Hear from some of our current and alumni Warwick Graduate Management Trainees as they reflect on their experience on the scheme...
I applied for the scheme because it was an amazing opportunity to receive high quality training and development, whilst learning from and contributing to the wide range of work which happens at Warwick.
My first placement was in the Community Engagement Team, where I managed a piece of work focused on improving the offer of activities for local young people within Canley (an area of Coventry immediately next to the University).
I worked in the Facilities Team for my second placement, managing a project to improve the sustainability of Warwick’s furniture usage, which provided a great opportunity to get involved in the operational management of the campus. The impact of this project was an expansion of furniture re-use on campus, as well as of donations of furniture to local charities and community groups. In February 2033, this project won a Warwick Wow award!
Thirdly, I went external to the University and worked for an SME (small-medium enterprise) called MSL, who provide comprehensive digital membership management solutions to student-focused organisations worldwide. I managed a suite of business improvement projects, from cyber security to financial management systems. This experience accelerated my professional development and equipped me with new knowledge and skills to bring back to the University.
My final placement is in the Policy and Public Affairs function, which will provide an invaluable insight and experience of stakeholder management and the broader context within which the University operates. It promises to be an incredibly interesting and varied placement, and I look forward to making the most of every opportunity it presents.
I could not recommend the scheme enough to anyone thinking of applying! It offers you personalised support and challenge, helping to develop you as a leader.
Current Graduate Management Trainee
"Warwick is a fascinating and exciting place to work, and the scheme is the perfect opportunity to learn from and contribute to a world-class university. My advice – go for it!"
Current Graduate Management Trainee
"I think it’s useful for all who are interested in this scheme to know that you do not need to be immediately out of university to qualify for this scheme, nor do you need to have studied at Warwick. Our group of trainees had a variety of education and work experiences. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore project management and employment/leadership in the Higher Education sector. You will meet many great people and experience a variety of opportunities and challenges. I am so glad that I applied to this Scheme, what an incredible time it has been"
Following my BA in English Literature, MA in Creative Writing, and a couple of years working in education institutions, I realised that I find joy and fulfilment in a job which has space for creativity but also requires process, organisation and logic. I discovered Warwick’s Graduate Scheme, and it was the perfect opportunity for me: the chance to explore multiple roles and departments/teams while in fixed employment, additional learning opportunities (including a Project Management qualification), and numerous development opportunities (such as a Leadership course). Moreover, Project Management is a flexible and widely applicable role, and, with the help of the Graduate Scheme staff, I have been able to enter into placements that suited my passions and ambitions.
My four placements and responsibilities were: the Institute of Engagement where I co-organised a three-day festival on campus; a local digital Studio called Yellow Panther where I account managed the build of a client’s app and the development of a piece of software; Widening Participation (WP) where I led three projects to improve provision, and access to the provision, of Outreach and WP events for young people; and the Warwick Arts Centre where I organised a wealth of community events and carried out research projects to aid engagement with target groups.
I’ve had incredible experiences in each of my placements, and achieved more than I thought could be possible in this amount of time. A huge achievement was winning Apprentice of the Year 2023 from the Coventry Freemen’s Guild, and another key achievement has been building wonderful working relationships with colleagues across the university and with external stakeholders. The tough moments for me were the transition between placements. Leaving a team that I had been embedding into for 8 months to start afresh with a new team, often in a department or context unfamiliar to me, was nerve-wracking. In these moments, I relied on my connection with the other Graduate Trainees and the support of the Graduate Scheme team, and I also made an effort to stay connected to my previous teams. Whether that was socially or connecting an element of my new work with their work. Over time, this helped me create a brilliant network across the university, which is a huge advantage in my day-to-day work.
We have been encouraged throughout the Graduate Scheme to take advantage of and seek out additional opportunities. For example, I became a Fellow of the Institute of Engagement and volunteer co-chair of a working group to improve inclusive engagement at the university. I have spoken twice at a university conference and helped organise many additional events and activities outside of my role. I attend university conferences as often as possible and have attended two external conferences as key opportunities to deepen my learning in a variety of subjects including Social Inclusion, Anti-Racism and the Higher Education sector.
I am a dual national citizen, born in South Africa and raised in England. I have a master’s in physics, and prior to joining Warwick worked as a Cybersecurity Sales engineer (think sales but a bit more technical). When I left University and made the conscious decision to move away from Physics and academia, I had no clue what I was looking for (just that what I had been doing wasn’t it).
I began looking for a scheme that was varied, but not prescriptive. A lot of graduate schemes narrowed you to a specific path (finance/HR/legal) and I knew that I wanted to try a little bit of everything- so when I found the Graduate management scheme at Warwick it sounded perfect. It gave a good balance of skills and a qualification to fall back on (the APM PMQ), but enough variety that I could start finding out what it is I liked and was good at.
I joined the scheme in October2021, and since then I have working in Warwick Innovation District in their Health and Wellbeing Incubator as their Innovation Coordinator, in the Regional Strategy Group as part of their Community Engagement team, in an external company called White Chalk as a project manager and in my final placement in Student Experience looking into Student Transitions. I think the thing I most struggled with was the worry of constantly moving- new manager and management style, new team and team behaviours, new job, new work environment. However, with support from my other grads, skills from the graduate scheme development programme and a bit of personal perseverance I was able to not just overcome this- but turn it into a strength! It’s tough being the ‘new kid’ but I managed to get there!
I have loved not just being a part of the placement teams but going beyond that and delving into the world of Warwick. I’ve been able to secretariat a piece of institutional wide work looking at Warwick’s Values and Behaviours, volunteer at Buckingham Palace to help with their Gold DofE presentations, speak at a WIE network conference on public outreach, help with a student school day to showcase the opportunities to female-identifying students from a WP background, volunteer as a book in the Human Library, organise the Civic Dignitary hosting as a part of our Graduations and participate in the running of the Resonate Lates and Taskmaster events ran by the Institute of Engagement. I have even been able to share good practice by talking out about my own experience of graduate recruitment, by taking part in a focus group looking at socially inclusive recruitment practices.
Current Graduate Management Trainee
"The graduate scheme at Warwick has been able to help me narrow down what it is I like, what it is I am good at, and what it is I can get paid for- and through that find what I would like my future career to look like. This is invaluable, and has set me on a path that I never thought I would find (much less enjoy)."
Hendrik PontsonGraduate Scheme Alumni continuing to work at Warwick
"I really enjoyed my time on the Graduate Scheme. The variety of experiences across departments gave me the perfect start for a career in Higher Education. While at times it felt like a roller-coaster, I would gladly go on that ride again."
My first placement was in Strategy and Policy – International. I gained experience in data analysis and visualisation using Tableau and Excel. I wrote a report on the University's International data and developed a training package for the Tableau data analysis software.
My other placement was in Change Management at the WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group). I redesigned the WMG departments Business Continuity Plans (design, workshops, working with departmental colleagues and central University). Additionally, I was working on the Space Management project (3,000+ assets), Information Asset Register (Outcomes were taken forward to central University) and the new Visitor Management System.
The support was amazing throughout the scheme. Colleagues were always very kind and understanding. I never really felt like I couldn't go to somebody, whether that was to talk about something work-related, latest trips and holidays, or complain about the weather over a hot cup of coffee. I can definitely say that I enjoyed each moment of the scheme. There is so much going on within the different areas of the University of Warwick, and despite getting experience in 2 different departments, I feel like I've only scratched the surface of the number of fascinating projects taking place behind the scenes.
After the scheme, I completed my National Service at the Estonian Defence Forces and then returned to work at Warwick as a Project Officer in Information & Digital Group.
I started at Warwick in September 2018. My first placement was in the Strategy Group working alongside Head of Government Affairs to support the development of a new Policy Function and other activities including organising a three-day, University-wide ‘HE Immersion Programme’ for the Department for Education. My final placement was in Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA), focused on developing the architecture for a new web portal for Teaching staff at Warwick.
The colleagues I had the opportunity to work with were all incredibly passionate about their work which made it a really positive environment to work in. Staff were always happy to share their insights and offer guidance or support wherever they could.
As a grad at Warwick, I really valued the support offered from my mentors, programme and placement managers – rather than just focusing on the work my immediate team, they encouraged me to take up opportunities to support my wider professional development. The nature of the Grad Scheme allowed space for me to attend courses on project management, workplace skills and behaviours and leadership development
Upon completion of the scheme, I secured a place on the graduate scheme alumni programme and now work in the Project Management team.
Graduate Scheme Alumni continuing to work at Warwick
"I was made to feel welcome at Warwick from day one of the Assessment Centre and throughout all of my placements with the different teams I worked with."
Graduate Scheme Alumni continuing to work at Warwick
"Along the way, I’ve been supported by some excellent colleagues all of whom offered their time and expertise to help me whenever I needed it. There was never a time on the graduate scheme that I didn’t feel supported"
During my first placement at Warwick, I was lucky enough to work between the Regional Team in Strategy and the Social Sciences Impact Team with a focus on developing the relationship between our Faculty of Social Sciences and both Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council.
This placement culminated in two developmental workshops which brought together senior council leadership and academics from the faculty to begin identifying areas of collaboration and developing a clearer understanding of where the University could align its social science expertise and impact to make a practical difference to some of the challenges facing Coventry and the West Midlands.
My second placement at Warwick saw me working in the WMG Research Office supporting with the REF2021 submission. This involved working closely with academics to optimise their 100-word impact and significance statements for their outputs as part of the final REF submission.
Both placements offered an incredible insight into the academic excellence and diversity present throughout various parts of the university and provided an opportunity to work with amazing people across different teams and institutions.
During my 12 months at Warwick, I was lucky enough to experience working both centrally and within a department, interacting with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. From hosting the Mayor of Kenilworth at a graduation ceremony, to presenting to a member of the Executive Team at Coventry City Council, the variety of opportunities has been incredible.
Now that I’ve completed the scheme, I was overjoyed to receive an offer to stay on at Warwick working as a Project Officer as part of the STEM Grand Challenge Programme Team and this year I was promoted to a Project Manager.
Quite honestly, I don’t see myself working anywhere else!