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Insights What are the pros and cons of a graduate scheme?


Let’s be honest - it can be hard deciding on what to do after university. 

If you’re in the process of thinking about your next steps, you might end up thinking ‘Is it worth doing a graduate scheme?’. 

What we’re here to do is give you a transparent look at some of the pros and cons of graduate schemes so you can make an informed decision about where your next chapter will take you. 

We recognize that graduate schemes might not be for everyone and that’s completely fine. Whatever your experience and background, it’s vital to make informed decisions when it comes to your career path. 

If you’re ready to find out more, then read on.

The pros of graduate schemes

You’re wondering ‘What can I get out of a graduate scheme?’, well, here are four advantages of graduate schemes to factor into your decision. 

1. Expand your skills to enhance your career 

During your graduate scheme, you’ll learn valuable transferable skills throughout. 

From project management, team building, understanding client expectations, and problem-solving, there really is no cap on what skills you’ll develop and refine, especially when taking into account the hands-on experience you get in different areas of a company. 

Don’t just take it from us though, take it from Emma, one of our Graduate Electrical Engineers

2. Follow a structured training programme

Learning valued transferable skills aside, graduate schemes also equip you with industry knowledge and experience. That means a step into a graduate scheme is one step on the ladder to becoming a specialist in your chosen field. 

Our Graduate Development Programme is a framework that helps to bridge the gap between finishing your degree and practical application, seamlessly transitioning you into the professional world. This on-the-job learning provides you with a plethora of training and development opportunities from day one.

At AtkinsRéalis, our structured training programmes provide endless opportunities to take your career in the direction that you want. 

Whether the scheme is in rail consulting, surveying, civil engineering, software, environment, (or many more), there are a lot of opportunities here for graduates from a wide range of disciplines to start their journey.

3. Rewards and benefits

You’ll be building up your career and advancing your prospects all with supported career development. 

Here at AtkinsRéalis, we’re proud to offer flexible working arrangements to all of our employees. 

We also offer a settling-in payment for those joining our graduate programmes, and company-wide development programmes to name just a few rewards and benefits you can expect.

4. Engineer a better future with likeminded people

If you care about making a meaningful difference in your future career, then look no further than AtkinsRéalis.

We’re on a mission to make the planet a better place for future generations and we’re driven to create sustainable solutions while connecting people, data, and technology. 

When you’re on a graduate scheme with AtkinsRéalis, you can take pride in knowing you’re on a dynamic, vibrant like-minded team as well as in an active early careers community that’s pushing the boundaries of design, project management, and engineering. 

It’s also a fantastic opportunity to build a professional network of people with similar interests while learning from mentors with similar academic backgrounds.

The cons of graduate schemes

While it’s true that graduate schemes offer many opportunities, there are some things you should keep in mind before going down this path. We’ve explored three below. 

1. Competition

Getting into a graduate scheme can be highly competitive. 

With higher entry requirements, relevant work experience, and sometimes testing or presentations, it can feel like there are a lot of hoops to jump through to secure a position. 

But try not to worry too much about it. 

Every application process helps you familiarize yourself with what’s expected as well as giving you a taste for finding out what interests you most. And once you get on to a graduate scheme, it’s worth it for the hard work you’ve put in.

2. Higher expectations

Compared to some entry-level roles, graduate schemes often have higher expectations once you start, this is in part due to the competitive process it took to get there. It could give a chance for some imposter syndrome to creep in.

Don’t stress about this though, as you’d have really earned your place there and you’ll be surrounded by other graduates in the same boat to build lasting connections with. In our supportive environment, you’ll be championed by buddies and mentors, taking comfort in the knowledge that everyone wants you to succeed.

3. Challenging projects

Competitive graduate schemes can involve working on some pretty high-impact and challenging projects. 

It might take some time to adjust and adapt to working with some high-profile clients on some groundbreaking projects but you’ll have constant support in your growth, experience to make your resume shine, and a real sense of accomplishment.

Make big things happen with AtkinsRéalis

We hope we’ve answered your question of ‘is it worth doing a graduate scheme?’.

Now you know both sides of the graduate scheme debate, you’ve got the resources to weigh up if it’s a good fit for you. 

If working on projects that have a positive impact on communities and our planet, working alongside mentors and like-minded peers, and refining your skills is something that resonates with you, then you might just have your answer.

We’re always searching for curious minds who do things differently while asking questions to work on our groundbreaking projects.

Learn more about our Graduate Development Programme today to see if AtkinsRéalis is where you’ll take the first step on your career journey.