Graduate jobs and graduate schemes - what are the differences? - Guide

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Graduate jobs vs. graduate schemes

Coming up to graduation and starting your job search is difficult. If it wasn’t hard enough to identify the roles that you like over the roles that you don’t like, you also have to distinguish the difference between graduate jobs and graduate schemes. This only leads to one thing; “Graduate jobs, graduate schemes, graduate jobs, graduate schemes, gradu- what’s the bloody difference?!”

It’s easy, one are graduate jobs and the others are graduate schemes.

All jokes aside, it is pretty vital to understand which is which before you begin your application process and work out what you want to do as a graduate!

Table of Contents

Graduate jobs are…

Jobs that require you to have a graduate-level education. It can also demand for you to do the job that you have applied to without much variation in position, training or structure. Without a set structure, a graduate job has the possibility to last for an indefinite amount of time.

Graduate schemes are…

Roles that involve a very structured training period, and you have the potential to take on a few different roles and placements in different areas of the company during your time there. Graduate schemes can last for one to possibly three years depending on the specific company.

Graduate jobs vs. graduate schemes – which do I pick?

Realistically the choice is yours, and here’s how to simplify it…

Choose graduate jobs if:

  • You think the skills that you learnt during your studies are enough for you.
  • You are looking at going into a career related to your studies. 
  • You are pretty set on what you want to do in your immediate future – nothing lasts forever.

Since a degree is a necessity to get into these roles, it normally means that your studies have already taught you a good deal of the skills needed for the role. So, you might not have to spend ages in ‘training’ without getting out there and getting stuck in to the real working world. This doesn’t mean that you will receive no training, it just means that you will have more time to focus on the role than on learning new skills.

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Choose graduate schemes if:

You are still not totally sold on a single role, and/or you want to get your way into a specific company. Graduate schemes are offered by many companies as a way of producing appropriately trained professionals for their company. If the idea of specific training and the potential to work all over the company excites you then graduate schemes are just the thing for you.

If you are desperate to get a role within large companies, then doing their graduate scheme might get your foot in the door. Especially if you missed your grades for a graduate job. Most graduate schemes will accept a 2:2, and some companies have even removed the grade requirement entirely.

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Nothing floating your boat?

Just because you’re graduating with debt, doesn’t mean you have to rush into a ‘proper’ job and earning. If you’re not keen on becoming a fully fledged adult yet, then fret not, there are plenty of options for you. If you want to start earning but not get too serious, then there are plenty of short term jobs (like waitressing, bartending, working events, etc.) that just require you to get on with work and earn for your next holiday or for that next festival ticket. Or if you really want to enjoy your youthfulness then there are plenty of options available to you, like volunteering abroad or taking your first, second, or third gap year.

Ready to start looking for graduate jobs, graduate schemes or just want to check out your job options, check out to connect with companies that are looking for someone like you!