Am I too old for graduate schemes?

Oct 29, 2019

If you graduated a while ago, but are interested in getting a place on a graduate scheme, you may be wondering “Am I too old for graduate schemes?”

In this post, we will help you to make informed decisions about your career and reassure you if you are concerned about your age.

Am I too old for graduate schemes? The short answer.  

In short, no. Whilst most candidates on a graduate scheme will be in their early 20s, you can complete your degree at any stage of your life. Therefore, if you were a mature student you’ll be eligible to apply for graduate schemes.

Mature graduates with relevant qualifications can offer valuable experience gained from working in different fields.

After all, it would be age discrimination if you were denied a place on a graduate scheme due to your age. Age discrimination is illegal in the UK. Furthermore, many companies are actively trying to increase the diversity of their graduate hires.

Am I too old for graduate schemes? A more detailed answer 

If you graduated several years ago, and have a few years of experience under your belt, some companies may encourage you to look at positions for experienced hires.  

This is because graduate schemes are designed for candidates with little or no work experience. 

Graduate schemes are highly structured training programs, often with rotational placements. 

Many recent graduates who aren’t quite sure of what they want to do after university benefit from gaining varied experience. 

However, this does not mean you cannot apply for a graduate scheme if you already have years of experience. 

Start by researching the companies that you are interested in applying to. 

You may find that some graduate schemes require candidates to have graduated within a certain timeframe such as 12 months. 

If this information isn’t on the website and you’d like to be sure if you are eligible before sending your application, don’t hesitate to contact the graduate recruitment team.

Assess your reasons for wanting to do a graduate scheme if you already have years of experience. 

Some people consider joining a graduate scheme if they are changing their career into a new field that they do not have experience in. 

A graduate scheme in the new field that you are interested in can help you to get your foot in the door. 

However, just because you are changing your career, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get an entry-level position. 

This is because you will have gained a range of transferable skills. You will be able to demonstrate your aptitude to learn quickly on the job.

Graduate scheme vs graduate job: Which one is best for you? 

too old for graduate schemes

A graduate scheme is a highly structured, full-time training programme that is designed for graduates with little or no work experience. 

They generally last for 1-4 years and some times require candidates to take formal qualifications or rotate around different areas of the business. 

On successful completion of a graduate, scheme candidates may be encouraged to apply for a permanent job at the company. Or the candidate might decide to find a job at another company.

Graduate jobs, on the other hand, are less structured and open for candidates who have a degree. You can apply for graduate jobs at any age or stage of your life, so long as you meet the entry requirements. 

Some inspiration 

Here’s a story by Becca Hulton, who successfully secured a place on a graduate scheme at Deloitte.

Becca had graduated 4 years before securing her place on the graduate scheme.

Andrew Jones, a graduate of the Open University was successful in landing a graduate job at Network Rail on the Engineering programme.

Andrew had 8 years of experience prior to taking on this graduate role.

If you still think you are too old for a graduate scheme, think again.

What to do if you are unsure of what to do 

Get in touch with us!

Here at Graduate Coach, we have helped mature students and older graduates to get the right job for them. 

Whether you are considering a career change, or are looking for your first graduate-level job we can help you. 

Am I too old for graduate schemes: summary 

We hope this post has helped you if you are considering applying for a grad scheme. 

When it comes to applying for graduate schemes, your age shouldn’t be an issue. There is no age limit for graduate schemes.

Recruiters for graduate schemes will be more interested in your work history/number of years of experience. 

If you already have a lot of experience, some companies may advise you to apply for other graduate roles.

This is because they are looking for candidates with little or no work experience to offer training to. 

Regardless of when you graduated or how old you are, we can help you.

We have helped candidates who struggled for several years after university to find a graduate job. We have also helped people with years of experience to transition into new fields and navigate their career change successfully.

The Seven Secrets of Success

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Download your free copy of our guide that reveals the seven secrets of success when it comes to landing a graduate job.

  • Learn seven things you can implement today to enhance your job search strategy.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the graduate job market.
  • Find out how you can find your dream job with guidance from a graduate coach.

Please see our Jobs page for graduate jobs.

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