Denna S
Thursday, April 12, 2018
4 min read

Alternatives to graduate training schemes

Graduate schemes are one the most popular career routes for graduates to take. They are seen as the epitome of what to aim for upon graduation and attaining a graduate scheme is seen as the first successful step to a graduate career. However, graduate schemes are not the only jobs available and only a few grads go this route as it is both highly competitive and pressurized. BrighterBox wants to dispel the myth of graduates being doomed without a graduate scheme in London under your belt. In reality, the opportunities for your graduate career are limitless.


Graduate schemes often start in September and the application dates for graduates schemes open from October to February a year in advance.  The salaries can range from £19 000 to 28 000 and your CV must be first-rate as you're competing with a great number of graduates for the limited top graduate schemes offered. Upon completing a graduate training scheme, you’ll most likely have a reference and some experience in the industry. You develop networks and career skills within the field. However, roles might be rudimentary and lack variety and there is no guarantee of a job after the graduate scheme. Luckily, graduate schemes are not the only route. 



Alternatives to graduate schemes

Miss the graduate scheme deadline? Don’t worry, often you can get the upper-hand, feel fulfilled in your career and attain more in-depth experience through internships and graduate jobs via direct applications to companies or startups and SMEs. 



Internships often are short stints starting from 3 months and often you don’t have to wait until you’ve graduated to start one. It can help you decide your career path and sometimes secure you a job at the place you’re interning if they like you. Graduate internships offer you the opportunity to test-drive a role and is a good way of gaining work experience that allows you to beef up your CV. Internships provide key training and often give you the time to assess whether the field is right for you. You can work alongside central employers and reap similar benefits to graduate schemes such as good references and networks. Internships also offer more varied activities in the graduate role.


Directly applying to companies

Many companies don’t explicitly advertise job positions. This is often referred to as the hidden job market. Snagging a graduate job by applying to companies directly, often leads to more satisfaction in the organization, since you’ll be researching and applying to companies that have relevance to you. Applying directly shows genuine interest, initiative and familiarity of the company. Companies know that hiring individuals who have focused on their organization compared to random candidates is good for business and illustrates longevity of the candidate in the role.  



Startups & SMEs

By securing a graduate job in a startup, you are thrown into the deep end right off the bat. Management and training varies from startup to startup. In some there may be not as much training and might have a more learn as you go approach. The greatest benefit is that the role is much more in-depth and inclusive. You are often playing a crucial role in the small organization and you learn how the business works in a detailed manner. The learning curve is massive, but this often speeds up your career progression. The level of responsibility placed on you may be great, but the experience is invaluable. 


Graduate schemes are not the only path to success for a graduate and if you haven’t secured one as graduation draws nearer is not an indicator of graduate career ruin. Finding a role that is right for you, where you develop highly transferrable skills and experience are what you should be after at this stage as a graduate and alternatives to the graduate training schemes can broaden your career path. With some patience and proactive applying, you can secure a great graduate job.

Graduate Jobs