A graduate scheme is a paid, structured training programme offered by an employer to allow graduates to develop within their organisation. They usually last two to three years and involve work experience, training and a mentor or buddy. It is a great first step into the workplace after university and an amazing feeling to know you have a job ready for when you graduate. After completion of the scheme, it is quite common for graduates to be offered a permanent role, particularly given that the employer has invested in your training and development.
Many leading Nigerian employers across all industries run graduate schemes and you can research available schemes using our directory below.
Graduate schemes are highly competitive and the application process often includes multiple stages.
We've put together a comprehensive list of resources to help you at every step of the process.
Do you know that most graduate schemes open in October each year and many close before the end of December?
If this comes as a shock to you, you are not alone!
Many students don't realise that deadlines for graduate applications are usually before Christmas in your final year, with some schemes closing as early as October.
In most cases, if you miss these deadlines you will need to wait for the scheme to open again the following year. Make sure that you always make a note of the closing date for the graduate schemes you are interested in.
You may be surprised to learn that plenty of the graduate schemes out there are open to graduates from any discipline - employers are more focussed on finding out what transferable skills and work experience you have that complement the role.
Graduate schemes provide structured training to ensure you receive the support you need to develop the skills and knowledge required to perform effectively in the role
Grad schemes are available in almost every industry. And, because they also involve all kinds of roles, contract lengths, benefits, and salaries – you definitely won’t be limited on choice.
Graduate schemes are usually offered on a fixed term basis, lasting between one and three years. This means you’ll be able to benefit from a high level of job security, in a role that allows you to learn and grow at the same time.And as they’re designed to train graduates, the structure of the schemes mean you’ll become fully qualified and experienced to pursue more advanced opportunities – which are often available within the same organisation once you reach the end of your contract.So providing you’re right for the role and there aren’t any significant issues that arise, you should be in the clear.
Joining a grad scheme at a well-renowned organisation is a great way to prove your skills, knowledge, and drive to future employers – especially if you’re lacking in practical work experience as a new graduate.And with a range of learning and development opportunities available, you’ll be able to boost your career progression and become more employable in the long-run.Even if you don’t progress to a permanent position at the company you completed your grad scheme with, what you’ve learnt will allow you to branch out into other fields and pursue opportunities that might not have been available when you first graduated.
If you’re torn between starting your career and traveling the world, a grad scheme might be the perfect in-between.OK, so you probably won’t be getting paid to backpack around Australia with an Audi. But for some big organisations, graduate schemes give employees the opportunity to work in offices all over the world.Not only will you be able to do something new and exciting that’s rare in many jobs, you’ll also gain valuable life experiences, not to mention a whole new network of contacts at the same time.And, who knows? You might even be in a position to take the plunge and pursue your career outside the Nigeria
The exact length of a grad scheme will vary from company to company, but they typically last between one and three years.Once completed, the majority of those on the scheme will continue working for the company in their chosen field – providing they’ve worked hard during their employment, and an opportunity is available..
All graduate schemes are paid positions, and although they involve a large amount of training and development, their salaries reflect a full-time job, rather than an internship or unpaid work experience.
Not only does a graduate scheme work as a great entry-level position for anyone recently out of university, the experience involved will also allow you to figure out what career path is right for you – whilst giving you the essential expertise you need to get there.And, with schemes offering full training, development, and support, graduates also benefit from the ability to quickly progress onto more advanced roles within an organisation.But it’s not just experience you could gain. Graduate schemes usually involve interactions with people from all areas of a business, meaning networking in the right way could also help you to go further in future opportunities.Because sometimes ‘who you know’ really does help
Most organisations will look for graduates who have achieved a 2.1 or above when recruiting for their graduate schemes.However, many companies may still consider applicants with a 2.2, providing they’re able to back up their skills with other relevant experience and/or qualifications..
Deadlines will vary depending on the specific graduate scheme and organisation.However, with many organisations requiring grads to submit their applications almost a year in advance of their start date, being ready to apply within the first term of your final year of university is usually a must.Although some opportunities will work on an open-recruitment basis (meaning they’ll take applications all year round) – this may still mean the scheme is no longer available once all vacancies are filled..
Due to their often generous salaries and career progression opportunities, graduate schemes are notoriously competitive amongst university leavers. So if you want to be accepted, putting the effort into your application is vital.Although the steps following your application will vary from scheme to scheme, the high quantity of applicants usually means most graduate scheme processes include an initial phone interview followed by a group interview or an assessment day.And as with any interview, preparation is the key to standing out.Whether it’s through doing thorough research on the role and company, ensuring your relevant skills and education are foregrounded on your CV and cover letter, or boosting your experience with volunteer/freelance work, applying for a graduate scheme involves covering (and preparing for) all bases – from the early application process to the interview.
There are a range of opportunities on offer this year, with grad schemes available across a variety of sectors and organisations.Here are just a few of the companies you could work for:
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We will put you in contact with the Employability & Careers Adviser for your faculty who will be able to support and advise you throughout the application process.
We will also keep in touch with you to find out how your application is progressing.