Both new graduates and final year university students alike will be all too familiar with the graduate scheme hype. The problem is, there are so many out there, it can be difficult to know where to even begin!
Places on management graduate schemes are amongst some of the most highly sought after, with many grads wanting to fast-track their way to the top. However, are these types of graduate schemes all they’re cracked up to be? And are they the only route to leadership success for ambitious graduates?
At the moment, many graduate schemes seem to package themselves as ‘Management Schemes’. Employers know that graduates are hungrier than ever to climb the career ladder as quickly as they can (Millennials and Generation Y are an ambitious bunch!) So, when it comes to luring in graduate talent, the words ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ will definitely grab their attention. Throw in a surprisingly high starting salary and you’re on to a winner.
Management graduate schemes, in their purest form, take graduates through a highly structured programme. Generally speaking, graduate schemes last anything from 1 year up to 3 years – that’s a lot of training! Throughout this period, grads will be involved in different areas of the business and faced with a vast array of tasks.
The whole aim of this is to teach bright-eyed graduates the necessary skills for becoming management-ready young professionals.
You know the saying, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Plenty of accomplished professionals attribute their success to management graduate schemes, and the potential to learn is huge. However, it’s worth mentioning that not every grad scheme story has a happy ending.
In truth, management schemes for graduates are highly competitive. In addition to this it’s worth remembering that you’re not always guaranteed a management role at the end of years of hard work. Sometimes you might not even have a job at all following your training period. There are usually a number of candidates on one scheme fighting it out for one job.
This is why it’s so important for graduates to make the right decision when it comes to their first career step. Whether you choose a management graduate scheme or another path, it’s vital to decide what is going to be best for you as an individual.
Some graduates thrive in the conditions graduate schemes provide, where others can struggle. This isn’t a case of strong and weak candidates, it’s simply due to the fact that everyone is different. People don’t learn or work in the same way, so you need to be honest with yourself when it comes to graduate schemes.
If you need a very structured programme with a set path and you can cope well with a lot of pressure in a highly competitive environment, then management graduate schemes could certainly work for you. However, they’re not your only option.
Management graduate schemes are just one of the many avenues available to graduates wanting to take their first steps into the professional arena. Just because you don’t pursue a graduate scheme, or if you missed out on this year’s deadlines, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still reach your career goals!
Non-management graduate schemes
Not every graduate scheme out there is about moulding you into a manager. You might not know if you even want to BE a manager yet. When it comes to succeeding at work, you win half the battle when you do something you enjoy. When selecting the direction you want your career to head in, consider your strengths, your weaknesses and the type of tasks you would like doing. Find an industry or sector that appeals to you and look into grad schemes within this remit.
Once you’ve developed your skills and proved yourself within a certain sector, there’s no reason why you can’t progress to management further down the line.
Graduate jobs with progression
Graduate schemes aren’t everything. Entry level jobs, graduate jobs, trainee job, whatever you want to call them, these sorts of opportunities are great for grads who want to hit the ground running.
In these roles, you’ll still receive training and mentoring and there may even be a graduate programme in place. However, this training is more likely to be tailored to you and allows you the chance for more one-to-one mentoring. Rather than completing a rigid programme, you’ll get to learn on the job but still receive the support you need to succeed. Plus, prove yourself and the job’s already yours; once your training period is over, you’ll progress to another role within the business. Good deal, right?
If you think that graduate jobs could be the right choice for you, take a look at our current graduate vacancies across the UK.
Management graduate schemes have the potential to propel you to the big leagues – but they can also be tough and don’t guarantee you a role at the end. It’s not an easy decision to make, but it’s certainly an important one. Take the time to weigh up what’s going to be the best choice for you and explore all your options.
If you’re still unsure, this article on graduate jobs versus graduate schemes might help you make the right decision!