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A graduate scheme is a fixed-term training program for university leavers. Open to new graduates, they are offered by some of the world’s biggest companies to help train and develop future figureheads. Grad schemes tend to last between 1 and 3 years and are a great way to kick start your career. Grad schemes are offered in many sectors including human resources, healthcare and finance and offer great salaries and development opportunities. Traditionally more flexible than graduate jobs, graduate schemes focus on developing crucial job skills through high quality, hands-on training. Candidates will often hop between departments and some schemes even offer the chance to gain professional qualifications while you work. Understandably, the best graduate schemes are highly sought after. With companies hiring a fixed number of graduates, competition for places is high and it’s common for recruiters to only consider candidates with a 2:1 or above. The window for applications also tends to be shorter than standard graduate jobs. With most firms hiring in July or September, students need to be on the lookout from the beginning of their final year. Though grad schemes are enticing, they won’t guarantee you a fixed position within the company. But with successful candidates gaining invaluable skills and expertise, graduate schemes open up a wealth of career possibilities.