The only better alternatives to graduate schemes are working or further educating yourself. However, according to McKinsey & Company, the number of students enrolling in 2 or 4-year educational courses will see a steep downward trend by the end of the year 2029 as shown in the graph below:
A downfall in student enrolment in college and university in a normal economy can only mean one thing. Students are exploring their opportunities rather than committing 2 to 4 years of their lives to university education. One of the alternatives to studying at a university after immediately completing a degree is joining a graduate scheme. They are a popular choice among students who want hands-on work experience. However, they are not easy to find, as these schemes are not advertised much. There are many alternatives to graduate schemes you can explore but before that let’s find out what graduate schemes are.
What Is A Graduate Scheme?
Simply put a graduate scheme is a training program offered to graduate students designed by commercial organisations, brands and industries. The benefits of doing a graduate scheme depend on the company you are working with. Apart from getting hands-on experience and learning to take responsibility from the very beginning of your career, graduate schemes are good for students who wish to build a working portfolio for themselves. A working portfolio is a resume that has a majority of working experience and a minority of academic qualifications.
More often than not, graduate students work on the same level of the company on a rotational basis. This means that you will have the basic and general knowledge and skills required to run all departments in the organisation. Organizations such as Deloitte offer roles for graduates on a rotational basis which is fundamental for a broader experience and deeper understanding of the working of the organisation.
A graduate scheme is a great way to add credits to your CV before thinking about studying further or permanently working as a full-time employee. Graduate schemes last for typically 1 year to 4 years depending on the level of training and if they are any in-process absorptions.
Finding a graduate scheme is very difficult as they are not advertised frequently. It is always advised that you use your personal network to become a part of the graduate scheme at a company.
5 Alternatives To Graduate Schemes
If you have been unable to find a program that fits your job profile or are exploring your options, here are some alternatives to graduate schemes you might not have thought of.
Bootcamp doesn’t seem so challenging when you see it as an investment. Boot camps are intense training sessions that prepare candidates for a specialised skill and are designed for personal and professional development. Bootcamps in the fields of IT and coding have gained popularity in recent years.
There are no scholarships available for joining a Boot camp and the training fees is entirely paid by you. A boot camp can last for a duration of six weeks to six months depending on the subject you have chosen and the area of specialisation. Joining boot camps are perfect alternatives to graduate schemes as you can fully explore the subject of your interest and can make a sound decision of whether you want to continue learning the field or not.
Join A Start-Up
Joining a startup will help you to wear many hats and facilitate inter-department collaboration. Joining a start-up means that the business has not yet reached its break-even point and has essentially lasted for less than three years. Start-ups do not have a massive capital as it is still in its growth stage. In such situations, employees work across the boundaries of their departments and take the onus of contributing their skills and expertise to the development of the organisation. The skills may or may not be limited to your job position, and you collaborate with the right people in the concerned departments to run and grow the business.
Joining a start-up is a great way to understand the foundations of a business and inculcate the responsibilities of an entrepreneur. Moreover, you gain a better understanding of using resources optimally.
Become an Entrepreneur
Becoming an entrepreneur has proven to be the first step to becoming a millionaire by the age of 30. One of the most achievable and popular alternatives to graduate schemes is starting your own business. If you have worked in a start-up before, you must already be aware of a typical business’s trajectory and the role of an entrepreneur in expanding it by turning the business profitable. Entrepreneurship has got everything to do with knowing the right people for the right job. Working at a start-up helps you learn to make optimum utilisation of resources, but becoming an entrepreneur would mean you know and arrange the source of these resources.
Do Internships and Invest
Internships are a great way to broaden your employment portfolio and gain an understanding of the nature of the market, its trends and the demands of the hour. Getting short term internships will help you explore the various different pay scales companies are offering in turn for your talent. Doing internships and apprenticeships are great alternatives to graduate schemes but you aren’t making full use of the money you are earning if you aren’t investing it somewhere. Short term internships will help you justify any gaps in your CV if you are planning on applying for a full-time job later.
You already know about the benefits of saving and investing money early in your life. If you are earning money through freelancing frequently or doing short term investments, it is suggested that you save and invest at least 20% of your income for the future. There are several reasons why you should do this and retiring early and going on a world tour is just one of them.
Consider Gathering Certificates and Completing Courses
There are a number of online courses that are designed for students who are in the right frame of mind to learn but do not want to commit to a university degree or a graduate scheme. If you are such a student, you must consider gathering as many certificates as you can by completing online courses. Online learning is a great way to broaden your area of expertise and get certified by the relevant authorities. There are several websites such as Udemy and Coursera that offer online courses in more than 100 specialisations.
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