Large grad scheme not for you? Suss out the alternatives – small can be beautiful!

I realise not everyone wants to work for a large recruiter via a graduate scheme yet sometimes it may feel like that is the only thing out there. They do tend to have lots of money to spend on marketing and recruitment so their profile is high. However, would it surprise you to know that only 15% of graduates go onto graduate schemes? Far greater numbers go on to work for smaller or medium-sized enterprises/organisations (SMEs) of up to 250 staff, often much fewer where there can be huge benefits including:

– Quicker selection process, usually just CV and cover letter, interview (no online tests!)
– Quicker timeline from application to start date (they tend to recruit as the work and projects demand)
– Less hierarchical work environment – contact with senior management
– More responsibility – more quickly
– Work across multiple projects
– Access to network for future career opportunities
– Employ lots of recent graduates
– Learn great skills

They just recruit very differently and may not have the time or resources to come to careers fairs or invest in recruitment marketing.  Often they use partners to help them recruit, especially if they are smaller start-ups who need talented graduates for interesting projects but don’t have an HR or recruitment team to do this.

I was aware today following our session on “No idea for your career”  that you may might not be aware of some of the graduate internship partner initiatives that are available where there are paid jobs with SMEs.  I have listed some below

If you are uncertain yet about career direction, or want to build up some valuable experience, these initiatives are a great idea to consider as a “stepping stone”.

Most work with SMEs and offer a great “first job” experience that could lead to a longer-term post with them or give you greater confidence and experience to apply for the next thing – which might be a graduate scheme or a different/similar role within another SME or in the public sector – or set up your own SME!

1) Employ.ed in an SME offers 4-10 week full time or part time internships within small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and is run by the Careers Service working with many SMEs, including tech start-ups. Benefits include having a varied role, lots of responsibility and often working alongside the founders of the company.

All opportunities are advertised throughout the year on MyCareerHub. Search MyCareerHub opportunities for ‘Employ.ed in an SME’ Roles are open to all final year undergraduates, postgraduate students or recent graduates from the University of Edinburgh (2 years after graduation)

Employ.ed in an SME

2) ScotGrad

Graduate placements through ScotGrad are designed to give you that first piece of graduate-level work experience. Placements can be 6 -12 months with one of Scotland’s growing organisations you’ll gain valuable experience working on a defined project, where you will make a significant impact on a small or medium-sized organisation. Science engineering and tech roles can be really well-paid too, far more than their minimum . Placements are advertised via MyCareerHub too and are available across a range of sectors, including:

Food and Drink
Science and Environment
Energy (Oil & Gas, Renewables)
Creative Industries
Travel and Tourism
IT/Enabling Technology
Construction and Forest Industries
Textiles
ScotGrad

3) Bright Green Business offers exciting opportunities for students and recent graduates to work with companies and organisations across Scotland. Their aim is to offer meaningful project-based placements to ensure that you are not only gaining credible work experience but that you are also able to have ownership of the work you produce. The placements are paid, run all year round and tend to be short-term ranging from 8 to 12 weeks. Roles range from environmental management, active travel, science & engineering to marketing & communication

​Bright Green

4) The Step Programme offers undergraduates and recent graduates a range of work experience opportunities. These can be either short term work placements, generally lasting between eight weeks and six months or longer term internships lasting between six and 12 months. All opportunities have a genuine development focus, are structured, project based and are all paid.

STEP

5) Adopt an intern

Find out more about ​Adopt an Intern

There are other ways to get a foot in the door in an SME so if there is a sector you are interested in come and get some advice from us.

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The graduate market in 2018

Update from our Assistant Director about the graduate market in 2018. Some positive news, especially with SMEs

The Careers Service Blog

Ruth Donnelly summarises the findings of a recent survey.

High Fliers Research has just published a report about the graduate market in 2018, based on research with the UK’s 100 largest employers. Here are a few interesting snippets for students and new grads:

Large employers are cautiously optimistic about increasing the number of graduates they recruit in 2018. The biggest growth in vacancies is expected in public sector organisations, accounting and professional services firms and engineering and industrial companies.

Graduate recruitment in these large organisations fell last year, for the first time since the financial crash in 2009. This is most likely to be related to uncertainty about Brexit, but they are also carrying unfilled vacancies due to a lack of good applications for some specialist schemes and graduates turning down or reneging on offers. Average starting salaries in large companies remain at £30,000 p.a. with the highest salaries being…

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