Job hunting? Make Ireland’s official summer careers fair your go-to event this June!

On Wednesday 8th June, gradireland will host our annual Summer Fair in the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin. With some of Ireland’s leading graduate employers exhibiting, if you are job hunting at the moment, this is a must attend event.

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This year’s Summer Fair will feature a whole range of interesting and insightful seminars to help you with your job search. Topics for these seminars include networking, unlocking the hidden jobs market, how to dress for an interview and personal statements. The fair will also feature a CV clinic where students and graduates can get their CVs reviewed by career professionals at no cost.


Leading graduate employers exhibiting at the summer fair include Abbott Ireland, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Ericsson, Ion Trading, Johnson & Johnson and PwC, to name just a few. All of the employers exhibiting at the fair will be actively recruiting students and graduates for their graduate programmes, summer internships and immediate graduate opportunities.

If you are interested in discovering further study options, there will also be a whole range of postgraduate providers in attendance on the day of the fair. Whether you would like to specialise within your current field of study or branch into a new field, there will be a host of information available on the day of the event.

The gradireland Summer Fair is taking place on Wednesday 8th June from 11 – 5pm in the RDS Simmonscourt Dublin. Entry to this event is completely free by registering your details here. For more details about the Summer Fair visit

LGBT workplace equality – Realising the importance and value of diversity & inclusiveness in business

Guest blog: Catherine Vaughan, Director, EY

In Ireland and across the world; customers, suppliers and other business partners no longer make choices simply based on price. In recent years, shared values have become increasingly important when choosing who you do business with.  Whether you can identify and connect with the people and organisations you are working with is more than ever becoming a determining factor.  When a strong connection exists, real trust can be built, and in turn relationships develop naturally.

This is particularly true when choosing an employer. Just as customers, suppliers and business partners now make choices based on shared values, so do employees.

Multiracial Group of Friends with Hands in Stack, Teamwork

Undeniably, salary will always be a factor when deciding where to work, but more and more people are making choices based on softer factors including values, experience, development potential and opportunities. Opportunities and experiences are what inspire commitment to an organisation, and it is commitment that leads to innovation, productivity, growth and success – for the individual and for the organisation.

When considering how to attract and recruit the best talent, including graduates, organisations need to be clear about the opportunities and experiences on offer and the environment in which those experiences will be gained.  To win in the attraction space, an organisation needs to clearly articulate the vision of an employee experience.  For an organisation to win in the recruitment and retention space it needs to bring the vision to life.

Not so long ago, LGBT employees might not have expected to have the same experience as their straight colleagues and expectations of shared values and experience might have been lower.  At the very least, LGBT employees probably did not have the confidence to speak up and voice their expectations.

Times have changed however and the expectations and voices these days are pushing organisations to deliver on the vision, not only for LGBT employees but across the diversity spectrum – gender, age, culture, physical ability.

For organisations to be truly successful in achieving its vision for a positive employee experience, opportunities must be accessible to everyone. LGBT employees must be afforded the same respect, voice and experience as all of their peers. The perceived ability to speak up and share one’s ideas, to feel like part of the team, is critical to collaboration, an essential component to developing the products and solutions customers demand.

In Ireland there has been significant change in the understanding of employers about the importance of LGBT workplace equality, but there is always room for improvement. Change comes from both a top down and a bottom-up approach. Changing organisational culture requires buy-in from management, and leading by example is crucial. Similarly, engaging younger professionals, as well as staff across a range of different disciplines helps to ensure all corners of the business are addressed.

To really achieve diversity and act inclusively it is not enough to simply put ideals on a page, be that in a values statement, code of conduct or policy. What really makes the difference are the spoken words and actions of the people at the heart of the organisation itself.  After all, even in this highly automated, digital age, it is people who create organisational culture, define behavioural norms and in the end, who make the decisions.

At EY many actions and initiatives have been taken to realise the commitment to LGBT equality, below are some tips organisations might consider:

  • Engage with and train leadership – Regular meetings between LGBT staff and senior leadership help develop understanding of the LGBT workplace experience. Providing inclusive leadership training can be an invaluable way of raising the bar.
  • Find out how you measure up – gather independent feedback to understand how you are performing, to reflect on achievements and identify areas to focus on in the future. Initiatives such as the Workplace Equality Index are a great place to start.
  • Establish an employee network – since 2008 EY has had an employee network group. The group is led by a committee representing every part of the business and participation on the committee is recognised in annual plans and performance appraisals.  Committees give people experiences outside of their normal day-to-day role fast-tracking their development and success.
  • Take learnings from others – network with other employee network groups and sponsoring organisations to understand and learn from their best practices.
  • Support and sponsor the LGBT community – keep connected to what’s happening in the LGBT community to help understand your staff and to deliver your message on the value you place on workplace equality, diversity and inclusion.

Looking back at my own experience of entering professional services as a graduate, I am amazed at the change.  Had I been asked in 1995 to complete a survey I would have ticked the box “Out only to a few at work”; I certainly wouldn’t have ticked the box “Out to all at work” – the box I tick these days.  I am immensely proud to be part of an organisation that recognises my talent before my sexuality but which, at the same time, values my difference.

At a time when more graduates are choosing to stay in Ireland on completing their degrees, being able to offer them something other than salary to connect with can be the differentiator you need to attract and retain the best talent.

Catherine Vaughan, Director, EY



Tips for your summer internship programme

Summer is just around the corner, and with it brings the beginning of this year’s summer internship programmes. With the arrival of a brand new group of summer interns to your organisation, we have asked leading graduate recruiters, who have been shortlisted for Best Internship Programme in this year’s Graduate Recruitment Awards, to give their top tips for summer internships.

Summer internships

Cora Buckner, Global University Relations & Intern Programs Senior Manager, Abbott

“In starting an internship program, it is recommended that a company start small and engage business leaders early.  Ultimately, it is the businesses that will employee the interns, so it is important to get business support early on. Additionally, start with the end in mind.  Examine gaps in key skillsets and develop a programme to fill the gap.  A strong program will also have a clear career path for successful students.  Clear career paths can include development programmes, director hire and/or multiple internships.  During the internship business leaders should have access to interns to evaluate their cultural fit and technical skills”.

Deirdre O’Donoghue, HR Director, HedgeServ

“At HedgeServ, internships are an excellent way to get to know the graduate population, as well as giving graduates the opportunity to get to know us.  Our offering is different to that of the traditional internships and we actively engage with those programmes that best fit our Graduate Development Programme requirements. Our top tip would be to ensure undergraduates experience meaningful, interesting work; supported by relevant training. Developing strong relationships with the careers offices and placement programme managers is also a must, ensuring both the students and those advising are aware of our opportunities”.

Paul Vance, Head of Resourcing, KPMG

“A well run internship programme can yield a number of positive results. Your interns can be your future graduates, they can be your informal ambassadors back on campus and they can positively contribute to your organisation. So my advice is to have a structured programme in place, dedicated mentors and meaningful work. Always remember, while you are assessing the performance of your interns, they too are assessing your organisation as a future workplace.”

Caroline Burke, Senior Marketing Analyst, Accenture

“Considering that the Summer Internship is a short placement (90 days) our top tip is to have everything in place before the student arrives.

Have a calendar setup with all induction, training, project presentations and evaluation dates placed and agreed. This will guarantee that all activities will be executed, and that the expectations are aligned.  It can be a turning point to guarantee a successful internship experience”.

Gillian Ellard, Human Resources, William Fry

“William Fry sees the Internship Programmes as a vital recruitment tool.  Benefits include a first look at future business and legal talent.  For the graduate, it offers an opportunity to sample life in a large corporate law firm.  Our programmes offer the opportunity for a 3 year training contract”.

Nessa Kiely, Trainee & Intern Recruitment Manager , A & L Goodbody

Provide continuous feedback; Internships are really great learning experiences and Interns who join our Firm are always eager to develop and  learn as much as possible.  Most internship programmes include a formal evaluation process, both midway through and at the end of the internship.  However, whilst, these formal evaluations are beneficial, we always encourage our Partners and Associates, working with Interns to provide them with continuous, on the job feedback.  Interns really appreciate getting this feedback, making them aware of what they are doing well and giving them the chance to improve on their development areas.  We would also encourage our people to say “thank you”  “good job” and “well done” as  these words can be very motivating, proving to be the key differentiator in providing a positive internship experience.

On behalf of all of the team at gradireland, we would like to wish you the very best of luck with your internship programmes this summer. The full list of companies shortlisted for Best Internship Programme in this year’s Graduate Recruitment Awards can be viewed here.

For more details about the Annual gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards contact a member of our team on 01-6451500 or email

Early careers engagement – Is final year too late?

The simple answer is yes. In recent years, gradireland have received significant feedback from employers to say that many graduates leaving college, though highly skilled academically, often do not have the soft skills needed for the modern world of work nor an understanding of the career pathway options available to them.

It will come as no surprise that the majority of students do not start to focus on their future until far too late in their 3rd level journey, with many only starting to look at career opportunities and life after college in their final year. The problem for employers and students alike is that this leads to students graduating without the employability skills that employers need, as well as a general unpreparedness for the realities of working life.

early careers engagement

It is clear that due to the improving economy and a deepening understanding by many employers of the importance of graduate recruitment, competition has really begun to intensify. Therefore graduate attraction and engagement with final year students has become a more crowded space, putting the graduate in the driving seat. At the same time recent gradireland research found that 49% of graduate recruiters anticipate challenges in finding candidates with the right skills to excel in their organisations.

So what can be done?

The good news is that there is a, “two birds-one stone” solution. Early engagement allows employers to influence and educate at the same time by helping to foster a relationship between the potential future candidate and the employer brand.

One such example of a leading graduate recruiter that is actively participating in early careers engagement is Accenture. In January 2016, Accenture hosted an event targeting second level students to raise awareness of all the career opportunities in the field of STEM. This event was not only an amazing opportunity to showcase all of the fantastic opportunities available with science, technology, engineering and maths but also an effective introduction of the Accenture employer brand to students who will start to make career decisions in the not-too-distant future.  At a recent gradireland Breakfast Masterclass, Ingrid Devlin, EMEA Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Dell Ireland explained that many of the world’s leading graduate employers have now even started engaging with students at primary level.

gradireland is at the centre of this movement, having introduced the brand new, innovative #FYI  content initiative this year. This campaign is driven by bespoke video and infographic content, created in partnership with the employer; it is designed to highlight the importance of career pathway awareness and soft skill development. We are so proud to have some of Ireland’s leading graduate recruiters on board for this initiative; you can view some of the #FYI videos here.


Returning to the market for skilled candidates? (Infographic)

During the recession, the recruitment market was primarily employer-led with a significant deficit in jobs and career opportunities. But over the past year, the market has turned on its head as the demand for skilled graduates grows, putting the candidate back in pole position.

When speaking about the recent changes in the graduate recruitment market, Director of gradireland Mark Mitchell said ‘The jobs market is coming back, but not as it existed pre-recession. There are more diverse career paths than ever before, new skills are required and graduates are being given a much more diverse variety of opportunities’.


Employer’s skills requirements have become much more specific in recent years. But worryingly, it was found in this year’s Graduate Salary Survey that 52.3% of employers anticipate challenges finding applicants with the right skills set.

On the flip side of this, the return of the candidate-led market has given graduates more choice when it comes to their career decisions. During the recession, graduates were much more inclined to commit themselves to a single job opportunity, due to the increasingly competitive jobs market. They were far less inclined to take risks when it came to job offers, meaning that employers could rely on hire-retention rates. In contrast to this, candidates are now in a position to accept multiple job offers and choose the opportunity they consider the most advantageous for their career.

This change in the market creates challenges for employers, as a steady increase in the amount of candidates dropping out of graduate programmes for other opportunities has been noted by our team. Employers are being forced to go back to market to recruit candidates in areas that they are experiencing a shortfall.

gradireland are providing a forum for these employers to recruit candidates at this year’s Summer Fair being held in the RDS Simmonscourt on Wednesday 8th June from 11am – 5pm. With over 4,000 students and graduates expected to attend, this is the perfect opportunity for you to recruit skilled candidates in sectors where your company may be experiencing a shortfall.

For more details about the Summer Fair contact a member of our team on 01-6451500 or email


Top tips for your summer internship!

Summer is just around the corner which means that many graduates are preparing to start summer internships. With this in mind, the gradireland team have asked some interns currently working with Deloitte for some advice for students about what they can expect, and how they can make the most of the experience.


  1. An open mind is essential

Be ready to meet new people from all walks of life. You may have the impression that new graduates will all come from business backgrounds and this was one of the biggest misconceptions for me. The interns I’ve met, from Audit and Tax, Consulting and Corporate Finance, all come from various undergraduate degrees. I’ve met people in Audit studying Science or Engineering. There are people in Consulting studying Psychology and Music and I’m sure that this applies to many workplaces. Deloitte is excellent at building on diversity throughout the firm so I would say that it is definitely important to walk through the doors with an open mind.

  1. Be Polite & Professional

First impressions can make a lasting impression. Make sure to have perfected that firm hand shake and dress professionally. Deloitte’s dresscode is business attire, similar to many corporate offices. It is important to put yourself out there on your first day, introduce yourself to the people you meet and take time to talk to other interns and members of staff. Sometimes this may be difficult if you are a particularly shy or nervous person, but you can almost guarantee that other people in the room are feeling the exact same way that you are, so make an effort and you will reap the benefits.

  1. Talk to everyone you can during induction

The first few people you talk to during induction normally bring you some comfort in what can be a very different and new environment to most people. The coffee breaks during induction can be really helpful in getting to know people and hopefully make some good friends and contacts for the next six weeks, remember, effective networking is a vital part of completing a successful internship.

  1. Deloitte, like all companies, love abbreviations

The technical part of your induction will be “abbreviation heavy.” Don’t worry because no one really knows what any of them mean until you “hit the floor.” Audit is especially intense with abbreviations, you will hear ROMMs, ABCOTDs, TBs, FS, EMS, and CTB being mentioned a lot. Frightening at first, but you’ll learn the ropes soon enough!

  1. Meet your mentor and your buddy

Many summer internship programme have a mentor and buddy system in place. As soon as they email you they will probably suggest having a meeting. It’s important that you arrange one as these people are your go-to people if you have an issue with anything. Especially admin issues, like taking time off or other everyday issues. It’s important to note that your mentor is also your appraiser. Appraisers give you feedback on the work you have done as well as listen to how you have got on while doing the work.

  1. The induction booklet is really handy

During induction in Deloitte you get a little A5 induction booklet, which I imagine is provided by most companies. This is an absolute goldmine of information. Look after it and read it,  it’ll help you find your feet.

  1. Don’t get stung with emergency tax

You need to give your P45 in to one of the people facilitating induction or if not them, to someone in HR. Your P45 must be current, i.e. from 2015. I submitted one from 2011 not realising this was the case and got charged emergency tax. If you don’t have a P45, you must follow the instructions on page 20 of the intern book. (Like I said, this book is really handy)

  1. Join Yammer, join the Facebook group, join LinkedIn, join everything…

You are going to be told to join Yammer, and you really should. Everything that’s going on in the firm will be here. Also post questions in your group if there is something you’re not sure about. The other two are really useful to join too, but mainly Yammer.

  1. If you have a question…

You can ask your mentor or buddy, but other trainees can also help you out if you have other little questions. More than likely they have had the same questions and will help you out if you are stuck.

  1. Enjoy it

My time at Deloitte have been great fun, and I have gotten to know a lot of new people as well as working with a great team. I’m sure you will enjoy your experience also, wherever you’re doing your internship. Don’t forget to be social too; there are a lot of sports clubs and groups in companies like Deloitte, you will get all the details at induction, so be outgoing, friendly and enjoy the experience.

For more from gradireland on making the best of internships with large employers, make sure you read

Authors: James Lynch & Jennifer Whitehead, Deloitte