I need advice on graduate training

I am in my final year studying towards a degree in HRM and expect to get a
2:1. I am aware of the fierce competition in the graduate labour market, so
have started my job search early. However, I am finding the availability of
graduate training in HR very sparse. Could you advise me of companies that
offer a solid training programme for graduates in HR?

Jo Selby, director, EJ Human Resources

Some organisations offer graduate training programmes in HR, but they are
few and far between, so the competition is intense. You are wise to start
searching early, as many graduate programmes have early closing dates for
applications, many of which are pre-Christmas. Your university careers service
would be the best place to go, as it will be able to point you in the right

A graduate training programme is not the most usual route into HR. Most
graduates join an organisation as an HR administrator, enabling them to a gain
a grounding in the function. To secure a role such as this, register with
recruitment agencies after completing your finals. In the meantime, any general
administration experience will be beneficial.

Clive Sussums, recruitment consultant, Malpas Flexible Learning

You deserve praise for commencing your job search as early as possible
despite the pressures involved with your final year studies. I know from my own
experience how difficult it is achieving this job search/study volume balance
in the final degree year.

The competition for graduate training places is particularly fierce this
year due to reduction in intake by most companies and the economic situation.
It will be difficult to find graduate training schemes that specifically focus
on HR. Companies frequently recruit graduates with a view to resourcing roles
in various functions including HR. Many programmes will concentrate more on
your chosen specialism in the second year of employment.

It would be sensible to contact all the major employers in the UK who are
likely to have well-established graduate schemes. It would also be useful to
contact medium-size FTSE 250 companies as there may be opportunities there.
Companies may not have specific graduate training programmes but recruit
one-off graduates for HR from time to time.

Peter Lewis, consultant, Chiumento

It is great that you have recognised the need to get into your job searching
early. It is also true that a degree does not guarantee you a job, so you need
to be meticulous in covering the different avenues.

First stop is the "milkround" graduate selection scheme, which
involves larger organisations with structured programmes – both generalist and
specific to HR. Contact the careers service at your college to find out which
employers are participating – it could even be worth applying to employers
visiting nearby colleges.

Secondly, use your careers library to research organisations to write to
directly. Smaller firms often do not have a full-scale graduate recruitment
programme, but they may still offer training opportunities and there is likely
to be less competition for these positions than there is on the high-profile
milk-round. The CIPD is a further source of advice on formal graduate training

If you have a year’s work experience as part of your degree, you could also
be of interest to the HR recruitment consultants.

Getting your first job is going to be a challenge, but you have already
started well.

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