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What is a graduate program?

What is a graduate program

Here at Careers with STEM, we love to tell you all about the amazing opportunities you can score in science, technology, engineering and maths

For graduates, we also love to share career trends and stats, employer tips, ways to upskill and practical information to help you nail your dream STEM graduate career. This includes info on graduate programs and internships. But if you’ve been asking yourself, ‘What is a graduate program?’ or you’re not really sure what an internship is all about, we’re here to help.

Below, we’ve created an explainer to help get you across graduate programs and internships and how they can land you a cool STEM job you’ll love doing each and every day.

What is a graduate program?

A graduate program is a structured program that is usually tailored to a specific company or industry. These types of programs run for around 1-3 years, but can also be as short as six months. They are specifically designed for new or recent graduates and can be offered by all types of organisations – scientific, financial, tech, government, construction, beauty, accounting and more.

What can you expect from a graduate program? The best ones generally include induction and training programs, mentoring, career progression planning, constructive feedback, compensation and benefits, a good work/life balance and inclusive company culture.

Graduates are often rotated around to different areas or departments of an organisation so they have the opportunity to learn from a range of professions, get on-the-job training, network, and suss out what kind of roles they’d like to do in the future.

After completing a graduate program, graduates often have the chance to transition into other roles in the company.

You can check out a whole bunch of excellent STEM graduate programs here.

Real life graduate program stories

Graduate program: Commonwealth Bank

ZoeZoe van Ammers is 12 months into Commonwealth Bank’s 18-month graduate program, working in the engineering area.

“I came into the program not really knowing what type of software development I wanted to go into,” Zoe says. “I just knew I wanted to be exposed to the software industry and the different tools and technologies and ways of working.

“This program has allowed me to do that. I’ve been able to do some front-end work, back-end work, and a bit of DevOps. I’ve been able to reach out to people and learn about a lot of different parts of software development. It’s been really good exposure.”

Graduate program: Defence

AshleighAshleigh applied for the Defence Graduate Program Intelligence Pathway after speaking to Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) employees at a careers fair and hasn’t looked back!

“I would say my curiosity and love for cyber security is what led me to apply
for the Defence Graduate Program,” Ashleigh explains.

After kicking goals in the graduate program, Ashleigh is now a cyber security
specialist with ASD.

Organisation: Reserve Bank of Australia

DomenicDomenic Napoli is in his second (and final) year in the RBA’s Graduate Program and has found the experiences diverse, challenging and rewarding.

During his time there, he has worked on Cloud, Security, and Construction projects within the RBA, plus the overarching IT strategies.

On tech and learning opportunities at RBA, Domenic says, “The IT department at the RBA is really large. There are always opportunities to learn new skills in areas like cyber security, networks, DevOps, and project management to name a few.”

Okay, then what’s an internship?

According to myfuture, internships feature “either paid or non-paid work usually for a fixed, limited period of time.” Internships vary from company to company, so do your research before applying for one at your organisation of choice. Overall, they are a fantastic way to learn on the job in a company relevant to the industry you’d like to work in, get your foot in the door and meet other STEM pros who might be able to recommend you for future gigs.

Want to hear from STEM role models who’ve been down the internship road? Check out the following career profiles:

Find out more about STEM internships over here.

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5 women kicking goals in graduate positions

Apply for graduate positions and need some inspiration? The five women below have been in your shoes! Check out their stories and advice for those taking their first steps into the STEM workplace after university.