There seems to be an unremitting belief that big training projects are essential to gain employment, but that’s not necessarily the case. When you take a look at the figures of graduates employed through such means, alternative routes to your take forward your career become evidently advantageous.
Why do we focus on grad schemes?
The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) looked into such graduate training schemes, and the findings are proof of their unnecessariness. Sure, over 20,000 jobs are available following a course each year, and guaranteed, many of them are reputable (not to mention handsomely earning), but there’s a whole lot more out there.
However, Which? University found that more than 124,000 graduates kick off their career in professional-level jobs – so where does that leave the other 104,000? The majority of them aren’t working for huge corporations: it was found that half of graduates begin work for companies with less than 200 employees, and 41% work for organisations with less than 100 employees.
The job market is blooming in the UK, with employment figures shooting to 30.7 million (the highest since records began), and it appears to be the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) outnumbering the big firms in terms of graduate employment by a wide margin.
Where do I start?
Small businesses are everywhere. You’ll be aware of the big brand names within your degree topic; for example, journalism graduates will naturally aim for major titles like The Guardian – only to find they don’t yet have the experience. Don’t even let the words “graduate scheme” enter your mind here – there are countless small news organisations out there that will offer much more promising career progression.
Those in the financial sector come out of university looking towards the big banks; when there are so many smaller insurance firms, investment roles and audit jobs (such as those at www.ojassociates.com/audit) to choose from. Careers in everything from IT and construction, to art and media are all ready for your foot in the door, without hanging around for this grad scheme myth.
Good things come in small packages
Not only are chances of employment higher with an SME; once you’re employed the skills gained are significantly more beneficial. A small company can have few as 10 staff, and chances are you’ll be working directly with a founding manager or head executive; gaining hands on experience on a personal level.
Rather than waiting at the bottom of the ladder and working your way up the traditional way; your role within an SME is higher from the start, with promising promotion prospects. Working environments tend to be a lot less bureaucratic than those of big corporations, encouraging creativity and offering a lot more flexibility.
More graduates need to be aware of the amazing career opportunities that exist outside the blue-chip organisations: forget the training schemes, and start shooting CVs at SMEs. It’s not about size or household names, it’s about getting your career off the ground – and this is definitely the best way to do it.
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