Understanding Graduate Schemes
There isn’t a strict definition, but graduate schemes tend to be defined by the following criteria:
- Operated by large organisations which are often household names e.g. Civil Service, NHS, PwC, GSK, BT
- Fixed term – usually 18 months – 2 years. Most people are offered permanent jobs with the organisation at the end of the fixed term.
- These are real jobs with some additional study/support elements. Many operate a rotational system so that graduates spend some time working in different departments.
- Well paid – they usually have better pay and benefits than other graduate options.
- Competitive – when you read in the media c.80 people applying for every graduate job, it’s generally graduate schemes they are talking about.
- Some organisations set entry requirements of 2.1 or above and some set UCAS requirements. There is also usually a long recruitment process.
- Timeline – most (but not all) are open for applications in autumn and many (but not all) close by December.
- Graduate schemes are not the only route to a graduate job! Most graduates find graduate level work outside of graduate schemes.
Find graduate schemes:
Some science-based graduate schemes
- The NHS Scientist Training Programme. NB: the programme usually open recruitment in January/February.
- GSK Future Leaders programme
- Randox (Science)
Some graduate schemes related to science but not lab-based:
- NHS Graduate Management (Northern Ireland). There are separate schemes for England and Wales and Scotland.
- GENPACT Pharmalink – graduate scheme in project management
- Quintiles QGrads – graduate scheme in project management
- Cancer Research - Scientific Strategy and Funding and Policy Information and Communications
- Wellcome Trust – rotations in Grants Management, Strategic Planning and Policy
- Also look for roles in sales, marketing, purchasing, supply chain, business development and HR with organisations listed below
Other sources of graduate-level work
- The NHS jobs websites: Northern Ireland, England and Wales, Scotland
- HSE Ireland’s public health services
- ABPI (Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry) - have a list of members who are potential recruiters of graduates
- BioScience Careers - a list of useful links relating to finding jobs and funding
- Cogent – the UK’s strategic body for skills in the science industries advertises placements and internships
- CareerScene – Biomedical Science vacancies
- Heath Jobs UK – Healthcare Science and Allied Health vacancies
- HPA (Health Protection Agency)
- New Scientist Jobs
- Pharma Jobs
- Science Careers – international jobs board for various areas of science
- Royal Society of Biology Jobs
- TopCareer.jobs (see also on twitter) - Vacancy website for Research Councils UK
- Scientific Jobs Ireland
- Anthony Nolan sometimes advertises relevant scientific jobs