Careers Service


Graduate training scheme FAQs

  • When do I need to apply and when does the scheme start?

Graduate schemes typically recruit a year in advance of the start date with recruitment taking place from June onwards for a start date of September in the following year. Although many graduate schemes give a fixed closing date in their promotional materials, applications are considered on a rolling basis and schemes may close early. To ensure that your application is considered, we recommend that you apply early. While graduate schemes begin in summer - September of each year, some organisations offer two or more intakes each year. Use the lists here to search for graduate schemes.

  • How long do graduate schemes last?

Graduate schemes typically last for around two years (between a year and up to three years or more) and allow you to experience different placements within the organisation to gain an understanding of how it operates. The placements are also an opportunity to explore your interests and decide what type of work / role you are most suited to. Examples of the different placements in graduate schemes include:

    • Media communications graduate scheme with rotations in advertising, media investment, information consultancy, branding, and specialist communications.
    • Retail graduate scheme with rotations in marketing, e-commerce, commercial trading, and financial services.
    • Corporate finance graduate scheme with rotations in transaction support, restructuring, business modelling, and advisory service.
    • Engineering graduate scheme with rotations in manufacturing supervision, project management, new product development, and process implementation.
  • I want to go travelling. Can I defer my start date?

    Many organisations are flexible about a deferred start date on a graduate scheme but you should not assume that it is possible. Check the organisation's recruitment website for information on start dates and if it is unclear whether it will accept deferred entry then contact the recruiter for advice. If you are applying for graduate schemes, you will also need to consider how you will time your travelling to allow you to attend interviews and assessment centres during the year.

  • Will I get paid?

    Yes! A typical starting salary for a first-degree graduate starting a graduate scheme ranges from £15,000 to around £40,000 with a median or average starting salary of £25,000.

  • Do I need to have a relevant degree?

    Not all graduate schemes require a relevant degree as many employers are interested in potential and transferable skills such as communication and problem-solving skills. Students should be able to demonstrate a strong track record of academic achievement, motivation for the role, and skills and competence relevant to the post.
    Typical graduate schemes accepting graduates from any degree discipline are in management, accountancy and finance, sales and marketing, and supply chain management. Graduate schemes requiring a relevant degree include those in engineering, and research and development.

  • I am expecting (or have) a 2:2 - can I still apply?

    Some graduate schemes ask for a 2:2 minimum degree, while for others you will need to have a 2:1 minimum degree. It is always worth checking the organisation's recruitment website for information on their academic requirements before applying. If you do not meet the academic requirements it may still be worth contacting the recruiters directly to see if there is any chance they will still consider your application, especially if you have extenuating circumstances or lots of other things on your CV, like evidence of relevant skills and experience.

  • Where will I be based? Can I stay in Manchester?

    Many graduate schemes allow you to state a preference for a specific location in your application but you may need to be prepared to move between offices and sites in the UK and in some cases overseas, based upon business needs. There are several organisations that offer opportunities in Manchester, but you should be aware that some organisations will require you to travel for placements or training during the graduate scheme.

  • Am I guaranteed a job after completing the graduate scheme?

    Graduates are generally recruited and trained with the expectation that they will stay with the organisation on completion of the graduate scheme. Read the organisation's recruitment website to find out what happens at the end of your programme or ask at a recruitement event.

    If your career plans change during your training programme, you may decide to leave during the training programme or on completion. However, if a company has paid for you to complete further study or professional examinations, you may be asked to repay all or part of the study costs if you leave within a certain period of completing the course of study. If this is the case your contract of employment will state any potential repayment requirement.