work in different areas of an organisation.

Graduate schemes usually last between one and three years. Once completed, most graduates will continue working for the company in their chosen field – providing they meet the required standards and an opportunity is available.


  • Generous salary
  • Excellent training and development opportunities
  • Excellent networking opportunities and you should be able to build up contacts across all areas of your organisation
  • Thanks to the training, development and support you’ll receive, you should be able to progress quickly to more advanced roles at end of your scheme.


Most organisations are looking for graduates with a 2.1 or above. However, some may still consider applicants with a 2.2, providing you can back up your skills with other relevant experience and/or qualifications.

When to apply

While deadlines vary depending on the specific graduate scheme and organisation you are interested in, you should be ready to apply within the first term of your final year at university.

The application process

Graduate schemes are notoriously competitive. So if you want to be accepted, you are going to have to put a lot of effort into your application. If your application is successful, you can expect the selection process to include an initial phone interview followed by a group interview or an assessment day.

As with any interview, preparation is the key to success:

  • Do your research on the role and company
  • Update your CV and make sure you highlight relevant skills and education
  • Plug any gaps in your CV by developing your skills and getting the right work experience before your final year.

Complete the Graduate Outcomes Survey!

Graduate Outcomes want to understand the graduate perspective and what success looks like for you following your time in higher education.

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