These structured programmes offer a blend of theoretical learning and hands-on experience to graduates in the world of marketing

Graduate schemes are a fantastic way to enter the marketing industry and gain valuable experience. Typically lasting one to three years, they often lead to a permanent job with the company.

Which companies run marketing schemes?

Marketing is a vital function in most organisations, as all companies need to promote their products and services. As a result, you'll find jobs in advertising agencies, public relations agencies, digital marketing agencies, market research agencies, and in-house marketing departments at companies of all sizes.

Companies that offer marketing graduate schemes include:

  • Centrica - 27-month scheme rotational programme across Centrica's brands, such as Hive and British Gas.
  • Diageo - runs a three-year rotational programme involving brand marking and customer activation.
  • Nestlé - has a two-year scheme that covers brand communication and analysing market trends.
  • Newton Europe - its people and marketing stream involves three placements lasting three to six months each.
  • Virgin Media - runs a two-year commercial, product and marketing scheme with four, six-month rotations.

Search for marketing, advertising and PR graduate schemes or check out some other graduate schemes.

What do marketing graduate schemes involve?

Marketing graduate schemes cover a range of topics, including public relations, copywriting, and search engine optimisation. The specific topics will vary depending on the company and the scheme, but you can expect to gain a well-rounded understanding of the marketing industry.

Graduate schemes are offered in different areas of marketing, such as:

  • brand management
  • product marketing
  • digital marketing
  • social media marketing
  • content marketing
  • public relations
  • market research.

For example, the Virgin Media marketing graduate scheme includes four six-month rotations in commercial and marketing, which allow you to learn about bringing products to market, customer experience, managing revenue, and promoting the brand. You will also have a mentor to provide help and advice.

Centrica's marketing graduate scheme lasts for 27 months and includes working with brands such as British Gas and Local Heroes. While on the scheme, you will gather customer insights, develop material for TV, and run social media campaigns. By the end of the scheme, your employers will have a better idea of which department best suits you and will provide you with a relevant role.

The Newton Europe marketing graduate scheme involves three six-month placements in one of three possible functions operations, people, and IT. Rotations include recruitment, talent development, marketing, and event and engagement.

Nestle's marketing graduate scheme is a two-year commitment where you will have the chance to contribute to and lead brand projects. The program includes brand communication, analysing market trends, and acting on insights into target consumers.

What are the entry requirements?

Most graduate schemes require a 2:1 degree, but the subject is often not specified. Some recruiters will accept a 2:2.

For example, both Nestlé and Diageo require a degree, but they are not strict about the subject or grade. They are more interested in candidates who are enthusiastic and have strong soft skills.

Virgin Media's graduate scheme requires a 2:1 undergraduate degree, while Centrica will accept a 2:2 if it is combined with a Masters.

How do I apply?

Many companies will evaluate candidates with psychometric testsvideo interviews and an invitation to an assessment centre.

You'll want to treat CVs, cover letters and personal statements with the same level of care you would for a job application. This means tailoring it to the position, and only including relevant information. The last stage of the application is usually a face-to-face interview.

The window to apply for graduate schemes is usually from June onwards, with a deadline around November or December. It's advisable to apply sooner rather than later because they may fill up and close early. If the deadline has passed for a company or scheme you're interested in, bookmark or regularly visit the careers pages on their website to avoid missing out.

How much will I be paid?

Salaries for marketing graduate schemes vary depending on the company but are typically between £30,000 and £36,400 per year.

For example, Centrica's scheme offers a salary of £32,000, while Newton Europe's scheme ranges from £31,000 to £34,00 per year. Both these schemes offer a welcome bonus of £3,000.

Some companies also offer bonuses and other benefits, such as gym discounts, life assurance, and income protection.

For further guidance on potential salaries take a look at marketing executive.

Am I guaranteed a job at the end?

While there is no guarantee of a job offer after completing a graduate scheme, most companies run them with the intention of hiring the participants. This is why the selection process is so rigorous.

Even if you are not offered a job at the end of your scheme, the skills and experience you gain will make you a more competitive candidate in the job market.

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