Graduate training programmes in the UK – an alternative start your career?

It’s generally a good idea to consider all alternatives before making important decisions. And deciding where to start your career after college is, for many of you reading this, the most pressing first step in what I hope will be a long, productive and happy working life.

Career choice is partly about looking at your own needs, values and skills and matching these with careers and employers that meet your demands, develop your employability and make you happy (and them too of course). But it’s also about understanding what’s available to someone like you, with your educational qualifications, practical experience and life-skills. And that’s everything that’s available. Everything, everywhere.

While it’s statistically fairly likely that you will start your career in Ireland, there is the rest of Europe to consider (and the rest of the world – although that’s not quite so easy, what with complicated legal and visa stuff and all). I’m going to talk today about the UK because a) it’s only over the water, b) it’s a well-trod path and c) UK employers are very happy to consider Irish graduates alongside those from UK universities. You also don’t need a work permit of course.

The UK job market is huge but there are many more UK graduates chasing jobs so it’s as competitive as you would expect, especially in an improving, but still challenging, jobs market. But it is a level playing field where you, as an Irish national, will be considered fairly alongside all the other applicants. It’s also an international job market, especially in London, where many global recruiters have their bases. Naturally, they want to build international teams at work and so there is an expectation that they will take on many other European nationals. So the first task is to see which organisations are looking for graduates to start next summer. The best place to start is http://targetjobs.co.uk/ where you can search for employers and jobs in well over 20 different sectors of work. There’s also advice on applications and interviews.

But what makes TARGETjobs special is the Employer Hub section, where there are unique insights into getting hired with leading recruiters.

See AstraZeneca’s entry as an example:  http://targetjobs.co.uk/employer-hubs/astrazeneca

Our independent editors have researched over a hundred employers and interviewed their recruitment departments to create a body of knowledge that you won’t find elsewhere. This is not ‘employer hype’ nor is it a repeat of what you’ll find in a recruitment brochure or website. This is objective advice written by sector experts to do one simple thing: give you an edge when it comes to getting hired. So read it carefully before applying for jobs!

There are a couple of practical issues to consider when applying for a graduate job in the UK. You will have to make yourself available for interview in the UK as the employer might not be visiting your campus. They generally pay expenses, at least for the final selection centre. Also you will need to explain clearly why this is a positive career choice for you, in other words the specific reasons why you want to start your career in the UK. It should never come across as a second choice, or because the Irish market is too competitive. They will want to know all about your special skills and experience (of course) but they will also want to be sure that you are sure about it all.

Irish graduates can be found all round the world, adding value to employers of all types. It might not be right for you to begin your career outside Ireland but it never does any harm to consider the alternatives.



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