Many leading UK employers across all sectors run graduate schemes, this article will explore out what the benefits are and how companies can strengthen their position in attracting the best talent via graduate programmes.
What is a graduate scheme?
A graduate scheme is a structured training programme that an employer uses to attract future leaders of their organisation.
Graduate schemes, which usually last between one and two years (although they can be longer), are often available in a number of specialisms – or streams as they’re known – ranging from marketing, finance, HR, retail to law and management among others.
How does a graduate scheme work?
Graduate schemes are structured training with responsibility from the outset and with graduates gaining real responsibility, building key skills in their chosen profession.
Schemes are generally oversubscribed each year, with places limited – especially those offered by high profile companies in major industries.
High Fliers published a report, The Graduate Market in 2019, which revealed that the most generous payers in 2019 – from The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers – are investment banks, law firms and oil and energy companies. At least a sixth of places on the top graduate schemes now offer starting salaries of more than £40,000, with nine of the UK’s best known graduate recruiters paying wages of at least £45,000 for their 2019 intake.
Graduates can jump-start their careers through dedicated schemes and have the opportunity to gain greater responsibility, while also building a firm base of contacts.
What is expected of a graduate trainee?
Real flexibility is needed as the scheme may be focused on a specific job role or split into specific placements, working across various business functions, teams and possibly locations.
Commitment for the duration of the scheme will be required and this will usually be for two years although the contact will be based on a normal employment contract and will have a notice period if the Graduate changed their mind about the role.
Where do the top Graduates come from?
The ten universities most-often targeted by the UK’s top graduate employers in 2018- 2019 are Manchester, Birmingham, Warwick, Bristol, University College London, Cambridge, Leeds, Nottingham, Oxford and Durham.
Graduate employers use a variety of campus recruitment presentations, local careers fairs, skills training events, promotions through university careers services, online advertising and social media to attract up and coming talent.
How to create a successful graduate scheme for your business
Graduates who apply to schemes do so because they want a career path, and don’t want to fall into a job that may not offer a defined career path. Some may select companies which offer the best paying scheme, however many graduates seek out programmes which offer long-term potential within the company and training in different areas.
Employers that want to hire top Graduates need to illustrate to potential candidates what the scheme offers, plan for their long-term development and how this differentiates from other graduate opportunities.
Successful graduate recruiters make use of social media, university recruitment presentations, skills training events and recruitment apps will less focus on career sector guides, local guides and student newspapers.
Use your website to attract potential graduates and bear in mind the power of social media and digital marketing. A graduate page outlining your graduate scheme and testimonials from previous graduates is a great way of encouraging top Graduates to apply.
Benefits of graduate schemes for employers
Graduates offer a wide range of benefits to companies looking to nurture and shape their talent. With graduates in every department of the company, it allows them to provide feedback and suggestions on which processes are working, what may need changing and how skills can transfer across departments to benefit the wider company.
Graduates provide raw talent who can be moulded into targeted and focused employees who can make a long term contribution to the development of the company.
What can graduates offer a tech organisation?
Graduates passionate about a career in technology are firmly focused on the right companies. With visions of office slides, free meals and exceptional benefits, inspired by companies like Google and Facebook, competition for roles at more recognisable brands getting fiercer by the year. Graduates are looking at a move to technology as an exciting alternative to the traditional rat race.
Graduates that want to work in technology are prepared to work in an agile, start-up environment where there is less time to manage new arrivals and more focus on results. Red tape and office bureaucracy can be kept to a minimum, so strong performance from graduates is likely to result in immediate increased responsibility, allowing employees to advance at their own rate. There is a culture of being part of something big often with exposure to founders in smaller start-ups so Graduates are inclined to seize golden opportunities offering a dynamic, energetic and innovative approach.
Why employer and university partnerships attract the best Graduates
Recruiting the best graduate talent is crucial for companies and as graduate expectations of the workplace shift to focus on well being and finding a cultural match, brands cannot rely on advertising alone to attract top graduates. The cost of undergraduate degrees has risen to £9,250 a year, so universities are seeking to prove their worth to students by forging strong relationships with graduate employers.
University marketing departments are focused on strategies that build strong employer branding partnerships which sees brands working with universities on targeted projects to attract fresh talent in areas where the business might have a skills shortage.
Opting for partnerships helps universities create richer experiences for students and allows potential employers to tell brand stories could also help them find their next CEO from the graduates starting their career journey. Employers should look to build their reputation with graduates while they are still studying not just at the point of choosing a graduate scheme.
NICOLA MONGON is the MD of Spotlight Recruitment, the leading marketing recruitment agency in the UK since 2008. Read our 5* Google reviews from candidates and clients to find our more. We are members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation who ensure member compliance for high professional standards. If you would like to discuss recruitment, you can reach Spotlight on 020 3008 4254 or email@example.com
I had a really enjoyable experience with Spotlight in securing my new role! Angela and Georgia kept me updated every step of the process and were always checking in with me. They were really pleasant throughout and always happy to help. Couldn't recommend them enough!
The team at Spotlight Recruitment were very helpful! They made the whole process very easy and hassle-free. Going through the whole process, both Abigail and Georgia were very supportive and working them both was a pleasure. I would highly recommend Spotlight Recruitment to anyone who is looking for a job as I have received such a great service and positive experience from them both. Thank you to both for helping me secure a new role.
Abigail worked amazingly hard and with such perseverance - I would definitely recommend them to any business looking to hire thoughtfully and carefully. Thank you so much for helping me to find my new job.
Really great experience working with Millie and the team as a candidate.Quick response to my initial job application, lots of good advice throughout the interview process, and always happy to talk things through.Highly recommended for job seekers, will hopefully work with them again as a recruiter in the future.
I would highly recommend Spotlight Recruitment.Very quick response to my job application within the Not-for-Profit sector and they kept me up to date with every stage of the process.I am just about to start a great new job, thanks to their fantastic services.I would highly recommend contacting Abi Aslett and Georgia Smith at Spotlight to all friends, who are considering a new Employer.
Spotlight Recruitment is the best recruiting agency I have worked with to land an offer. They were very professional, and provided me with adequate support and advice all throughout the process! My experience with Nicola and Angela was very positive and I highly recommend.
Spotlight Recruitment is fantastic, would highly recommend! They were so supportive throughout each stage of the process, communicated swiftly and made the whole experience stress-free. Thank you to Millie and Georgia for helping me secure my new role!
Spotlight Recruitment customer service, attitude and approach to finding me a new role was second to none. I only have high praise for this recruitment agency, they was so helpful, thoughtful, kind and wanted the best for me and my career path.I worked with Samantha Jane Cliff & Abigail Aslett, and they were both knowledgeable about the industry and sent me great roles which fit what I was looking for.I will always recommend Samantha, Abigail and Spotlight Recruitment for anyone who wants to find work in the marketing, digital and communications sector.
Nicola, Sam, Georgia and Millie have made our recruiting experience extremely easy. Getting to know our business needs and finding us the right candidates from the get go!Amazing team and i look forward to working with them on all our recruitment needs going forward.
It has been a pleasure working with Spotlight Recruitment, especially Abi. She has been very supportive throughout the process, obtained additional info and details and checked all the stages until the contract was signed. Would highly recommend them.
Spotlight have helped us find numerous tricky roles in difficult markets. They spent time getting to know us as a company as well as understanding fully what candidates we were looking for. They also never gave up! The team worked amazingly hard and with such perseverance - I would definitely recommend them to any business looking to hire thoughtfully and carefully.
My experience with Spotlight was fantastic from the beginning and I could not recommend Sam any higher. From the initial application Sam was proactive and involved, giving great interview feedback. Upon receiving news that I had secured the role, Sam was equally as delighted as I was and keen to get the ball rolling.
The whole team at Spotlight Recruitment is super helpful! They made the entire recruitment process seamless and hassle-free. Throughout the process, they were prompt and supportive. Working with them was a pleasure and without hesitation, I would highly recommend Spotlight Recruitment. Thank you to Millie, Angela and Nicola for such a positive experience and for helping me secure a new role.
I resigned from my job on the 1st of June. I had a new job offer on the 8th of June. Georgia reached out to me and understood my concerns for the very first moment. She made the whole process less stressed and more focused mentally and practically by acting as an everyday advisor.Millie was there to keep me updated on any changes and encourage me before an interview.I have no words to express my gratitude for Georgia and Millie. It was the first time in my life that I had looked for a job, and I wasn't stressed. They kept me calm, and I could focus on the process and dig into the role.For 1M time, Thank you both of you for your time and devotion :)
Abigail and Millie were amazing throughout the whole process. From reaching out to helping finalise the contract - they were both attentive and always happy to help. They are really passionate about their jobs and could not have provided a more positive experience :) Thank you both so much.
Simply a lovely experience with Spotlight recruitment.✅ Dream job positions were suggested to me that I would never have found.✅ The team gave helpful and unbiased advice when asked. Responsive, active and went above and beyond to find the best positions, not just the first fit.✅ Georgia and Millie were professional, warm and friendly. I felt a lot better knowing they were helping me and my applications.Thank you Spotlight ✨
Recently worked with Spotlight to make a senior appointment to our Leadership Team, following an unsuccessful round of interviews. Angela and the team were great to work with, listened carefully to the needs of the business and team and were agile to respond to feedback on candidates. They found us some utterly brilliant candidates and we made a fantastic appointment to our team. Would happily work with them in the future.
It's always great when a recruiter contacts you for a job, but what's even better is when they also take the time to help you and take care of you.Millie and Abigail, helped me a lot and thanks to them I got the perfect role for my skills.I'm so grateful to them
Carly was amazing to work with and was with me every step of the through the application and interview process. She responded to my emails quickly and was always available when I had any further questions or doubts. I would really like to thank Carly and Spotlight Recruitment for finding me and leading me to go on to this new path in my professional journey!
I would like to thank very much Abi, Millie and the team for helping me finding a new second position in Marketing. After having reviewed my CV, Abi sent me an email and put me in contact with a good company very quickly. The recruitment process was extremely smooth, easy and fast (only 3 weeks to get the job) and the girls are very professional. I couldn't recommend better Spotlight recruitment to anyone looking for a new position and boost in their career.
Shortly after I started thinking about the ever-dreaded job hunt, I opened my LinkedIn to offers from recruiters. I wasn’t actively searching or applying except to a few select roles. I was pleasantly surprised by an InMail from Carly at Spotlight about an interesting job role which was remotely based, but being that their head office is in London, wasn’t a role I’d have found on my own. It turned out to have everything I was searching for in my career advancement and goals and better yet, with an excellent charity that offers a great service.Carly streamlined the whole process, taking all of the stress out my application and interview process. She was prompt and professional in returning calls and emails and offered excellent advice that ultimately helped me land the job. Better yet, because Spotlight caters to marketers, it seems she had an uncanny ability to perfectly match my skills and aspirations to the role.I feel very fortunate and grateful to have had Carly reach out and to work with the Spotlight team.
I was headhunted by Carly through LinkedIN which was total suprise to me. I thought my profile was pretty weak but Carly reassured me that it was a perfect fit for the client she headhunted me for. Turns out, she was completely right! I got hired and now I'm starting my dream job in a company I would never of found without the help of Carly (and spotlight). Such a professional team of people who strive to do the best they can to fit you with the perfect client. I couldn't be more happier with my experience, thankyou again Carly- you deserve a promotion! By the way, love the Canadian accent, my heart was melting the whole time haha :)
Katie and the team at Spotlight have been amazing in helping me find a new role with a fantastic agency. Spotlight have been consistently responsive, and always at hand to provide support and feedback.I would recommend Spotlight to anyone looking for a new role.
Carly at Spotlight Recruitment has been an absolute joy to work with - she really went above and beyond in helping me in a recent job search, from giving long-form interview prep notes to being super responsive and always on-hand to help!
Spotlight were a pleasure to work with, extremely helpful and they represented a strong shortlist of high calibre candidates which enabled us to hire an excellent Marketing Manager. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Spotlight (and Katie!) to any company who wants to hire talented Marketers and who needs a standout agency who truly understands recruiting marketing individuals.
Nicola was super helpful and was able to help me not only get a really exciting job offer, but she also helped me improve my future job searching by giving me tips on improving my CV. Friendly and professional, I would recommend Spotlight!
We used Spotlight when hiring a marketing lead for our e-learning business. They represented a good range of talented marketing candidates, understood what we were asking for, and saved us a considerable amount of time. I would highly recommend Spotlight Recruitment to companies who want to hire great marketing and digital candidates.
Nicola and Angela have been an absolute dream to work with to find candidates for roles for my team. They are professional, prompt and make everything so seamless. Definitely would continue to use their services over and over again.
Spotlight recruitment placed me in my current role I’ve been in for the past three years. I also recently used them to hire into the marketing team. On both sides of the experience I can say all staff were very friendly, professional and reliable! I would highly recommend their services!
Katie at Spotlight has been a wonderful recruitment consultant, and has helped me find a lovely role with a fantastic company. She has been extremely responsive, is always available and has had some brilliant feedback and insight. I have been really impressed with the process from start to finish, it's been seamless and has moved really quickly.Katie has been nothing short of phenomenal, and would highly recommend Spotlight to anyone who is looking for a new job.
I had the pleasure of working with Nicola for the second time, and both times she's been absolutely fantastic! Unbiased advice, great clients, but most of all they pair you with a company that suits both your personality and professional goals! Highly recommended to both candidates and employers!
I had a great experience with Katie at Spotlight. She was incredibly responsible and supportive as a candidate for one of her roles. She text and called me before and after every interview and kept in touch with any updates. I was really impressed.
Nicola Mongon was an absolute pleasure to work with over the recruitment process. No question was too small and she always made herself available and checked in with me regularly. As a candidate I felt that my opinion and needs were very much listened to and valued. Would wholeheartedly recommend!
I found a new role with Spotlight Recruitment (during Covid-19 lockdown) and they were extremely professional, helpful and responsive throughout. Nicola M and her team coordinated any interviews, offered advice and were really pleasant to work with. They also checked in during the contract signing stage and generally helped to make it a smooth process from start to finish. I would definitely recommend them to any friends or colleagues looking for a new role.
I worked with Nicola Mongon with two vacancies last year. It was by far the best recruitment agency we have used. Her team were always clear and concise which I really appreciated as it was a very busy time for us. All CVs that were sent were all at a high quality with the relevant experience that we were looking for. There was clear communication throughout and her whole team who I spoke to were friendly and professional. Thank you again for your help and I hope to work together again soon. Alice
I highly recommend Spotlight Recruitment, Katie Rogers was great to work with, very open and communicated very well. She found me a great job with a couple of weeks and helped me throughout the whole process.
Katie Rogers from Spotlight recruitment is a fantastic recruiter. I have worked with her previously and she was transparent, open and kept in touch throughout the recruitment process. A very honest, professional and talented recruiter. I would recommend her to businesses and candidates.
I can't recommend Spotlight highly enough, their service as great throughout the entire process. Very open, honest, responsive to your needs as the employee and with a great level of care and detail throughout. Emails never go unanswered, communications lines are constantly open. A pleasure to deal with.
Angela at Spotlight was a pleasure to work with from start to finish in assisting me with finding my new role. She was so helpful and understanding throughout the entire process and I'd definitely recommend this agency to anyone.
The team at Spotlight Recruitment are absolutely fantastic. From start to finish they supported and advised me through the whole process. In fact I received a job offer the very same day I interviewed, so a massive thank you to the team and all their hard work.
Spotlight Recruitment´s team were amazing during the entire recruitment process,from clearly identying a suitable role for my skills and experience, providing all information I needed for the interviews and giving me all the support I could need for every step of the way. I have to thank them for my new job, and would highly recommend it to both employers and job seekers.
The team at Spotlight Recruitment is beyond reproach. For the duration of my recruitment process, they were thorough, professional, and utterly supportive. Angela, Nicola, and Charlotte, thank you for going above and beyond!
We've been working with Spotlight Recruitment closely for a number of months now and I have to say the calibre of the candidates and the service they provide is excellent. A big thanks to Grace, Katie and Charlotte for all your support!
Have had such a fantastic and smooth experience with Spotlight Recruitment, I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone on the hunt for their next job. I mainly dealt with Grace who was super helpful and never left me in the dark when it came to next steps or the interview process. I’m happy to say I’ve now got a new role at my dream company through them!
Simply fantastic! The following is an email I sent to Nicola, Angela and Charlotte at Spotlight who are Recruitment Superheroes! I had to share here as I have never had such a positive experience using a Recruitment Agency:“I’d just like to say that regardless of whether I am successful or not, I’ve been so impressed by every communication I’ve had from Spotlight. Everyone has been a real pleasure to talk with, responsive, friendly and endlessly helpful. Thank you so much for getting in contact with me initially, and for all your help. I’ve never had such a positive experience with a recruiter, even if I don’t get the job!”
If I could give more than 5 stars, I would! Camilla Gambari was my star recruiter, from start to finish the advice and service received was phenomenal. Camilla reassured me how perfect I was for the position and made sure I was fully prepared for my interview. Although I was a bit late for the interview due to train delays, Camilla kept me motivated and said it would all be okay! And she was so right because I got my dream job! Even afterwards she kept on checking to ensure I was okay... I can’t thank her enough. You certainly found a winner Spotlight Recruitment, and eventhough she’s no longer with you, it certainly shows how excellent the company is at selecting amazing employees. Victoria x
I highly recommend Spotlight recruitment the whole team is outstanding. A special thank you to Nicola she is a star, always kept in touch with me and extremely professional. I could not be happier with the service provided by this agency.
We used Spotlight alongside another marketing recruitment company to hire a new marketing manager. The person we hired was presented by Spotlight. The difference between Spotlight and the other recruiter was the level of service and how well Spotlight understood our business, culture, personalities and what we were looking for. The candidates presented by spotlight were all exactly what we briefed them for. I could not be happier with the service from Katie and Spotlight.Thank you very much.Kind RegardsLuke
Spotlight contacted me about a role about a month ago, and I recently received an offer from that job. I've worked with a few recruitment agencies over the last few months and some have been really unprofessional and disorganised.Spotlight however have been so friendly and helpful, they're just what I wanted from a recruitment agency. Even when I didn't think my interviews went very well they were really encouraging. They even went above and beyond when my train to London for the interview was severely delayed and they offered for me to come and get changed into a suit in their offices!!Thanks again, Spotlight :)
I highly recommend Spotlight Recruitment, they provided me with a wonderful experience. My point of contact was Angela and I cannot praise enough how supportive and professional she is. Applying for jobs and going through the selection and interview process can be stressful, but Angela made the process stress-free by keeping me updated and touching base regularly with me. Wishing me luck before my interview was also a very nice touch! I recommend Angela and the rest of the team for your recruitment needs: thank you Angela and team, you have truly been amazing!
The candidate experience is amazing. Many recruiters leave job-seekers hanging mid-process for feedback or updates. The people at Spotlight have been amazing, especially Angela and Harriet. Definitely worth bookmarking them for your job hunt.
Spotlight have never let us down in finding the perfect individual for the mix of marketing roles that we have. Special praise must go to Camilla for her understanding and ability to find high quality prospective candidates.
I have been with several different recruitment agencies but I have to say only a handful are like Spotlight. Having dealt with different recruiters from the agency, I still felt they gave my entire experience a personal touch, particularly Harriet, Angela and Nicola, they are absolutely fantastic! Excellent at keeping in touch and keeping me updated and in the loop - no exceptions, whether that be by phone, text or email! Thank you ladies, for your continued great service. I highly recommend.
Spotlight have put the personal back in to recruitment. Such a refreshing change to deal with real people who take a vested interest in you professionally and personally. They were always available on the phone and offered a good insider perspective on the companies.Would definitely recommend and use again.
BEST that I've worked with. I've experienced working with many recruitment agencies in UK and I have never seen one that is so involved in the progress, always easily contactable and very supportive! Thanks to each one of you in the team. It's been a real plessure working with you. I highly recommend Spotlight Recruitment to all candidates and companies.
Amazing level of support from not just one but many members of the team at Spotlight.Such a personal and well tailored service and I have them all to thank for me landing my dream job in marketing in central London and the confidence boost they all gave me to go into each interview and do my very best!Will definitely be my first point of contact should I require a recruitment agency in the future.