Are you looking to be accepted onto a project management graduate scheme?
This guide will provide you with information on a variety of project management grad schemes, giving you a better idea of the options out there in this exciting sector and helping your chances of making a successful application.
As well as including everything you need to know about which companies are offering graduate scheme opportunities in this area, we also provide you with some top tips about the steps you can take during your job search in order to impress them and stand out from the crowd.
What is a project management graduate scheme?
A graduate scheme is a work-based training programme undertaken for a set period of time (typically between one and three years), offered by some companies and institutions in order to develop the future leaders of their organisations.
Project management refers to the skill of leading a team engaged in working on a project, ensuring that all the goals of the client are satisfactorily fulfilled on time and within budget.
There are a variety of different types of project management, which can broadly be grouped into hard (physical) project management, such as managing construction projects, and soft (non-physical) project management, for instance managing the development of IT projects.
If you’re interested in learning more about graduate schemes in general, check out our complete guide to “what is a graduate scheme?”.
For more information on project management, have a look at the Association for Project Management’s page on “what is project management?”, or watch their video below.
Entry requirements for project management graduate schemes
Entry requirements tend to differ across different organisations and types of project management involved.
Some companies look to recruit graduates who hold a STEM degree relevant to the type of project management they specialise in.
However, many companies will consider candidates holding a degree from any subject, providing the degree is of a sufficient class to meet their minimum requirements.
Even amongst those companies who prefer to hire candidates with specific types of degree, for many this is not a hard rule, and some are prepared to sponsor their graduates through a master’s degree in order to get them up to speed.
Whilst some firms will require prospective applicants to their graduate scheme to hold a 2:1 degree, many list 2:2 as their minimum requirement.
Which organisations offer project management graduate schemes?
A wide variety of recruiters seek to take graduates onto their project management schemes each year.
To make your job search easier for you, we have compiled a useful list of some of the best project management graduate schemes available across the UK.
Don’t panic if you see that some are currently closed to new applications, as they will reopen the following year, giving you a chance to build your employability skills and experience in the meantime to boost your chances.
Here is our list of the top project management grad schemes in the country:
1. Network Rail
Network Rail are looking for graduates to join their two year project management grad scheme.
They offer two distinct pathways:
- Capital Delivery – project management across several functions including Construction, Planning, Strategy, Operations and Estimating
- Business Change Projects – project and business change management across a wide-ranging portfolio of national projects
Network Rail say their schemes offer the flexibility to specialise in areas corresponding with your interests, the opportunity to develop your skills and broader railway knowledge, and the chance to “really make a name for yourself” within their organisation.
Minimum requirements: 2:2 degree in any subject
Check out the Network Rail Project Management Graduate Scheme for more information.
Computacenter offer an 18 month scheme designed to fast track talented graduates into project management within the IT industry.
Computacenter promise the opportunity to work first-hand with major brands, a focus on career progression with strong mentorship and the potential to work abroad, and a great social environment.
Minimum Requirements: 2:1 degree achieved in the last 2 years in any subject.
Read more on the Computacenter Project Management Graduate Programme page.
Babcock’s project management graduate scheme lasts two to four years, and placements are available across the UK.
Babcock’s scheme offers the opportunity to develop yourself through placements on real projects, the chance to learn and progress every day, and access to mentoring from top engineering project management professionals.
- 2:1 Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
- To be able to satisfy the MoD’s security requirements (medical assessment may be required)
For more information, check out the Babcock project management graduate programme.
The BT project management graduate programme lasts for two years.
During this period, you would enjoy working on all aspects of running a project, receive mentoring from current Project Managers, and eventually become responsible for coordinating your own projects.
The scheme offers support for personal development and guidance on what area of project management you would like to specialise in.
Minimum Requirements: 2:1 degree in any subject or a 2:2 with a post-grad qualification.
Visit the BT Project Management Graduate Programme page for more information.
DHL’s 36-month structured programme promises exciting placement opportunities on medium to large projects for graduates with a real passion for project management.
Some of the DHL programme’s key selling points include:
- Early responsibility and fast progression
- Opportunity to work within fast-paced environments
- A framework of personal and professional development
- Support towards the professional Project Management Qualifications
If this placement appeals to you and you’d like to learn more, visit the page for the DHL UK Project Management Graduate Programme
Fujitsu offers graduates the opportunity to join their project management programme as a project associate.
The programme offers grads the chance to initially work in support of experienced project managers to learn the ropes of project delivery.
In time, the scheme entrusts graduates with the responsibility for delivery to customers within a project or programme environment independently.
Check out the Fujitsu graduate roles page for more info on Fujitsu’s project management graduate programme, or check out the video below to hear testimony about life on the scheme.
Artelia offer graduates with drive and enthusiasm the chance to join their 2-year programme and work on a ‘tremendously varied’ range of projects, from opening hotels to organising the dry docking of historic battleships.
They are a smaller firm than many on this list, which they say offers their graduates the chance to take responsibility much faster than at other organisations.
They are committed to training and development that goes beyond Chartership, offering graduates support in developing themselves ‘in the broadest sense’.
- Must be a recent graduate
- Must hold a 2:1 or above in a relevant undergraduate or Masters degree
For more information on this opportunity, visit the Artelia Graduate Programme page.
Atos describe their project management graduate scheme as an ‘intellectually stimulating opportunity that will help you learn how to manage the delivery of cutting-edge technology projects in a business’.
Some of the selling points Atos lists include:
- The opportunity to learn from immensely experienced project managers
- The chance to work in a rapidly changing environment
- Assignment to meaningful projects across a broad range of areas
- Ample chance for personal and professional training and development
- The opportunity to work for a global and diverse organisation
Minimum requirements: A technology or business degree or STEM qualification ‘would be beneficial’.
Click the following link for more information on Atos’ Project Management Graduate Scheme.
Renishaw is looking to recruit graduates with an understanding or interest in technology and/or engineering to become Graduate Project Coordinators.
The one-year scheme would place you within a product division, providing you the opportunity to drive a wide range of innovative products and services through concept phase to production.
Check out the page for the Renishaw Graduate Project Coordinator role for more info.
Mace is recruiting graduates for their Graduate Development Programme in project management.
The programme allows graduates to take responsibility for live projects from the outset, providing guidance, training and mentorship throughout the process.
Graduates have worked on projects around the world during the programme, in locations such as North America, Denmark, Vietnam and Dubai.
Check out the Mace Graduate Development Programme if you’re interested in learning more.
11. BAE Systems
BAE systems’ project management graduate programme offers grads the chance to work across a number of disciplines delivering a range of business and technical projects, programmes and IT Services.
Successful applicants will have accountability for the planning and delivery of projects across their entire lifecycle, and are supported by mentorship and guidance from experienced project managers.
Minimum requirements: 2:2 degree in any discipline
Read the BAE Systems Project Management Programme page for more information on this opportunity.
12. Mott Macdonald
Mott Macdonald’s Graduate Project Management Scheme gives motivated graduates the chance to be part of a team that controls every aspect of the project life-cycle, putting them immediately in the ‘thick of things’.
Your role would involve delivering projects across a wide variety of sectors including environment and water, nuclear, oil and gas, property, transportation and advisory services.
Minimum requirements: candidates have achieved, or are expected to achieve, a 2:1 degree in project management, construction management or civil engineering.
For more info, visit the Mott Macdonald early-careers page.
What Happens After the Graduate Scheme is Completed?
Completing a PM graduate scheme is a great achievement that will provide you with a great platform for launching a career in project management.
As you have probably gathered from reading through the graduate scheme listings provided, these graduate schemes offer structured training and development in project management, enabling you to develop your understanding of the sector and helping you to achieve Chartership and other qualifications.
Upon completion of the scheme, you may find that you are offered a permanent role within the organisation if they are happy with your performance.
Alternatively, you may wish to use the skills and experience you have gained, as well as your new-found insights into which areas of the industry most interest you, to aid you in landing a role at another organisation.
What to do if your applications are unsuccessful
First of all, try not to be too crestfallen. Project management graduate schemes are very competitive and always receive a great many more applicants than there are places.
If you’ve been unsuccessful, you can always apply again the following year. The key is to use this time to improve your employability skills to boost your chances of being successful next go around – and we can help with that.
Find out more information on how we can help you improve your chances through our one-to-one graduate career coaching programme
Tips for graduates from a non-STEM background
As you may have noticed whilst reading through the various programme descriptions we have listed, Project Management work often involves managing highly technical works such as large-scale engineering projects or software development.
Subsequently, many employers state that a background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) would be beneficial.
However, this is rarely a hard and fast rule. Whilst it is vital that you can demonstrate an interest in and firm grasp of project management and the particular industry the employer operates in, many graduate employers in project management are equally interested in employability skills aside from your educational background.
Common attributes listed as desirable by firms recruiting graduate project managers include:
- The ability to work in a team
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- An interest and understanding of the industry
- Good leadership and management skills
- A motivated, positive attitude
- A willingness and ability to learn
- Strong numerical and budgeting skills
- The ability to negotiate and build relationships with people
- An aptitude for problem-solving
These skills and interests can be just as important to employers as your degree, so make sure you work on your ability to demonstrate them!
General Graduate Scheme Application and Job Search Tips
You may be unsure about how to improve your chances of making a successful application to a graduate scheme or job on a more fundamental level.
Here are some tips on the essential steps to take in order to greatly increase your chances of receiving an offer.
- Practice aptitude tests online. This is essential because the vast majority of graduate schemes and jobs require you to undertake one or more of these tests as a way of whittling down applicants at the outset of the process. Project management requires a diverse array of skills and competencies, and it is likely that you will encounter a variety of verbal and numerical tests during applications, so study up with our guide to graduate aptitude tests!
- Understand the culture of the organisation you are applying for. During the recruitment process, companies will want to ensure that the candidates they are considering would align well with the values and culture of their organisation.
It’s important to read as much as you can about the organisation to gain an insight into how they see themselves, and the type of candidate they want to hire.
You may be assessed against these criteria by way of a situational judgement test. It’s vital that you perform well in order to progress to later stages of the application process.
- Undertake interview training. At some point in the process of applying for graduate schemes and jobs, you will be invited to take part in an interview, either in person or over video.
Interviewing is a real skill and mastering it requires practice and guidance. If this is an area you lack confidence in, we offer one-to-one interview training to help you nail those interviews and assessment centres.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this guide and that it has made the process of applying for a project management graduate scheme a little clearer.
If you’re serious about applying, you may want to read our guide on when to apply for graduate schemes.
If you would like some support with your applications to project management graduate schemes, please do contact us. We can help you to turn your degree into a career!