A degree has its limits on graduate training schemes

 

When I applied for university in 2009 I was sure it was the right thing to be doing – mainly because the additional qualification would surely convince potential employers that basic things like typing my own name in Microsoft Word were not beyond my comprehension, but also because with any luck by the time I graduated all this “recession” nonsense would be a thing of the past.

But alas, along with many of the assumptions I started my degree with, this has been proved wrong.

I sit here now searching for these elusive graduate training schemes.

Only a few of the largest companies are offering them in the first place and even once you have found the ideal one there are obstacles. The first is this worrying new trend of asking, and making decisions based on, how many Ucas points you have. Throughout my education I was assured that with each new level you achieved the previous ones became irrelevant.

Yet despite these promises I now find myself, six years after completing said A-levels, being forced to type my pathetically small number into an online form so that a multitude of highprofile companies such as Sainsbury’s can stop me in my tracks and reject my application without even asking why my score was so low.

I can see the logic behind it – if you have several thousand applicants for 20 jobs you need to get the list down somehow – but surely they are missing out on talent because of it. What relevance does passing A-levels have to the real world anyway?

The second obstacle is the sheer quantity of the competition. I recently attended an assessment centre for a graduate scheme I applied for in November, and in the introductory presentation we were congratulated on being among the 120 applicants to have been invited for assessment out of a total 3,500. This list has to be trimmed still further to just 16. The thing that constantly surprises me, however, is that at every recruitment event I attend I face competition not only from new graduates but from people who graduated last summer.

My university has included a module as part of the course this year which aims to help improve our employability.

The programme is geared towards applying for jobs in March when to get a good one you need to start looking in October, but the lecturer summed up what we need quite well. She asked how many of us had done a relevant placement, how many had other paid jobs, and how many were on course to get a 2:1 or above. She said these were the three things we needed. Only five people in the room had all three.

The writer is studying marketing at the University of Northampton

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Marketing & Social Media Executive

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Marketing Graduate or...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Services Graduate Training Scheme

£20000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a successful and establ...

SPONSORED FEATURES

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory