This article is no longer listed, please search the site for up to date articles

Civil Service

In addition to entry level positions which civil service departments may have available, a number of them also run their own graduate schemes. The Fast Stream programme is also an option for those wanting to join the civil services.

Civil Service Fast Stream is about getting graduates such as yourself into management within the different government organisations. This programme will enable you to work on solutions to societal issues; contribute to key government policies; and engage with local and national communities to provide them with the services they require.

If you are interested in law, then you may be able to gain to some work experience through the Government Legal Service which offers summer placements of 2-3 weeks.

The Windsor Fellowship
For high achieving students from one of the ethnic minority groups, there is the Windsor Fellowship. This will give you the opportunity to see what working in the civil service will be like. This may include being involved with local projects, paid work experience and development seminars.

For more information visit The Windsor Fellowship.

The National Graduate Development Programme is a two-year scheme to get graduates into local government. As a trainee manager you will be given the training and opportunities to excel in order to meet the needs of the local community.

The programme consists of an induction period where you’ll meet other trainees and a better understanding of the sector. Followed by a number of work placements within a strategic or corporate function, a customer-facing role and a support role such as HR, finance or IT.

There a number of intelligence agencies in the UK who specifically recruit graduates. This includes GCHQ, who work in partnership with M15 (Security Service) and M16 (Secret Intelligence Service). These organisations were set up to keep our nation secure, detection and prevention of serious crime and operations relating to economic wellbeing.

GCHQ are unable to offer work experience for fairly obvious reasons but there graduate schemes are suited to certain specific degrees such as IT and Maths as well as more general programmes relating to leadership, language and cultural support and corporate support.

MI6 don’t have a formal graduate training scheme, however they do recruit graduates into roles such as operational officer, language specialist and technology.

International organisations
Some of the organisations which work internationally offer formal internships and graduate schemes. Others may simply offer entry level positions. Take a look at their website to find out.

The WHO recruit health specialists, doctors, scientists, epidemiologists and business related specialists from across many different countries, making a very multicultural work environment. You will be required to have a related degree to the position you are applying to as well as another language and at least one year previous work experience.

They also offer an internship programme, offering placements from six weeks to three months. This may be extended to 24 weeks if the applicant shows promise and dependent on other requirements. This is only open to students over the age of 20 and have already completed their degree or studying for a postgrad. A Junior Professional Programme is also sometimes offered by some of the donor countries’ regional offices.

The IMF don’t have an official program but accept applications throughout the year for entry-level economists, research assistants, interns and admin staff.

The DfID run a graduate programme which offers you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in international development. The programme is 50 weeks long, in which time you will have an induction and training, e-learning opportunities and a mentor. You will be based out of London or Glasgow, working in one of the following areas:

  • Africa policy and development
  • Conflict, humanitarian crisis and security
  • European Union policy
  • United Nations and Commonwealth policy
  • Stabilisation
  • Civil society
  • Private sector development
  • Youth development and policy
  • World health
  • Agriculture, food and nutrition
  • Global education development
  • Development evaluation
  • Aid project analysis, procurement, value for money and audit
  • IT, finance and human resources.

The DfID also visit a number of universities, visit their website to find out when and where (usually between Jan and March). The deadline for applications is March.

NATO don’t offer a grad scheme but they do have internship programmes, which are open to a wide range of different backgrounds, this includes political science, international relations, security studies, economics, finance, HR, IT, web and graphic design, media and journalism. You should also be able to conduct research and analysis competently. Having a second language could also be an advantage.

Other options also include the NATO Defence College programme, SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) internship programme and a NAMSA (NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency) programme.

The UN also have an internship programme for those wanting to get into diplomacy and public policy. The placements are between 2-6 months and offered to those with masters or PhD qualifications. Interns can be found in a number of regional offices such as New York, Vienna, Addis Ababa, Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, Bangkok and Santiago. Programmes are also offered in UN Funds such as their Children’s Fund, Populations Fund and Environment Fund.

If you are studying economics, there is the opportunity to join the FCO for a year as part of a sandwich placement programme. However, only four placements are available so be sure you meet all the requirements before applying. Other jobs may be available through their normal recruitment channels.


When you start thinking about joining one of the medical or healthcare professions, for the most part you will need a degree which is the same subject as you wish to pursue. However, if working for the NHS interests you and you have an arts or unrelated degree subject you can support the health workers through the business related professions such as management or HR.

If you are interested in one of the specific medical or dentistry professions or one of allied health professions you can find out where to study by using the NHS Careers Course Finder.

Alternatively, if you are interested in nursing they have a ‘personality quiz’ which may help you decide if it’s a career for you and for more information about how to get into nursing visit Nursing Careers.

NHS grad scheme
The NHS run a graduate training scheme aimed at those wanting to get into business and management related professions. This includes finance, HR, informatics and general management. If you want to see what your degree might be better suited to, go to What Can I Do With My Degree? and go from there to find out more about working for the NHS. Or visit Is the NHS for Me?

There are a number of ways to enter into teaching. Probably the most straight forward is to study a teaching degree at undergraduate level. However, if you decide to go into teaching after your undergraduate degree you can go on a one year postgraduate course called the PGCE. This is a full-time course which will provide you with the basic teaching skills you will need as well as teaching placements to put these in practice.

In addition to the PGCE is the SCITT (school-centred initial teaching training) programme or GTP (graduate teacher programme). Both of these programmes are available to graduates. Through these schemes you learn on-the-job, gaining your QTS (qualified teacher status) through these means.

Alternatively, you could try Teach First. This is a leadership development scheme, which places graduates into challenging schools in order to tackle poor educational standards. This is a two year programme where you will undergo two years of teaching in which time you will gain a PGCE and a masters. As well as taking part in other projects to push you to achieve more for yourself and the kids you teach. After the two year period you can choose to continue teaching or try something different.

For more information visit The Teaching Agency or Teach First.

Emergency Services

Ambulance service
Ambulance courses can be found via the NHS careers website. Here you can find out more about the professions but also explore the courses available to you.

Fire & rescue services (coast guard)
You must be a minimum of 18 years old and pass the tough tests which the fire service requires of you before you can become a fire fighter. The Fire Service go through recruiting campaigns at different points during the year but you will need to be fit for the tests when they come around so make sure you’re in shape. No formal qualifications are required however, written and aptitude tests are part of the application process.

Sample questions and application requirements can be found on Fire Service.

Police services
Similar to the Fire Service, you must be 18 years old to join. You don’t need to have any formal qualifications but you will need to pass a range of physical and mental aptitude tests. Probably the most rigorous part of the application process is the fitness tests so make sure you are in good shape beforehand.

Find out more by visiting the recruitment website for the police at Police Recruitment.

Armed Forces & Defence

You can join any of the armed forces with or without a qualification. You will join at a lower level if you don’t have a degree which also means a smaller salary package. As a graduate you can join as an Officer, but you will still need to pass the physical and aptitude tests required.

Take a look at the website for the armed force that you interested in or visit a recruitment centre.

If you are interested in the defence industry but have an engineering, science or IT degree then you could think about joining one of the organisations which work with the MOD. Some of these are other public sector firms or private firms which produce products or services for the MOD, some of which offer graduate training schemes.

These include:

  • BAE Systems
  • Qinetiq
  • Babcock
  • DESG
  • Dstl.
Back to Top