Graduate schemes: dream or nightmare?

  March 06, 2017

Yippee – you've got a place on a graduate scheme. With a big brand no less. That's you sorted for life now; the only way is up – you're going to have a great time, get your name out there and you'll be CEO before you know it (OK, maybe that's an exaggeration), but because you've got a place on a grad scheme, the world if your oyster. It's what most graduates dream of, but is it all it's cracked up to be?

The answer to this depends entirely on your job aspirations, and what you enjoy. But for some people the reality of the grad scheme is actually more akin to a nightmare than a dream. The problem is that in a lot of graduate schemes it is high intensity, very competitive, and not at all like what is promised. And often that is just the application process.

The difficulty with graduate schemes is that they are purposely designed to accommodate employees who have no real work experience, which means they can't simply place you in the appropriate role straight away, and as a result a lot of companies will encourage or mandate rotations throughout the business. This is intended to help both the graduate and the business identify the most appropriate area for them to work after the scheme is complete. But while some people love being rotated and enjoy getting exposure to different parts of the business, a lot of others find it a tiring process, and end up having to get involved in areas of the business that they have no interest in whatsoever, making a very tedious experience which can really damage motivation and engagement.

For some people participating in a graduate scheme is a great way to get exposure to a well known brand, and to test out a variety of different aspects of the commercial world. But for others they simply do it because they don't know what else to do, and end up hating the whole experience. The issue is you're probably not going to know which camp you fall into until you're actually part of a grad scheme (assuming you're able to get into one, of course, which is a whole different issue) and if you don't enjoy it, by that point you'll either have to give up a coveted place and try and find something else, or just grin and bear it until it's over. Neither option is ideal, which is why we want to help graduates get off on the right foot from the very start. We've seen far too many grads end up in jobs they hate or bouncing from role to role, never finding anywhere to settle, just because they don't know what they want to do. Our purpose designed assessments can help you understand what it is you want from your career, and even better, get you a job that actually fits with this.