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Student Placements and Graduate Recruitment

We are looking at introducing student placements and/or graduate programmes. Has anyone had any recent experience of recruiting graduates or student placements that they are willing to share?
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  • Hi Caroline,

    I have a lot of experience in this area and would be happy to share my thoughts with you, but it would be good to know more about your organisation and what you are hoping to achieve by introducing graduates or interns first so I can give you more relevant advice.

    What industry are you in? How many people do you employ currently? Where are you currently recruiting from? How many students do you think you would like to recruit? What do you hope to offer them?

    Many thanks,

    Lesley 

  • Hi Lesley


    We are an education organisation (about 1000 employees) and have various departmens from marketing, finance, operations, procurement, HR and L&D. We are looking at administrative roles in the various departments and how we can attract graduates and/or student placements.   


    Thanks


     


    Caroline


     

  • Hi Caroline

    Would without reservation recommend

     http://www.step.org.uk/

     

    - they've done it all before, for donkeys years !!

  • Hi Caroline,

    Sorry for the slow follow up - been out of the office for a few days.

    I think if you have specific admin roles in mind, I would consider getting the vacancies listed on local university career services websites if you do not already.

    One advantage of these sites over the more general milk-round sites is it is often somewhere that graduates who are keen to stay local and not interested in the big name grad schemes will look first for potential jobs. They are usually free and just require a bit of your time to submit the relevant vacancy details. Careers Services are a great resource for employers, so anything you can do to engage with them is worth investigating.

    Some universities have some great schemes you can get involved with like the University of Salford's "Unite with Business" scheme, which creates partnerships with local employers and the university. Business studies master's students are able to do placements instead of a dissertation, selecting from a range of projects supplied by Unite with Business employers. 

    A wider consideration may be what you intend to offer the graduates in terms of development opportunities and progression.

    Is it simply an admin role you would expect them to occupy for some time?

    Is there an opportunity to start in that role and progress within a specific function, perhaps doing further training or working towards professional qualifications (CIM/CIMA/CIPD etc)?

    Or would you consider offering rotational placements in different sectors within your business so they can get exposure to different areas and an overall view of your business and then at the end of the fixed period of time they could apply to internal vacancies within their preferred area? 

     

  • Thank you Lesley that is really useful. Yes we are considering rotational placements in different sectors.


     


    Caroline

  • In reply to Lesley:

    Hello Lesley,
    I have just found your post. I can see it goes back all the way to 2014, given that it is now 2018 there is every chance you do not pick up this post! However, in the hope that you do, l wonder if you have experience of setting up and running a graduate training scheme?
    Kind regards
    Brian Weaver
  • In reply to Brian Weaver:

    Hi Brian, Yes, I am still around. I do have some experience in this area, although most of my work has been working with established graduate schemes to improve the quality of their programmes. I'm currently on a 2 year contract working in HR in the Falkland Islands though, so am a little bit away from this work. How can I help?
  • In reply to Lesley:

    Perfect! Thank you Lesley - hope it is not too cold for you there just now. I have to put a graduate training (GT) scheme together, something l have never done before and so l guess l am at the point where l don't know, what it is l don't know, if that makes any sense. Some of the questions l have are:

    What does a GT look like?
    How does it work/run e.g. are there actual training classes or is it about mentoring or work experience or all three ?
    How do you put one together?
    Typically how long does one last?
    Who owns or administrates it?
    Would you have a sample proposal?
    Any idea where l might go for information about GT schemes?

    Don't worry Lesley, l am not expecting you to have answers to all of the above but anything you can provide would help.

    Kind regards, Brian
  • In reply to Brian Weaver:

    It is summer in the Falkland Islands at the moment, so not too cold, although we've had some fairly awful weather over the last few days. We needed the rain though, as it was getting to the stage we may have needed a hosepipe ban. 

    What does a GT look like?

    This really depends on the organisation, the roles you need to hire and the reasons you are hiring graduates in these roles.

    Some schemes may have a single annual intake (often in Aug-Oct) where graduates start with a big initial induction and then get on the job experience, others may take graduates all year around into specific jobs or in small "cohorts" every few months. It really depends on your business.

    How does it work/run e.g. are there actual training classes or is it about mentoring or work experience or all three ?

    Usually it would be all three and more. It's about peer learning, mentoring or coaching, formal learning, work experience and anything else you can do to make the scheme a success - it's about helping graduates to start their careers and feel part of something and to want to build their career with your organisation or in your profession. It is giving them the skills via formal training and challenges via on-the-job learning to stretch and develop, as well as the support to ensure they cope with those challenges.

    How do you put one together?

    Think about what you want your graduates to do. Where you are going to get them from? What skills do they need?

    Design the programme and recruit some graduates to join.

    Hire them, train them, move them beyond the scheme.. evolve and repeat.

    Typically how long does one last?

    2 years is typical, but anything from 6 months to four years (if someone needs professional qualifications to do the job (e.g. Finance), it may take longer to develop those skills)

    Who owns or administrates it?

    Usually HR in partnership with the business divisions that are looking for new talent. Sometimes there will be a third-party supplier bought in to manage elements e.g. the mass recruitment exercise involved in finding your graduates.

    Would you have a sample proposal?

    Nothing I could share with you unfortunately, as I'm no longer working with those organisations. 

    I also think it's really important any proposal you develop carefully considers the organisation you are working in and what their specific needs are, so I would develop your own proposal.

    Any idea where l might go for information about GT schemes?

    Yes, lots of places.

    The number one resource is the Institute of Student Employers (formerly known as the Association of Graduate Recruiters). They have a list of suppliers who can help with recruitment, training and consultancy to help you set up your scheme. They also run an awards scheme and will feature some of the best schemes in their magazine - it can be a great place to read case studies and get to know how schemes may be structured. 

    As mentioned back in 2014, I would also talk to your local university Career Services about what they offer for employers. They can be a great source of free and low-cost support, because ultimately they want their students to get jobs and it is in their interest to work with local employers to do that. 

  • In reply to Lesley:

    That is useful Lesley and very much appreciated - thank you!
  • In reply to Brian Weaver:

    My other number one tip is you MUST have real, graduate-level, challenging work for them to do. Don't hire graduates into basic admin jobs and expect them to stay - they will get bored and leave. You need to stretch them. Don't treat them as a supplementary resource and use them for the "nice-to-haves" that no one else gets time for either. They want to feel like they are making a difference to the organisation they are working for and doing genuine impactful work. The best way to learn is to be thrown in the deep end, so you need to give them that opportunity to learn on the job.
  • In reply to Lesley:

    Yes, l agree, very important - much appreciated Lesley
    With kind regards, Brian