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Is your grad scheme fit-for-purpose?

Article by Charlotte Burton-Barker, Programmes Manager - Wiser

Is your grad scheme fit-for-purpose? Graduate schemes provide early talent with an introduction to the working world but they  are also designed to quickly upskill graduates and allow them to progress into more senior positions within the business. However, often this is not the outcome. Graduates roll off their schemes without the skills they need to fast-track through the organisation at the expected rate. There are three fundamental elements to make sure your graduate scheme provides the quick paced skill building that your graduates need. 

TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT
At the top of the list is technical development, and lots of it. Learning opportunities should be regular and varied to develop your graduates into their new role. If you are looking for someone who is going to quickly progress in your organisation, they need to be equipped with the skills and technical knowledge to do their job. Using the 70-20-10 approach a big focus here should be around providing the technical training they need during their day-to-day work, this might look like shadowing, buddying and being put onto stretch projects. Placing your graduate on a relevant apprenticeship is also a great way to drive their technical knowledge for their roles (and to use your levy)! 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Research from CMI showed that nearly 80% of employers do not believe graduates arrive fully equipped with skills that make them work-ready and only 22% of graduates feel like they have key employability skills. This means your grads are likely to feel unprepared to be in the workplace – the top skills that the research shows they should be trained in are team-work, problem solving and communication – providing learning and development opportunities based on professional development of ‘soft skills’ will be essential in closing this gap and fast-tracking your graduates development. Modular programmes which tap into these professional skills can have a huge impact on both competence and confidence amongst your grad cohort and help you to unlock their potential. 

ROTATIONS
Whether this looks like rotating around different business areas or departments within one business area, providing your graduates with knowledge that spans beyond one area of the business speeds up their development. It helps them to make sense of the bigger picture and helps them to become a more strategic problem solver and thinker as they can begin to piece together the impact of different solutions.

Not only is providing a rotational element to a graduate scheme important for quick and well-rounded development it is also the preference of most early talent. In research conducted at Wiser we found out that 84.4% of students would prefer to go on a rotational graduate scheme over a non-rotational scheme, meaning that by offering a rotational element you would be positioning yourself well to attract top talent. 

By incorporating these three fundamental elements you will be able to ensure your graduate scheme is fit-for-purpose providing the quick paced skill building that your graduates need to be successful while helping you secure top talent!

    Charlotte is the Programmes Manager at Wiser, where she builds and develops Early Talent Development Programmes to ensure organisation's get the best from their Graduates, Apprentices and Early Talent cohorts. Her background is in Organisational Psychology and she uses her knowledge in this area to inform the design and delivery of her work.

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