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5 Graduate Hiring Schemes

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By  April 24, 2018

Finishing a degree and finding work can be a daunting prospect. These UK-based graduate schemes could give you a leg-up.

“So what are you going to do after you finish your degree?”

That’s the question no one in their last year of university wants to hear at a family reunion, especially if you haven’t decided on your next step. There are so many options out there, but the ones that sound exciting (like travelling) are really expensive, and the ones that sound practical (like moving in with your parents) sound excruciating.

Every year, top new graduates apply for paid “grad schemes” that will teach them new skills and fast-track them to the top of their careers. The United Kingdom is full of these grad schemes—so you could move to Europe and get ahead in your career. Many of these schemes don’t care where you come from; they just care about your ambition. Legally, they can’t offer you a visa, but if you’re eligible for a working holiday or ancestry visa, you have some exciting opportunities ahead.

Many of these schemes don’t care where you come from; they just care about your ambition.

So if you’re ready to hop on a plane and start a new life in the UK, take a look at these five prestigious grad schemes:


This chain of grocery stores has a famously competitive graduate scheme—some years it has more than 200 applicants for each of its jobs. You’ll start out with three months of intensive training, followed by being given the keys to an Aldi store and starting to manage it. By week 19, you’ll be managing two stores, and by the end of the year you’ll be an area manager with multiple stores. The year after that, you could be managing stores in Germany or Australia as part Aldi’s international secondment program.

In return for your hard work, you’re given access to a company car and a starting salary of £44,000. You do need a good GPA (3.3 or higher), but the main challenge is Aldi's series of online tests, from a situational judgement evaluation to a video interview. It’s the right choice if you want to get to the top of the retail world quickly—most of Aldi’s directors started in this same program.

Penguin Random House

A placement with Penguin Random House, one of the most important publishers in the world, is a chance to get a foot in the door of the publishing industry. Its graduate recruitment program is called “the scheme” and it seeks people who are persuasive, ambitious and good at getting things done, regardless of what they studied or how they did at school.

Penguin only accepts four “schemers” each September, but if you’re determined to make it in the publishing industry, this program could be a massive leg up. You’ll get paid a living wage and work with two different publicists for six months each. And at the end of the year, Penguin will try to find you a role at Penguin Random House.


This edgy creative agency chooses 14 applicants for a six-month paid internship called “the pipe.” The agency chooses interns based solely on creativity.

If you’re a creative, prove it by sending in one piece of work. It could be a video, an advertisement, or a 3D model of a macaroni sculpture. The key is that it can only be one thing and it must prove your creativity.

If you’re one of the top 200 applicants, you’ll be sent a short brief and be given two weeks to respond with a great idea. If you create one of the office’s 14 favourite ideas, you’re in! You have a new job designing advertising campaigns for elite clients. Pack your bags and move to London. If you impress them, you may find yourself with a permanent job as a creative in a global advertising firm

Her Majesty's Treasury

New graduates who work at the Treasury help to set British financial policy, from government spending to banking regulations. This program is highly respected and provides new graduates with a great deal of responsibility.

These positions are best suited to someone who has access to a longer-term visa, like an ancestry visa, because the Treasury will give you two 18-month postings. You’ll then have the option to carry on in a variety of different roles. In fact, most of the senior policy advisors in the Treasury began on the Treasury’s graduate program.

Teach First

For those who prefer to learn by doing, this highly competitive program pays successful applicants to become qualified teachers while teaching full-time.

If you’re selected for the program, Teach First will match you with a school where you’ll be a member of staff. You’ll have plenty of training and support, but it will be a very challenging two years as you learn to teach by teaching. After you’ve finished those two years, you’ll have a postgraduate diploma in education and be two-thirds of the way to a Master’s in Education. You’ll also be qualified to teach in the UK. If you’ve chosen to teach a shortage subject, like high school physics, your school might even offer to sponsor your visa so that you can stay in the UK long-term.

So what are you going to do after you finish your degree? Apply for one of these prestigious programs and you might have an exciting and practical answer.

This article was originally published in Verge's March 2018 digital edition. 

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Published in Work Abroad
Kirsten Horton

Kirsten Horton is a Canadian living in London, where she has taught since 2014. In the past three years, she has visited 10 countries on four continents, paid off a good chunk of her student loan, and married a handsome Brit.

Website: teachinlondonblog.wordpress.com

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