Are Graduate and Post 18 Training schemes a good way into employment? In our guest post, Alexandra Johnson explores the best way to get started.
Making the leap from education to employment has never been tougher. At a time when people are being forced to take pay cuts or to reapply for their own positions on new terms, and when departments decimated by cuts have left long-term employees enduring sleepless nights, there are even more challenges for young people stepping into the workplace for the very first time. And the biggest challenge is simply this: figures show there that just aren’t enough jobs.
The cut-throat job market means that ‘getting ahead of the game’ isn’t something to which young people should pay mere lip service, nor think of as an attractive way of embellishing their CVs. Taking active steps to leapfrog the stagnant pool of foundering jobseekers demands determination, imagination and plenty of effort. Here, we take some of the hard work out of the process by presenting a few of the options that can make a world of difference, whether you’re planning to study for a degree, leaning towards an apprenticeship, or heading straight for the workplace.
Plan A for bean counters
Many individual firms offer attractive deals to school leavers who make the grade. If you’re the type of methodical, super-organised person who’s got your whole life mapped out – or simply know for sure which career path you’d like to tread and have the exam results to back you up – there’s a host of in-house school-leaver training programmes that’ll help you sidestep the quagmire and get a job – and possibly a degree or professional qualification to boot.
KPMG, for example, offers a six-year school-leaver programme that’ll culminate in a position as a fully qualified accountant within its audit team. They pay all your tuition fees – and even your accommodation costs – as you take an accounting degree and, if all goes according to plan, you’ll start your career with a salary of £20,000 working with a firm with a worldwide reputation for excellence. You’ll need good A-Level and GCSE results, and you must be able to prove your mettle in a one-to-one interview – a small price to pay for job security and prospects that should see you right through to that happy retirement you’ve planned for.
If KPMG isn’t up your street, there are many other companies that offer schemes to budding accountants. Try CIPFA,RSM Tenon – or search in your local area; Francis Clark, for example, is a chartered accountant firm based in the southwest that offers attractive schemes for school leavers.
Hands up for hands on
There are plenty of options for those who find practical work more fulfilling. If you’re drawn to construction, try Laing O’Rourke for a scholarship scheme they say is designed for ‘the brightest and most ambitious students’. They recommend signing up as early as possible in order to maximise the number of placements you undertake.
The National Grid offers an integrated scheme with plenty of practical experience combined with academic study – the perks being a degree in electrical power engineering or gas transmission engineering and a starting salary of £23,500, quickly jumping to £31,000 – plus a car ‘to support with the travel during your training’ – now that’s the kind of support you need.
When it comes to apprenticeships, don’t be afraid to look locally for schemes. Many local firms are happy to take on apprentices, and there’s a big push from the Government to incentivise this form of employment.
Check out your terms of employment beforehand, and don’t succumb to anyone wittering about apprentices being paid a pittance while doing twice the work – today’s jobs market is all about working hard and working your way up, and if you can prove to future employers that you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk, that’s worth bags of wannabe posturing. You may have to start small, but that’s the natural order of things.
To secure a job today, you need more than a ‘PMA’ or ‘can-do attitude’; more than ‘blue sky thinking’ or ‘thinking outside the box’. Ditch the worn-out clichés and show employers that you can get your hands dirty – that you’re prepared to put in the hours and be the master of your own destiny. Because the time for looking the part on paper has passed. Cometh the hour, cometh the kick-ass worker.
Written by Alexandra Johnson on behalf of Bromsgrove School.
Image of training scheme from Flickr