Is Applying For Graduate Schemes A Farce?

The whole graduate scheme option, is for many, a dream come true. It makes the final year of university an absolute dream. Instead of having to worry about whether the whole university thing is going to be worth it, the graduate knows that there is a golden opportunity waiting for he or she at the end of it all – all he or she has to do is make sure he or she gets his or her head down, gets his or her degree and gets on his or her way to the rest of his or her career.
This can be invaluable, given the prospects in today’s present economic environment. It is all too easy to become disillusioned and disenchanted. Speak to a lot of graduates and they’ll tell you that it wasn’t possible to get a job within their field when they graduated, even though they got a First or a 2.1. Getting on a graduate scheme can be a tremendous coup that really helps a student to focus because it suggests that everything is going to come together.

Of course, it isn’t always this clean cut, and the type of graduate schemes that are offered to some people are far removed from any ideological notion of a smoother-than-smooth transition from the educational system into the workplace. This is often a reflection of a particular type of industry. That is not to say though, that all the graduate schemes in journalism, for instance, are bad, whilst all the graduate schemes in architecture are great. There are good companies in all industries whose reasons for running graduate schemes are admirable. Conversely, though, there are other companies whose graduate schemes are a microcosm of that company’s overall greed and ethically unscrupulous ethos.
Some graduate schemes serve as nothing more than a way of getting talented graduates to work for as little as possible. The graduate is made to feel like they should be happy that they’ve been given the opportunity to work at such a prestigious company. The graduate is made to feel like they should realistically be prepared to work for nothing and that they are lucky to be getting paid at all. This can go on for three years, with that talented person going out of their way to impress others and ingratiate themselves to the whole culture of a company whose culture isn’t worth being part of – in any capacity. At the end of it, the graduate is offered a minor vacancy or no vacancy at all.
Of course, this is not always the case. There are companies out there whose graduate schemes are established and well meaning. Get on a graduate scheme with the right company, and it can be a formality. As long as you apply yourself and fit with that companies groove, you are guaranteed to do well and become a highly valued asset to the company. Essentially a graduate scheme is something that is at once of considerable value and no value at all. It is down to the intentions of the company offering the graduate scheme, and whether they run schemes to get work done on the cheap, or to find young talent that can be honed. And as sad as it is obvious, the better a graduate scheme is, the fewer the people that get accepted and the lower the chances of getting accepted.
This post was penned on behalf of OCVC