Should I choose a graduate scheme or a grad-level job?

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After years of exams and coursework – graduating university can leave you with mixed feelings. Up to this point, your life has been planned out: school – college –university. It’s not rare for feelings of anxiety to creep up and to be anxious about next steps.

If you’re thinking about going straight into work and putting your degree into practice, then chances are you’re thinking about applying to a graduate scheme or a grad level position. Here’s some handy definitions of these two types of offerings:

- Graduate Scheme: A structured programme that combines working and training, targeted at university graduates. These are usually offered by larger employers and often lead to a permanent position.

- Graduate level role: A position suitable for graduates, which requires a degree in a specific field. These are usually offered in smaller companies but are also available in larger firms.

Now you know what’s on offer, but you still need to decide which route is best to take and what’s better than learning straight from other grads who’ve been in your position before?

That’s why we asked some of our grads on the scheme and others that are in graduate level jobs, what helped them to decide what was best for them. Take a read at some of our responses…


“As a graduate fresh out of university, I didn't have a huge amount of work experience on my CV. I knew that a graduate scheme would allow me to build my CV by taking on a number of roles in a short amount of time, which allows me to experience different line managers and teams.”

- Claire, HR Grad Scheme

“ The compensation offered is really competitive: you feel valuable and worth your salary, and although it’s not all about the money (and it never should be!), it can definitely help you experience things that others your age might not have the means to do for a few more years. ”

James Corporate Graduate

“Organisations invest heavily in their graduate schemes meaning that a graduate scheme is much more likely to have a tailored approach to my training and development needs. An essential part of this tailored approach is that many graduate schemes are placement based, giving the opportunity to experience three or four roles within a two year period. I chose a graduate scheme at Nationwide as I believe that the grad scheme format offers a series of elements which are crucial for ensuring I have the best start to my career."

- Jake, Customer and Employee Experience Graduate


“ I chose to go for a grad level job because I knew exactly what type of role I wanted to go into so personally, I didn’t really see the use in rotating around different business areas. A grad level role within Nationwide provided me the opportunity to move into the different roles I wanted to when I felt like I was ready to progress, which gave me more control over my career. ”

Emma Analyst

“Grad level jobs can be just as attractive as graduate schemes. If they offer career progression, a good salary and good training, then I personally don’t see them to be any different to a scheme. Grad Schemes can be exceptionally competitive, with very limited spaces. They’re essentially another scheme after university, when I started looking at my options post-uni, I just wanted to dive into the world of work without having to think about any ‘extra-curricular’ stuff.”

- Kate, Customer Consultant

“I liked the fact that there are less worries about moving into another location or rotating into another team when you go straight into a grad level role. This means less hassle in terms of moving, settling into a new team etc. Having a permanent job role in one location is ideal for me, but of course it’s always good to travel and visit other places when required, and my team has given me that opportunity to do so.”

– Khanh, Analyst

So whether you decide on a grad scheme or a grad level job, we offer careers that are suited to your individual needs. You can take a look at our careers here.