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What is a Graduate Programme?

What is a graduate programme? Discover more about graduate schemes and training programmes, including the types of schemes available and how to get involved.

Graduate Programmes – What are they?

A growing number of employers in the UK now offer a range of training programmes and entry-level jobs for graduates. Discover everything you need to know about graduate programmes, including the types of programmes available and how you can get involved.

What is a graduate programme?

A graduate programme, or ‘graduate scheme’ is an entry-level job that provides opportunities for graduates to launch their career without the need for previous experience.

A graduate programme will usually last between one or two years and involve a range of specialist guidance to help set graduates on a successful career path after college or university. It will typically include a structured training programme that focuses on your chosen career stream, whether that’s Project Management, Software Development or Business Analysis.

In many cases, graduates will transition to a permanent role within the same company after completing their two-year placement. However, this is not always the case, so it’s always best to check with the employer before applying.

Enrolling on a graduate programme gives you the opportunity to gain invaluable, first-hand experience and take on real professional responsibilities from the get-go, helping you expand your industry knowledge and build your skill set. Working within functioning internal teams, you will have the chance to learn from industry-experts in real life situations.

Graduate programmes offer a mutually beneficial arrangement for both graduates and employers, whereby graduates will benefit from expert training and a competitive salary, and the opportunity to work across multiple business departments or focus on a specific area where necessary. At the same time, employers gain a new team member, who is eager to learn and brings value to the company. The salary you earn will depend on a number of factors, such as the company you work for, your chosen industry and geographical location.

According to Student Central, some of the top growth sectors for graduates careers include cyber security, psychology, green technology, space technology, computer game development and AI, however, there are so many different options out there.

Graduate programmes continue to rise in popularity which also makes them highly competitive, with some firms receiving an average of 91 applications per graduate vacancy, especially the most prominent companies. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure you get your application spot-on and stand out from the crowd.

Top Graduate Schemes

Who enters into a graduate programme?

Graduate programmes are, as the name suggests, intended for graduates of colleges and universities. It’s important to remember that the training offered on a graduate programme isn’t a replacement for your higher education - it’s designed to complement and build on the knowledge and skills you already have. Don’t worry if you are not a recent graduate; most programmes are willing to work with anyone qualified, so long as you have your degree you can apply.

What types of companies offer graduate schemes?

There are a wide range of graduate programmes available in different sectors, including technology, finance, marketing, and retail. Typically, you’ll find that it’s larger, international companies that offer graduate programmes because they have the resources, experience, and expertise to provide excellent training. They are also looking to uncover the most talented graduates for their business. Let’s take a look at the types of companies that run graduate schemes in more detail…

Technology- As one of the fastest growing industries in the world, both tech start-ups and giants alike are always on the lookout for top talent to join their graduate programmes.

Law- Law graduate schemes are extremely popular as they allow you to test out various legal areas over a set time period, and assist in pro-bono work to gain professional experience.

Charities- Although not as common as other industries, non-profit organisations offer graduate programmes for roles, such as charity fundraiser, volunteers and charity officers.

Finance- Finance roles are in high demand and, as such, most major banks offer graduate schemes for finance students - including the likes of Barclays, HSBC, Santander and NatWest.

Healthcare - Whether you want to work in private or public healthcare, there are a number of programmes available to you. Some of the most popular schemes are run by the NHS, including managerial and digital positions, as well as accelerated programmes for speech therapy, dentistry, radiography and more.

Human resources (HR)- With all big companies comes the need for a well-oiled personnel department. You’ll find most big names are searching for graduates to join their team, offering full training with competitive salaries.

Marketing- Joining a marketing grad scheme could see you working with some of the biggest media companies in the world. Think Sky, BBC, ITV, Disney and more.

Retail- Although you may not require a university degree to land a floor job at your nearest supermarket or clothing store, many large retailers offer graduate programmes to give you a head start in more senior roles, such as merchandising, finance management and logistics.

Transport- From road and railways to air travel, many transport companies offer graduates IT, commercial and finance roles with training. British Airways, Network Rail and Transport for London are just a few examples.

Property - Graduates can enrol on grad schemes with estate agents to gain first-hand training in selling or letting properties, such as with Foxtons, Savills and Stags.

When do graduate schemes open?

Often, you will be able to apply for a graduate scheme at the end of your second year of university, in the Springtime, or during your final year. It is always best to apply as soon as possible since many companies will work on a first-come, first-served basis, and spots may be filled if you’re too late.

Luckily, some companies will be hiring on an ongoing basis, giving you the chance to apply when you’re ready, even if that’s a while after graduation.

When do graduate programmes begin?

Although some companies will offer graduate programme places all year round, as and when they become available, the majority of schemes will start in August or September after graduation.

At FDM, we recruit graduates anytime of the year.

How to apply to a graduate scheme?

There are a number of ways to apply to a graduate scheme, however, in most cases, the first step will involve an online job application, accompanied by a CV and a cover letter. Once you’ve made it through the first stage, you will need to go through a series of interviews and aptitude tests to ensure you have the right skills and mindset for the job.

Here’s some useful information to help you with your graduate programme application:

What are the benefits of the FDM graduate programme?

  • We recruit all year round. Most other graduate programmes have one or two starts per year. With FDM, there’s much more flexibility on when you can start your career
  • We welcome applicants from all degree backgrounds and universities; you don’t have to have studied a STEM subject to join one of our technology graduate programmes, for example
  • Our in-depth training provides graduates with the knowledge, skill set and business thinking that many graduates otherwise feel they lack when starting out in their career
  • We look for potential, not a predefined 10-year career plan. We don’t expect you to know exactly what you want to do straight away. Our graduate programme provides you with more time and a greater opportunity to figure things out
  • Many of our clients work with us as they are looking for graduates to enter directly into their teams on a long-term basis, which means that they invest in your development and progress
  • The FDM graduate programme enables you to adapt and build on the knowledge and skills you have acquired at university or college and apply them to a corporate working environment
  • We provide you with excellent, structured training to prepare you for a successful career and a foot in the door with our prestigious clients
  • It gives you the opportunity to work with a great team of professionals, and diversify your skills and experience working in the corporate world
  • You will be fully supported by our team throughout your career journey with us.

How does the training part of the graduate programme work?

Once admitted into a programme, you’ll officially become a trainee, before progressing into your employment role. At FDM we have two distinct training pathways, the Business Consulting Graduate Programme and the Technical Consulting Graduate Programme. In each of these pathways, you will have the opportunity to progress into specialist roles such as Software Development, Robotics Process Automation, Business Analysis, Risk, Regulation and Compliance, Business Intelligence and much more. The training part of the graduate programme will help you to develop practical and professional skills to prepare you for the workplace. This training is provided through the FDM Academies and led by specialist trainers.

What makes FDM Group’s Graduate Programme different from the rest?

FDM Group is a global leader in the recruit, train and deploy sector, specialising in technology.  We work in partnership with our clients to help with their technology projects and to fill specialty skills gaps in their teams. We look at a broad range of factors during our application process, not just degree type or university. We focus on the potential of candidates and what they can bring to a role to make a real difference.

What sets FDM’s graduate programme apart is that it provides a much greater opportunity to work with industry-leading clients than most other programmes. With FDM, you have the opportunity to gain invaluable commercial experience with our prestigious clients and kick-start an exciting career.

The best part about FDM’s Graduate Programme is that we put our trainees in the perfect position for career growth. When your two-year commitment with FDM ends, there are a number of exciting options. You can stay with FDM and progress to become a Senior Consultant. You may also transition to the client as part of their permanent team.

Are you interested in training for a career in technology? You can do so on our award-winning Graduate Careers Programme.

Read some of our graduate stories from the blog:

About Afshan Munir


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