Myth buster: common misconceptions about graduate schemes

Graduate schemes are structured training programmes run by a variety of employers to develop talent for their business. They are normally between 1 and 3 years long and involve training in a specialist role, or a range of placements or projects in different areas. These positions tend to be openly advertised and are usually highly competitive. We explore some of the myths surrounding this popular route.  

1. I didn’t apply in the autumn, so I’ve missed my chance 

Not true! Though lots do have autumn term deadlines and others fill up quickly, so it is advisable to apply early, you do not need to panic if you are not sorted by the end of the autumn term. Some schemes, such as TUI Travel, NHS and Innocent close between January and March. Others, such as Aldi, Amazon and Capita recruit on an ongoing basis with no specific deadlines. Check closing dates here.   

2. Graduate schemes aren’t for arts/humanities students 

Also not true. The majority are open to you whatever degree subject you are studying. Employers mostly look for transferable skills, key competencies and behaviours that fit in with their company culture, rather than specific subject knowledge. There are graduate schemes in lots of different areas of work too: from HR to IT; with SMEs and large employers; in the public, private and third sectors. 

3. I need related work experience 

Wrong again! It is true that employers are looking for experience outside of your academic degree, but this does not have to be in a related field or through a formal internship or work experience programme. The key is how you talk about the things you have done – what you have learnt, what you have achieved, what skills you have developed. You could use examples from group projects, roles in a society, volunteering or part-time bar work – anything that can make you stand out from the crowd 

4. Graduate schemes are the best option for me 

Not necessarily. Most graduates don’t end up in graduate schemes – there are many more graduate-level jobs with organisations who don’t offer specific schemes.

If you work for a small company, you are likely to be given more responsibility early on, which may make you progress faster, while graduate schemes do not always lead to a guaranteed job at the end. Furthermore, if you want to work in a certain area, a graduate scheme may not be for you as you are often required to be flexible on your location within the UK.  

Graduate scheme or not, a degree from the University of Bristol will open lots of doors. The Careers Service can help you decide what is best for you.  

 

Unleash your potential with Bristol Futures online courses

From 24 June you can enrol on three free Bristol Futures online courses. These courses: Sustainable Development, Innovation and Enterprise, and Global Citizenship will help you explore your place in the world, develop fresh insights, and learn new skills while enhancing your employability along the way.

Sustainable Development

You will look at happiness and purpose in the context of work through case studies such as the Foodcycle project. You will reflect on what motivates you and look at actions on an individual, local, and global level. Sign up here.

Innovation and Enterprise

This course will show you practical techniques for problem solving such as brainstorming for ideas, drawing from a range of Bristol-based case studies. It will also allow you to work on developing your own ideas. Sign up here.

Global Citizenship

You will explore the big challenges in today’s globalised society with perspectives from 15 Bristol academics. You’ll also learn how the world is like a handkerchief! Sign up here.

What are the benefits?

Now that it’s the summer vacation, it’s a great time to give one of these courses a go while you might not have other studies going on.

Employers love to see commitment to learning and developing skills outside of your studies, doing an online course really demonstrates this.

If you’re thinking about doing the Bristol PLUS award next year, get a head start by completing one of the Bristol Futures online courses which are a key component of award.

To get free unlimited access, as a Bristol student, you must sign up via the Open Courses Blackboard tab, you will then be eligible for a certificate if you complete the course. 

Read more and find out how sign up.

 

Who are the Faculty Employability Team?

Last week (12 June 2019) the Faculty Employability Team at the Careers Service won the ‘Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award’ at the Bristol Teaching Awards. To celebrate this fantastic achievement we thought it was about time we introduced the team and explained a little more about what they do.

The Faculty Employability Team (Back row L to R: Peter, Ellen, Eilidh, Tim, Gareth. Front row L to R: Holly, Natalia, Hannah, and Jo.)

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Why employers love global experience

Are you planning an adventure this summer? 

 

 

 

 

 

(image from Pixabay)

You may be about to travel, volunteer, work or study abroad and you’ve probably thought about what you’ll gain on a personal level. But have you considered the employability gains too? The two things aren’t mutually exclusive! What you’ll learn from personal challenges will positively influence your ability to perform in the workplace – enabling you to listen, communicate, adapt and solve problems. 

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Before You Go: 5 things to do before you leave for the summer

The days are getting longer and warmer, summer is around the corner and some of you will even be saying goodbye to the University of Bristol. Whether you’re leaving for good, or coming back again in the Autumn, there are several things you could do before the summer to help you get where you want to be.

(Image from Pixaby)

  1. Plan your career

If you don’t have any clear idea what you want to do after university, then let us help you to get the foundations in place, so that you can begin to identify the options of most interest. If this sounds a little daunting, don’t despair – our ‘Confused about your future career?’ workshops explain everything and provide you with friendly support from our careers experts. (more…)

Finalists: what next?

For some of you, it won’t be long before you’ve completed your undergraduate studies here at the University of Bristol. Whilst a few of you may return to undertake further study, for most of you this will be the beginning of the next stage of your lives. Many of you will have been in education for the past 17 years, so entering the world of work may feel daunting. 

Some of you might have secured a graduate career already, whilst others may be planning to study elsewhere. A few will be preparing to travel. Several of you might not have any plans. Everyone has their own unique situation, so we thought it would be helpful to remind you that we’ve got your back!

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Looking for a summer internship?

The University runs internship schemes that enable you to gain quality, paid work experience.

We work with SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) including charities, social enterprises, and start-ups, as well as larger organisations across the UK.

There are many reasons why you might want to do an internship: (more…)

How I secured an internship: Q&A with Rob Angel

We asked Rob, an Economics student at Bristol, to write about his experience of getting an internship at JP Morgan.

What did your internships involve?

I often worked in market teams, which are responsible for researching and identifying opportunities and risks for clients across asset classes – for example; stocks, bonds or commodities – and developing and executing complex financial transactions.

Completing an internship is a really enjoyable experience as it allows you to learn about yourself and your skill set, as well as to understand if this is the career path that you want to pursue.

How did you find it and what was the application process?

A typical application for a bank internship, in my experience, involves submitting a CV and a cover letter. From there, numerical, analytical, situational judgement, verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests will often have to be completed. After this, a bank may have a video interview, followed by a phone interview.

If you are successful in all the above you will usually be invited to an assessment centre where there will often be face-to-face interviews, group work, presentations and informal networking events. This will vary across banks and you will be told before your assessment centre what to expect.

What struggles did you face in the process of applying?

Working several part-time jobs, running university societies, playing rugby several times a week, keeping up going to the gym, staying on top of my studies and also sending off countless internship applications meant I had to manage my time really efficiently! Travelling to and from London for assessment centres can also be very time consuming.

Coming from a state school education with no contacts in finance, and not knowing who to speak to in order to get the right information was also a struggle. Though this may seem overwhelming to some students, it is certainly feasible to do this while also maintaining a good social life and an enjoyable time at university.

What impact has your internship had on your development and career plans now you are in your final year?

Often internships give the opportunity to ‘convert’ to a graduate job. I chose to accept a graduate job with J.P. Morgan after interning there in the summer of 2018.

What advice do you have for other students looking to do an internship this summer?

Here are three tips that may be useful to students:

1. Do your research.

If someone has given up their time to speak with and interview you, then make sure you have done your research. For example, if you are interviewing for a markets role, make sure you know where the FTSE index is trading at that day. If you are interviewing for a mergers & acquisitions role, make sure you have examples of a recent merger or acquisition that has taken place. If interviewing for a technology role, then be sure to research Java, C ++ and C, for example. These are just a few instances of useful things to know, though the list is certainly longer than this!

2. Network.

Take the time to speak to people from the firm you are applying to. Show up if they are hosting an event on campus. Don’t just go to an event and be the first to leave; stay and ask questions that are actually of interest to you. Speak with other students at the event too; it’s possible that some of them could become your colleagues in the future.

3. Be yourself.

Do not try and be someone you are not. Be open and honest; you’ll be happier, you’ll know more quickly if this is the career for you and you’ll connect better with your colleagues and clients. Your unique perspective is valuable – it would be a shame to mask it.

Looking for an internship this summer? Take a look at our internship pages, or if you’re a finalist apply for a Work This Way Internship.

How might the Bristol PLUS and Outstanding Awards support your career journey?

The Bristol PLUS Award deadline is approaching on June 14. If you are close to completing the Award or are one of the hundreds who have completed in the past few years, you may want to reflect on how you could progress to the Outstanding Award. Adam Jellett, a Biochemistry (PhD) student explains how completing both awards supported his career planning. 

How did you come to achieve the Outstanding Award? 

PhD students can get tunnel vision of only considering an academic career, and there is even some stigma around considering other options. This is ridiculous – what will suit one person will not necessarily suit others! Part of the problem is that the main mentors available for PhD students are academics, who may not have experiences outside of a University setting. I have genuinely enjoyed my Biochemistry PhD and have no regrets but have come to realise that I personally would be better off pursuing a different path. Even if you do think academia is for you, there is no harm (and likely a lot of good) in considering and preparing for wider options.   (more…)

Time for Graduate Plan B…


(Photo from Pixaby) 

“so, what’s your backup plan, then?” 

“pardon?” 

“your backup plan – you know, in case things don’t go as you expect?” 

“oh” 

Have you ever been in this situation, where you’ve got a great idea for something and it seems brilliant, but then someone bursts your bubble by asking what you’ll do if things don’t go as planned? Often, it’s not what you want to hear – why are they raining on your parade, suggesting that the thing you’re so passionate about won’t work? 

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