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As Personnel Today prepares for its annual awards gala on 16 November, we profile the employers hoping to secure an award for Graduate Scheme of the Year.
Infinity Works (part of Accenture)
In 2016, Infinity Works launched an academy as a career entry path into the tech sector. The 12-week programme leads to a role as an entry-level software engineer or consultant. Since the launch, 66% of graduates hired have risen to senior consultant level. To meet increased demand for engineers, it decided to enhance the programme in 2020.
Last year the company changed the selection process to focus on candidates’ passion for learning rather than their background. The September 2020 cohort therefore included 13 graduates, two third-year placements and a career changer. The Academy was launched as a sub-brand to help it stand out from other graduate recruitment schemes, hosting guest lectures and offering interview skills training.
During Covid, Infinity Works brought a further 42 people into the business, despite moving to a remote model. Former graduates deliver many of the programmes so new recruits learn from people with recent experience of the role they will move into. The scheme has been recognised by youth employment charity Generation, which has run a version of the scheme for its own service users. A similar programme was also run at Sainsbury’s.
The company was acquired by Accenture in February 2021. Some 81 of the 450 Infinity Works employees came up through the academy, so will play a key role in its future.
MBDA is a defence engineering company that designs missile systems for the UK armed forces, employing 4,000 people. A large proportion of its demographic is due to retire in the next 10 to 15 years, so a robust talent pipeline is crucial for its succession plans.
Early careers staff make up around 8% of the workforce at MBDA, and there are around 170 graduates on its graduate schemes. These two-year programmes span engineering, operations, business and finance, with four rotational placements across the organisation. Graduates receive on-the-job training from managers and colleagues, and are encouraged to seek professional registration where appropriate.
The graduate scheme sits alongside an apprenticeship programme, and the apprenticeship levy has enabled the company to expand the range of qualifications it offers, including leadership and management qualifications and maste