Graduate schemes vs graduate jobs

When graduation looms, so does the big question of what the next step to take is. Do you walk straight into a job? Go wandering on a gap year? Or even plan to start your own business? Most students choose the former, and for that reason we want to share the difference between graduate schemes, & graduate jobs so it’s clear for ever and eva.

What is a graduate scheme

Graduate schemes are offered by most large employers and consist of a very structured training period within a company that can last for 1 to possibly 3 years depending on the specific organisation. During this time, you will learn and gain experience working in various sectors of the business allowing you the opportunity to see where you shine. Probably the best thing about grad schemes is they also involve a series of placements – allowing you to improve your skills in different areas. Employers are known to use graduate schemes for finding & recruiting future manager positions.

What is a graduate job

graduate job on the other hand is the entry-level role that requires people with graduate level education. This usually means you begin from the word go in the position you apply for, and the training may not be as varied & structured to that offered on a grad scheme. You will probably have more control over your own development & progression.

Graduate schemes:

  • Allow graduates to experience many aspects of the role and organisation as a whole.
  • Intense training, development and support.
  • Access to various departments and issues faced by each function

Graduate jobs:

  • Training provided, but graduate is expected to be pretty knowledgeable & ready for chosen position.
  • ‘Learn on the job’ approach.
  • Faster progression in role and within the organisation

So there you have it! Both have their perks, the important thing is what works for you.

If you want to have experience in various areas of an organisation with more structure, then a grad scheme is the way to go. Instead if you’d prefer to jump straight into the job and get stuck-in and learn as you work a graduate job is what you are looking for. Check out which companies are currently offering graduate schemes or which companies are currently offering graduate jobs in the UK.

– Originally posted by at


Here comes the Judge

In February, I attended a two-day mini-pupillage with the prestigious commercial set Enterprise Chambers. I enjoyed an insightful experience into the law of property, insolvency and professional negligence and visited court each day. The Monday morning was particularly interesting, as I attended the ‘winding up’ sessions which included over 30 barristers each representing their clients, either to have their businesses closed, or to suspend orders in order to pay off debts. Before this experience, I had not realised that these orders had existed, but was informed this was classed as the ‘bread and butter’ hearings for junior barristers.

I also attended a pre-trial disclosure hearing where my supervising barrister argued that certain documents should be released to his clients in order to review whether a claim could be put forward. Commercial trials are very different to criminal trials – much smaller, with no jury involved and a lot more technical in terms of legal principles. I enjoyed listening to the language and different methods of presenting arguments and was surprised by how easily I followed the arguments.

There was a young team of barristers at Enterprise Chambers, and on the Tuesday afternoon they bought me lunch in the prestigious Inner Temple dining hall which was very generous, and a fantastic opportunity to ask more specific questions about their experiences as new barristers. I felt at ease and very welcome at Enterprise Chambers, and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

Without the University Bursary, it is unlikely I would have had the means to travel to London and back for the experience, as for two days alone, the cost was £100. I am very grateful for the financial support, and believe this experience will further aid my future career as a Barrister.

Searching for Clues….


My mini-pupillage at Five Paper Chambers in London has been extremely insightful in terms of the Chambers’ practice areas. From day one, I was sent out to court with different barristers specialising in property and commercial law. As a result, I gained a greater understanding of Property law and Commercial law matters. For instance, I attended repossession hearings, bankruptcy, financial dispute resolution (FDR) hearings in relation to divorce financial settlements, and injunctions’ hearings. I gained a practical understanding of civil procedure rules and court etiquette. Being able to shadow different barristers also enabled me to observe a variety of advocacy styles and therefore become more confident about my own style. 

Therefore being able to spend a week within this set of chambers I am now better informed about the nature of work involved and the realities of the job. For instance, barristers often receive large amounts of work in the last minute and therefore being able to pick it up and present the case in the court effectively and diligently is an expectation that must be met.

Thanks to the University of Kent Work Experience Bursary, I have been able to attend this work experience and gain an invaluable insight which has been ever motivating and educating.

Ibtisam El Jeaaidi (Law Student)

Searching for an Internship (in STEM)

Guest post by

Internships are a good route to take to gain invaluable experience within a professional setting, such as a lab based environment. It is a great opportunity to work closely alongside individuals with extensive knowledge in the subject area and to develop your lab based skills, awareness and ability. Many lab internships, however, are very competitive and it is important to make yourself stand out as a desirable candidate. Here are a few steps you can take in preparation for finding a lab-based apprenticeship most suited to you:

Be Organised and Use resources available to you:
Internships commonly start at the beginning of the year, so it’s best to start looking through the summer to ensure a start date in September. Many, however, are available throughout the year, so it’s important to be pro-active and make the most of the free resources around you, either from your university or the internet. You can access specific apprenticeship/ internship websites which will allow you to browse through the vacancies available. Remember to look for a vacancy according to your interests – the experience will be more enjoyable and valuable if it revolves around a topic that interests you! The careers service is also on hand to offer any extra help needed in choosing or finding a suitable internship.

Tailor your CV and Cover Letter:

Before applying to a lab directly, make your CV and cover letter specific to the role you want to apply for. General CVs will not be effective as they imply that you have not done your research into the role/company. Your CV is the perfect opportunity to make yourself stand out from others applying and showcase your relevant skillset. In addition to this, mention any relevant work experience if you have any, particularly if it is science related. This shows your potential recruiter that you display commitment to the field of your chosen subject area. Again, utilize your university’s careers hub– they may offer to review your CV and give constructive advice to help improve it.

Take a Professional Approach:

After these steps, there if only one thing left to do: you need to start actively approaching organizations that may offer experience. Many online vacancies just require an application form to be filled in or a CV to be sent through email. Ensure you take a professional approach and double check for any minor spelling or grammar errors!

There are many other ways to contact faculties, such as through networking on websites like LinkedIn or Facebook. On LinkedIn, find your university on there and use the Alumni Connections tool which could offer you a list of organizations your university works closely with. You can also set up connections with faculty members, campus speakers and past supervisors that may offer advice which laboratories to approach and the best way to do so.

You can also directly email faculties to see if they are offering any internships. Compile a list of few labs and email the tutor/professor in charge. Create a short but compelling message that outlines your interest in partaking in an internship, your availability and relevant skills. Taking this direct approach could mean a higher chance of getting noticed personally by your potential employer, rather than your CV getting lost in a sea of other online applications.

Despite the competitive nature of internships, attempts in finding a lab based one using initiative and good organization should be successful. Remember, do not be put down if one faculty rejects your application – persistence is key!


Let’s do cleaning – the heritage way!

This spring, I had been fortunate to be accepted as a South London Conservation Cleaning volunteer under English Heritage. Working twice a week in a 6-hour shift and based in three different historic houses depending on the days: Down House in Bromley, Eltham Palace in Eltham and Ranger’s House in Blackheath, it was a memorable and fulfilling experience that I will remember for life.

Under the Conservation team, my work primarily focussed on the conservation and handling of historic objects within the houses. As it was the time of the annual clean for most of the houses, most of the historic objects had to be cleaned and prepared for the coming summer peak season. Therefore, under the guidance of my supervisor, I was tasked with the handling and cleaning of objects of different materials. Learning and engaging with the proper techniques and methods to treat and clean the objects had become a big part of my internship, and was the most satisfying as I experience the time and effort spent on each object to ensure that they were in their best condition to display to the visitors. Being a Heritage Studies student, I was thrilled to be able to apply the knowledge of heritage conservation I have gained in my studies into practice, and to share my academic experiences with the staff.

Another aspect of the internship which I found beneficial was working in public. During the half term opening week, I had my first experience of in engaging with the visitors in the historic houses. My task was book-cleaning in the library and at times I had to answer questions asked by the visitors in regards to my role and the task I’m engaging with. At first, I was not very confident in answering these queries due to my inexperience with public speaking. But with the support of my fellow volunteers, I learned the proper way to present myself as a member of English Heritage and by the end of the week, I gained confidence in performing my tasks in public.

Besides that, as a conservation volunteer I also learned another aspect of the conservation role in heritage and this was to adapt in emergency or sudden conditions. There were a few occasions whereby filming or other maintenance activities within the houses were organized in short notices. The conservation staff members handled these occasions professionally and through this, I learned how to quickly adapt to whatever situation given and I think that this skill will definitely benefit me in future.

The South London Conservation Cleaning was an internship experience unlike any other. Working under English Heritage as a volunteer, I was given opportunities to express my opinions and ideas on heritage with the professionals such as the other conservators and curators. The knowledge and skills I have learned from this internship has sparked my interest in the conservation aspect of heritage, and will certainly benefit me in my aim to work in the heritage sector after completing postgraduate.

3rd Year Classical and Archaeological Studies student

How much do you really know about the Charity Sector?

What do you imagine when you think of “charity work”… high street shops? Volunteer work? Low Salary? No serious career prospects? Well, get ready to ditch all your assumptions, the charity & not-for-profit sector is a fantastically unique and diverse sector where many dedicated individuals have sought long and fulfilling careers. It is not necessarily volunteer work, and is not necessarily just high street charity shops, which if anything are often a minor element of a charity’s operation.

Rather than a quiet time on your local high-street, a charity sector career could be your ticket to a great profession where you really get to make a difference in the world. There is wide variety of paid work available in a number of different areas, each of these can be a rewarding alternative to a corporate career. You could find yourself working in education, youth, housing, disability, environment, the arts and many other exciting areas. Now there is a lot of volunteer work available, and this kind of work can be extremely fulfilling, if that is what you are looking to do, it can also be a great way into the sector. However, there are many paid career options in the charity sector, which could be your route into a job you truly love.

There is no single type of charity job, so if you have some image of a “charity worker” you may want to get this out of your head! This is because there is no standard charity occupation, there are an endless number of things you could end up doing, and if you’re serious about working in the sector you might want to have a think about which of these you’d like to do. This could include fundraising, campaigning, marketing, advocacy, policy, governance, international development and volunteer management. Alternatively you could end up working in a more familiar career path but within the charity sector, there is significant demand for accountants for example, though admin, business development, finance, HR, IT, legal and management positions are all common career paths.

As the leading job board in the sector, we are acutely aware of the exciting range of opportunities which come to us on a daily basis. Check out a quick look and you will see we have 4000+ jobs a months in all possible jobs types within the charity sector, on the UK’s busiest site for charity, fundraising, NGO and not for profit jobs.

What you want to do should guide your search, but you should also consider the demand and types of jobs that are available, for instance there is great demand for fundraisers, but relatively few paid positions in international development. You’ll also see how diverse the work can be, and this could reflect your nature or interests. You may find it surprising how varied charitable organizations can be, they can range from very specific local organizations to multinational development organizations which you’ll recognize immediately. You can find opportunities ranging from local youth charities to medical research associations, these could be jobs with organizations you may not even think of as being charities, such as Teach First, Citizens Advice, St John’s ambulance: but really you could find yourself working anywhere from animal care to homelessness.

If you work for a large charity, you will most likely ending up doing a very specific job: while a position with small local organization with few staff members could require you to take on more tasks and therefore could be a chance to learn more. You’ll meet an assortment of dedicated and interesting people working in this sector, and will most likely want to find a way to keep in touch and network with sector specific individuals. If this interests you then go ahead and check out Charity Connect, the professional network for the charity sector here charity professionals gather, as well as people looking to get into the sector and advice is freely exchanged in job-specific groups.

So get ready to drop your assumptions about working in the charity sector, head on over to CharityJob for amazing paid and volunteer positions, and sign up to CharityConnect to join the sector’s largest network.

Saving all my art for you…

As a 3rd Year Fine Art undergraduate in the run up to my final Degree Show, I have had the incredible opportunity to undertake a student placement at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, as part of their Archive Digitisation Project. Throughout my time on my course I have developed a fascination with archives and the material and information they contain, with a particular interest in preservation and decay of history and collective memory. Therefore, to be able to learn all about the inner workings of an archive has given me an enriching insight that I have been able to transfer to my artistic practice.

The ICA is a unique institution as the bulk of their archive resides with the Tate, where it is properly maintained and catalogued. My role is to create digitised copies of the material that remains with the ICA, which is mostly their monthly bulletins from the 1960’s, 80’s and 90’s. Opening each bulletin is like exploring a treasure trove of history- you never know what you might find.

I have also been fortunate enough to have trips to other archives arranged for me by the ICA, for example a few weeks ago I visited the archives at the University of Westminster, a place of many ‘firsts’ and rich with history- it was the location of Jimi Hendrix’s first UK performance (an impromptu moment in which he was invited up on stage to play), as well as many weird and wonderful scientific discoveries, such as the process of burning live plants onto plates (a method that didn’t last long as it was incredibly dangerous and not very useful, but interesting nonetheless!).

Nowadays, the ICA’s bulletin resides online, but already my scans have been uploaded to feature in blog about ‘Archive Fever’ within the art world at the moment. Through my placement I have discovered that it’s an exciting time to work in this sector, as many museums, galleries and organisations are looking back to their heritage and considering how it can be used in a contemporary light. I have learnt that today, the role of the archive is more than just being a passive container for information- in order for us to benefit from it we must engage with its contents and learn from what has come before us.

Because of my placement, I feel more confident about graduating this summer as I have a clear idea of the future career I will pursue, and the relevant experience to help get me there. I am thankful for the The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary as well as The School of Music and Fine Art, as they have supported my travel to and from London as well as helping balance my studies and work during this busy time of year! I would like to encourage more organisations to take on art students for placement work, as our passion and creativity allows us to really engage with what we do, and often create something unexpected from it!

The outcome of my work, along with 40 other students (BA and MA) will be available to view at the SMFA Degree Show, which opens on the 20th of May, 2017 at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham.