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Want To Find Out More About Construction Graduate Schemes?

Graduate schemes are a great way to start a successful career within the construction industry. We know it can sometimes be daunting to research what's required, what’s involved and how you apply, but don’t panic! We've put together a guide that will help you when looking for the right construction graduate scheme.

What should I consider when looking into graduate schemes? 

There are three key factors to consider when deciding which graduate scheme to apply for, and it often comes down to personal preference.

The first factor is the size of company, as the size of the company can sometimes affect the style of the scheme. A large company may have more recruitment budget to play with, and so they could select a larger number of graduates to join the programme, this may mean there'll be less one-on-one training and more group-based activities. However, it could also mean that you'll have greater exposure to bigger and more prestigious projects.

A smaller company may have a smaller recruitment budget, meaning they'd hire fewer graduates and offer more one-on-one training. The size of the company can also have an impact on how much they contribute financially towards your qualifications and membership fees, they can mount up quickly and become costly, but are well worth it! This varies from employer to employer, so we suggest that you spend time researching companies before applying. 

The second factor to consider is which profession you wish to pursue as a career. There are many options, but the core professions include Quantity Surveying, Building Surveying, Project Management, Construction Management, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering and Design Engineering. However, if you choose one of these professions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can't change your mind. Due to there being so much opportunity in the construction industry, there will be chances to specialise or to diversify throughout your career. For example, if you chose to undertake a Civil Engineering graduate scheme, you could receive opportunities to move into a Planning or Site Management role later on in your career, as you'd have transferrable skills and the knowledge that employers are looking for.

The third factor is salary. As a graduate on a graduate scheme, you'd be paid a salary plus a benefits package, which will vary from employer to employer. We've put together a list of the average salaries and benefits across the UK construction industry, which will help you to find out what you're likely to receive. Again, this varies from employer to employer, so we suggest you research companies that you like the look of, as well as companies that excite you with the types of projects that they're involved in. Then, make a shortlist of preferred employers! This will narrow down your choices and make your decision a lot simpler.

What does a graduate scheme involve?

A graduate scheme typically takes anywhere between 2-5 years to complete, varying from profession to profession and employer to employer. You usually attend an induction before you get started, which can take anything from a couple of days to a full month. This is where you find more out about the company, including the company's values, history, brand and policies, their health and safety requirements and more. It's also an opportunity to meet your fellow graduates and to take part in team-building activities.

Most graduate schemes will focus on three core areas, usually a combination of technical learning, practical experience and professional development. In some cases, they can be split up into separate modules, and they often take the form of on-site and off-site training across a variety of projects, to give you increased exposure to the company and its work and a broad base to build a career on.

Throughout the graduate scheme, you'll be mentored on a day-to-day basis by a senior employee or line manager, who is sometimes referred to as a ‘buddy’. Their job is to offer you advice and guidance throughout your training. As most graduate schemes lead to you becoming fully chartered, you're often mentored by a ‘professional body mentor’, who will help you towards your chartership. However, this does depend on the employer, and if you aren’t assigned a professional body mentor then your ‘buddy’ can also help you towards your chartership.

A lot of employers also put emphasis on networking with peers, and many hold graduate events throughout the year to offer you the opportunity to meet senior members of the team and fellow graduates in other areas of the business. The ultimate aim of a graduate scheme is to support you in achieving chartership in your chosen professional body, and to equip you with the technical skills and the knowledge you need to carry out your role to the highest standard possible.

What happens when the graduate scheme ends?

After you've successfully completed the graduate scheme, you'll usually receive a promotion, meaning your salary will more than likely be increased. In some cases, you may have completed the graduate scheme but not your chartership, and so you'd need to continue working towards your full chartership. 

At this point, most companies will also place you on a development programme, enabling you to work towards middle and senior management level. This could also be a good time to see what’s available elsewhere in the market, to ensure you're being paid what you should be.

To find out more about the typical salaries within the industry, check out our construction salary survey. You can also take a look at our construction job descriptions, which cover key professions across the industry.

I want to find out how to apply for a graduate construction scheme!

If a construction graduate scheme sounds like the right career move for you, check out what you need to do to apply for a graduate scheme. We also suggest that you investigate which qualifications and skills are required, to make sure you have the basic requirements to get into the construction industry.