Graduate schemes and graduate training
Graduate schemes and graduate training programmes are offered by many large employers. They typically last a year or longer; some extend to 18 months, while others last for two or three years. It's the defined time frame and structure that normally distinguishes a graduate scheme or programme from the wider class of 'graduate job', which is the catch all term for entry-level roles that require people with graduate level education.
A single employer can run more than one type of training programme within their organisation. For example, investment banks typically run separate streams for their operations, sales and trading, investment banking and technology roles, among others.
Engineering employers can run management programmes or finance schemes alongside their engineering training. Accountancy and professional services firms will specialise in training graduates in particular areas of work such as tax, audit, assurance or advisory.
Graduate employers promote their graduate jobs, schemes and training opportunities on targetjobs.co.uk and in the UK 300, as well as in sector-focused careers publications such as TARGETjobs Finance and TARGETjobs Engineering. These publications can be downloaded from our graduate careers publications page.
Employers offering training programmes are also very active on campus during the autumn and spring terms, taking part in graduate recruitment fairs and hosting employer presentations and events. The process of graduate recruiters doing the ‘rounds’ of universities to promote their opportunities and meet with candidates has traditionally been called the ‘milkround’.
Graduate schemes enable new recruits to settle quickly into a professional work environment, receive relevant skills development and get hands-on experience, either working in a specific role within an established team, or through working on a number of assignments in different areas of the organisation over the duration of the programme. If an employer has a large graduate intake, it is more than likely that you will have the opportunity to network and socialise with your peers.
The golden rule of graduate schemes: apply early, even if the employer has an 'open' or 'ongoing' recruitment process.
You may have opportunities to work overseas or at different locations in the UK, or you may be based in one place. If you would prefer not to travel and you like a regular home life make sure you are aware of how much mobility is expected when you consider careers and employers.
Training in career areas such as engineering, accountancy, human resources, law, construction, management and property is often accredited by a relevant professional association. This type of support will assist you in qualifying to practise professionally.
The majority of training schemes have application deadlines between November and December for programmes starting the following September/October. Ideally, you need to do your employer research and be ready to apply early during the first term of your final year.
An increasing number of employers have ‘ongoing’ or ‘open’ recruitment processes meaning that, in principle, they take applications year round. Despite this seeming flexibility, you are still advised to apply early. While these recruiters don’t give a hard and fast deadline, they may make offers from the start of the application period and they may close their scheme once they have filled all their vacancies. Some employers do give a specific closing date, but also state that they will close their recruiting process as soon as they have filled their spaces.
For recruitment success, make sure you’re clued-up on the applications and interview methods used by employers (check out our employer profiles for employers with tips to get hired). Many large graduate employers use online application systems to sort prospective candidates for their schemes and training opportunities. If your application is successful you may then be invited to an assessment centre or interview. Be prepared for psychometric tests – they can crop up in online applications and at interviews and assessments.
Accountancy and financial management graduate schemes and programmes
- Audit Wales graduate trainee 6 January
- BDO tax graduate – private client services, tax disputes and resolutions 30 January
- Azets corporate finance graduate scheme 31 January
- TJX Europe (TK Maxx) finance European graduate programme Ongoing
Banking and investment graduate schemes and programmes
- Optiver trader Ongoing
Consulting graduate schemes and programmes
- Azets business technology consulting trainee 31 January
- FTI Consulting graduate scheme – economic and financial consulting 31 January
- KPMG consulting graduate programmes Ongoing
Consumer goods and FMCG graduate schemes and programmes
- Ocado Group operations management graduate programme 4 January
- Arla Foods production management graduate programme 24 January
Engineering and science graduate schemes and programmes
- Atkins civil and structural engineering graduate scheme 5 January
- AWE graduate electronics and electrical engineer 31 January
- BAE Systems support engineer graduate programme Ongoing
- PA Consulting graduate electronics engineer Ongoing
Financial services, actuarial and insurance graduate schemes and programmes
- Aspen insurance/underwriting graduate 14 January
IT and technology graduate schemes and programmes
- MSD animal health IT digital graduate 3 January
- Infosys technology associate 3 January
- Sky software developer graduate programme 10 January
- Arm graduate software engineer 31 January
Law barristers pupillages
- 3 Paper Buildings pupillage 7 January
Law solicitors training contracts
- Pinsent Masons LLP training contract Northern Ireland 8 January
- Bristows training contract 10 January
- Taylor Wessing training contract 11 January
Logistics, transport and supply chain graduate schemes and programmes
- DHL Supply Chain procurement graduate programme 11 January
- Kerry Group supply chain graduate programme 31 January
Management and business graduate schemes and programmes
- Bradbury Group business development graduate scheme 3 January
- Amazon business development graduate programme 22 January
- Alten business manager graduate 31 January
- Babcock International Group business management programmes 31 January
Sales graduate schemes and programmes
- Mondelez International sales and marketing graduate scheme 10 January
- Kerry Group graduate programme – sales (account management) 31 January
- Premier Foods graduate – commercial programme Ongoing
- Philips healthtech commercial graduate scheme Ongoing
This is just a selection of what you can apply for on targetjobs.co.uk just now. To find more, go to the graduate job search. You can find out more about the UK's most popular graduate employers in a range of career sectors from our UK 300 pages.