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Graduate programmes (also known as graduate schemes or trainee programmes) refer to training and development schemes designed by corporations for graduates looking for an opportunity to jump-start their professional career. Hence, similar to an internship, they offer an effective way to experience a variety of aspects concerning specific job posts, while also gaining a more in-depth understanding of an organization as a whole. Most of these programmes come with a paid salary.
However, graduate schemes are more than just industry placements. They form an introduction to an organization’s core business, structure and internal culture, while encompassing intense training, continuous mentoring, and a view towards permanent employment upon completion. The training element often revolves around general workplace skills, such as communication, management, strategy understanding, and decision making etc. which are frequently applied across a wide range of business units. Your assigned mentor will provide on-going career advice and assistance, whilst also assessing your progress and individual attributes in order to boost your professional development.
Your future placement in the organization hosting the graduate programme will usually be in the form of a junior managerial role. Getting fast tracked to more responsible positions within the company is a common outcome of the programmes.
It is important to note that graduate programmes tend to have a much longer timespan than internships, as they generally last anywhere from 10 months to 2 years depending on the specific employer scheme. Furthermore, the role you will occupy may be both project based, as well as team-oriented, depending on your employer. Finally, most graduate programmes have limited available spaces. This means that competition to qualify for entry is often high. Consequently, minimum requirements for the position are encountered on a regular basis and personal interviews are to be expected.