Can I do a graduate scheme at 30?

May 24, 2020

There are a few reasons why you might be considering applying for graduate schemes in your thirties. 

If you’re in this situation and are wondering “can I do a graduate scheme at 30” this post is for you! 

We will outline why graduate schemes are not just for 21-year-olds and we will share some tips on how to use your experience to get a place on your dream graduate scheme. 

Why you might be considering a graduate scheme at 30

#1: You were a mature student 

There is no age limit for attending university and getting your degree. Perhaps you started your degree in your late twenties and now you would like to launch your graduate career, by doing a structured graduate scheme. 

A graduate scheme will help you to further develop your knowledge and skills whilst also giving you the opportunity to build up your experience.  

If this is the case for you, and you want to know if you can do a graduate scheme at 30, the answer is yes! 

You can certainly apply for graduate schemes at 30! Employers are not allowed to discriminate against you on the basis of your age. 

During your job search, you may come across a few graduate scheme job descriptions that state they only take graduates who have a maximum of one year of experience. Although positions like these will be far and few between. 

#2: You’ve recently finished your Master’s degree

Whilst many graduates embark on their Master’s degree straight after their undergraduate studies, there are many advantages of doing a Master’s after gaining a few years of experience. 

For example, doing a Master’s after gaining a few years of work experience will help you to study a programme that is in line with your interests and career aspirations. 

Perhaps you embarked on a Master’s at 30 and now wish to complete a graduate scheme in a specific field related to your postgraduate studies and previous work history. 

Whilst the majority of graduate schemes do not require a Master’s degree, if you have one in a related field as well as relevant work experience you may be able to demonstrate your aptitude well and stand out. 

If you aspire to work in a specialist field such as software engineering, data science or economic consulting, for example, having a Master’s degree might be desirable to some graduate recruiters who are looking for graduates who possess specialist knowledge in certain fields. 

If you are wondering: “can I do a graduate scheme at 30 after doing a master’s?” The answer is yes! Again, employers will be interested in not only your postgraduate studies but also your previous experience and the transferable skills you gained. 

Photo by Ekrulila from Pexels

#3: You are thinking of changing your career 

Maybe you graduated a decade ago and already have substantial experience under your belt. Perhaps you are now ready to pivot your career in a new direction and pursue your passion or work in a more lucrative field. 

Maybe you have done plenty of research into your new career path, and feel as though starting off in an entry-level position is the right move for you. 

If you are in this situation you are not alone. Many people do not discover their ideal career path for several years. Once they do they are happy to start at entry-level, or even take a pay cut to pursue a career that they truly love. 

In specialised fields such as technology, it is quite common for career changers to start in more junior graduate roles before working their way up. 

#4: You haven’t been able to secure a graduate-level job yet 

As mentioned above, many people do not discover their career path for many years. 

In fact, 48% of graduates do not get a graduate-level job and work in roles that do not require a degree. 

Maybe you have been underemployed for a few years or feel as though you are stuck in a dead-end job

Maybe you would like to do a graduate scheme at 30 because you now have a clearer understanding of your goals and interests and would like to challenge yourself to pursue your dream career. 

Applying for a graduate scheme at 30 blog graphic

Tips for getting onto a graduate scheme at 30 

The competition for graduate schemes is fierce. In order to get a place on a graduate scheme, you will need to successfully navigate the rigorous, multi-stage application process. 

The application process for graduate schemes consists of:

  • Submitting an online application
  • Completing online tests
  • Completing a series of interviews that might be video, telephone and face-to-face
  • Attending an assessment centre 

Many graduate employers recruit on a rolling basis, so be sure to apply early, and read our post on when to apply for graduate schemes

Here are some tips for getting onto a graduate scheme at 30 

#1: Use your experience to your advantage


If you have several years of experience of working full-time, you will certainly have a wealth of employability skills that graduate recruiters look for in candidates.

Your experience and the transferable skills that you have will give you a competitive advantage over the graduates who have very little work experience, or none at all.

Draw upon your experience and demonstrate your skills throughout the entire application process. 

#2: Conduct in-depth research

Take some time to reflect on the hard and soft skills that you have acquired so far. This will help you to identify the grad schemes that are most suitable for you.

Research each company that you are interested in so that you can tailor your applications to each one.

For every graduate scheme you apply for, you must be able to answer these three questions: 

  • Do I have the skills and competencies to do the job?
  • Why do I want the job?
  • Do I understand what the company wants and needs?  

Also, before embarking on this route, find out if there are alternatives. Perhaps you can get a graduate job that will help you to achieve your career goals. Is a graduate scheme worth it for you?

#3: Invest in interview coaching 

Interviewing is a skill that many people never truly master. When it comes to graduate scheme interviews, in order to stand out for the right reasons, you must present yourself well and demonstrate what you have to offer. 

Here are Graduate Coach, we offer two types of interview coaching: 

Summary: Getting a graduate scheme at 30 

Thanks for taking the time to read our post on getting a graduate scheme at 30. Regardless of your age, you are not too old for graduate schemes

Be sure to do your research, and if you do decide to apply for graduate schemes, send out high-quality applications and leverage the work experience that you have gained so far.  

Your experience, transferable skills and aptitude to learn new things will help you to stand out for the right reasons and land your dream job. 

Our latest posts

6 Effective Communication Skills To Develop In 2020
Jun 28, 2020

6 Effective Communication Skills To Develop In 2020

Effective communication is one of the most highly sought-after skills. Not only does it allow you to understand other people and situations more...

Read post
7 Tips for Working Remotely
Jun 23, 2020

7 Tips for Working Remotely

The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a surge in the number of people working remotely across the globe. It is expected that many employers...

Read post
LinkedIn for Graduates: Personal Branding To Land Your Dream Job
Jun 21, 2020

LinkedIn for Graduates: Personal Branding To Land Your Dream Job

We’ve all been there, straight out of education and into the world of business. We may see our friends and classmates securing new internships and...

Read post
See All Blog Posts