Job Journeys: Grad Schemes Vs. Jobs — Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Deciding what to do after uni initially left me stumped — and that’s before I tried to decipher the difference between grad schemes and jobs. So, how do you decide the best route for you?

Whether you’ve got your sights set on a specific job, are taking time out to think about it, or are even going on to do a post-graduate degree, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for what your next steps after university should be.

If, like me, you need a better idea of which way to go when you graduate, the two most common routes people choose are graduate schemes and graduate jobs. Let’s break these down.

What is a Graduate Job?

A graduate job is entry-level position that is designed for recent graduates, in which you would be placed in a permanent role within the business.

They vary across different industries and give you immediate access into the workplace. The recruitment process is generally not overly lengthy, and there are a lot of options in various sectors and companies so there is something to suit most graduates.

You can find these jobs directly through the companies or on job boards. If there’s a specific company you would like to work for, keep an eye out on their website for any jobs ads they might post or try shooting them an email to enquire about any current vacancies.‌

What is a Graduate Scheme?

Another popular option after university is a graduate scheme. These can be perfect for people who would prefer a more supported or introductory approach into the workplace. Plus, you’ll more than likely be part of a big cohort of other grads, meaning an instant friendship group.

Graduate schemes are entry level training programmes offered by employers exclusively to those with a degree and are more structured in day-to-day tasks than graduate jobs.

They are great if you’re feeling a little lost after graduating (don’t worry, you’re totally not alone!)  as they allow you to rotate across the different departments in an organisation and try out various positions to help you find something that you enjoy.

They generally last from one to four years, and during that time you are provided with the proper training and mentoring to develop your skills to progress onto a future career.

You can search and apply for graduate schemes directly with the companies hiring, however, it might help to speak with your careers adviser at university and to check student and graduate websites for vacancies and tips for applying.

Which One Should You Choose?

Personally, a graduate job would suit me better as there are unfortunately quite limited options for graduate schemes in the music industries.

If you didn’t catch my previous article about deciding on a career path, I spoke about the particular fields I would be interested in perusing with my degree (live events, journalism, and performance). I would prefer to gain first-hand experience in these through a more permanent role, which a graduate job can offer.

I’m also so ready to throw myself into work post-uni so the immediate start of a graduate job compared to waiting for the next cohort for a graduate scheme also suits me better. Basically, I want to start building a foundation for progressing my career ASAP. 

I also enjoy the fact that the role is permanent and I can progress at my own pace, rather than having a timescale dictated with a graduate scheme. Everyone works in their own way, right?

Graduate schemes can be very competitive and often involve psychometric tests and assessment centres, so if, like me, tests send your stress levels through the roof, this may not be the best option for you.

Whether you choose a grad scheme or grad job, make sure it’s right for you. Just like I have, consider your own preferences, experience, and career goals. Both options hold amazing opportunities both offer excellent opportunities that are sure to kickstart your career after university.

Check out our careers hub, Futureproof, for more postgraduate career advice!