Iain Heath, graduate programme manager at Centrica
"I'm Iain Heath, the graduate programme manager at Centrica."
What do employers want?
"It varies from one graduate recruiter to another, but almost all graduate recruiters will tell you what they are looking for; if you go onto their website and read through the information about the graduate programme. Most employers in general are looking for a good level of academic attainment; a certain amount of extracurricular activity to show breadth in that individual and they are also looking for potential things that they can draw out within that graduate within the company. It’s not all about what degree you achieved or what classification; it is about a broader picture for each individual."
What are your graduate schemes?
"The fifty graduates who start with us go into one of five schemes or streams on the programme and we have geosciences which is our newest and currently our smallest; engineering, IS we also have general management and finance. It’s a very broad range of roles graduates are going into. It enables us to make sure we are developing future leaders within five key areas of our business."
When to apply?
"We continue to recruit until we fill positions, so there is no closing date as such, but we do open on a certain date in the autumn and we then interview people from that point onwards. So if people are proactive and get their applications in early, they will certainly find that they are being considered for more positions than someone who waits until perhaps January / February / March time when a number of the places have been taken. Getting there early is a very good idea as far as our scheme is concerned."
Can an internship turn into a graduate job?
"We do have the same recruitment process for the internships, so if someone has secured a summer placement with Centrica, we know that they've gone through the same process our graduates have to go through. There is then a ten week trying out period which is the placement. They see if they like us we see if they are able to perform to that standard and if they are able to we won't require a further interview or assessment for them to move onto the programme. We consider them to have shown the necessary capabilities at that point."
How to stand out on your application
"One of the key ways that graduates can stand out from the crowd is to make the most of the extracurricular activities that are available to them on campus. You've got three years, perhaps longer where you have opportunity to get involved in societies and get involved in teams and show your willingness to go the extra mile and volunteer. That’s the kind of thing that really stands out, showing leadership, team working and a willingness to take the initiative and put something back. Employers really appreciate that."