Alternatives to graduate schemes have been listed and explained in this article to help you find other alternatives to graduate schemes.
While graduate schemes tend to be a popular route for college graduates, which is why they tend to be very competitive – not to mention the fact that they aren’t always the right choice for everyone anyway.
The majority of graduates do not enroll in graduation schemes, either by choice or otherwise!
And that’s okay, because there are so many alternatives to starting your career. Even if you are applying for grading schemes, we suggest keeping these options in mind as well.
Bookmark this year’s graduate planner deadlines if you are considering this pathway.
Alternatives to graduate schemes: What to do if you did not get a Graduate Scheme
These are the best Alternatives to graduate schemes:
Apply to companies directly
You can completely skip the formal graduate scheme submission process and contact the companies that interest you directly.
They may have graduate positions available that have not been explicitly announced, or simply not have sufficient positions available to justify a training plan.
This may mean that the competition is less intense than the competition in well-advertised graduate programs, but since there are likely to be fewer jobs on offer, you will still need to work hard to convince them!
The other advantage of this alternative process is that you are showing potential employers that you care about their company rather than just applying because there is an exit plan available.
Plus, by taking the initiative to contact them, you are showing that you are confident and motivated – both are valuable skills in the eyes of employers.
By applying directly with your excellent CV and cover letter, you are demonstrating that you have the drive and confidence to succeed. You can also give more of an impression of your personality this way, instead of going through a relatively general application process.
Try an internship
Getting an internship at a company you’re keen to work for is a great way to gain work experience, and the best part about this option is that you don’t have to wait until you graduate to get started. This one of the best alternatives to graduate schemes,
Many companies are interested in training students two days a week during their studies, and this can be a great way to help you set your career path once you graduate.
Through training, not only will this give you an idea of the day-to-day responsibilities in that specific industry, but it also gives you a foot in the door after college. If a job opens there once the uni is completed, it will be at the top of the resume heap. Even if you don’t get any chances, you will still look great on your CV!
If you can’t get a job with the company you are looking for, apply to another company in the same industry and use it as a starting point to define what is expected of you. Doing an internship while studying at that company may allow you to quickly trace your application to the Graduate Internship Scheme later.
What are the Fast Track apps?
The fast track is when the company allows you to progress more quickly to the subsequent interview stages.
As a fast-track applicant, you may be able to avoid submitting a formal application, and you can skip the initial stages of the application process such as assignments and phone interviews.
This usually happens if you were already affiliated with the company during your certification, perhaps through an internship or something similar. It’s also possible to fast track if you are a very high achieving student, so you better put your head down!
Find jobs in start-up companies
Startups can be great places to work right after college. There are a lot of reasons for choosing a much smaller company (sometimes called an SME / SME) over a larger company. This is one of the best alternatives to graduate schemes.
Your experience working for a smaller company is more likely to be personal and less hierarchical. Plus, it’s easier to have a chance to prove yourself in a smaller office. You will also likely get more responsibility than you would at a larger company, which is a great experience and means you’ll learn a lot – and fast!
One thing to keep in mind is that small companies may not publicly advertise graduate jobs, so it is important to research them yourself and apply directly.
Startups tend to prefer people who think outside the box, so it might be a good idea to get creative with your resume and how you engage with them.
Don’t forget to check our vacancies page for any Save the Student opportunities!
Get a postgraduate degree
Piggy bank with a graduate cat
Admittedly, at this point, the idea of studying for at least an additional year may not be very attractive …
However, studying a postgraduate course will put you ahead of the competition as you start applying for jobs, and this is an especially good option if you are still deciding which profession is best for you.
Not only that, but the government is now offering loans of over £ 11,000 (depending on location) to those who wish to pursue a master’s degree, and you may even find that your uni offers discounted postgraduate courses to undergraduate students wishing to progress to the master’s level of the same unit.
If the idea of increasing your debt is too tough, you can also take a postgraduate degree in one of these great cities in Europe for free (or almost for free). There is something to keep in mind, especially since they are often taught in English – but watch this space, where everything can change after Brexit.
Start your own business
One of the best Alternatives to graduate schemes. If you are interested in business and have a little entrepreneurship, don’t discount the idea of starting your own company.
Our annual student money survey shows that up to two out of five students have their own business or side hustle, indicating that this could be a lucrative option for young people in the UK with great ideas.
If this is something you think you are interested in, try to look for funding from government-backed business schemes, or even check with your university, as some will be keen to invest in their graduates.
A common path many young entrepreneurs take today is to create a company or website on the Internet, as this entails lower costs and provides immediate access to the global market or audience. That’s how Save the Student started!
Check out our guide to starting a website plus our guide to making money as a blogger as an inspiration to get started.
As a side note, don’t be afraid to fail with some of your thoughts. Whatever happens, you’ll learn an incredible amount about yourself and gain a whole host of new skills to advance your career, no matter which path you decide to take.
If you struggle to find something to appeal to you in the UK job market, then there is nothing stopping you from looking overseas.
For anyone who can speak a second language, your options are vast. But even if you only speak English, do not let that stop you from applying to international companies.
English is an official language in more countries than any other language, and even if it isn’t, there are likely to be some English-speaking companies out there. It is just a matter of searching until you find them.
Even if you don’t want to take this step permanently, applying for relevant work experience or training placements in another country will help you stand out when applying for jobs in your homeland.
Just remember that while many of your fellow students may pursue graduate training plans, there are many options available to you.
Exploring different options is the key to finding the perfect role, so don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and try new things when it comes to your career.