The 5 Fundamental Features of a Top Graduate Program
Graduate Programs within large organisations have become the ‘end goal’ for thousands of university students across Australia. But with endless companies now offering programs to university students, it is essential to be able to determine what program is the best fit.
NTT ICT are dedicated to giving our graduates the best opportunities possible, we do this by staying true to the 5 fundamental features of what a top graduate program should consist of. This is designed to ensure our graduates receive the support and guidance needed to be able to gain a thorough understanding of the organisation and a developed professional skillset before being placed in a permanent position within NTT ICT.
1. Rotation programs
It can be quite difficult for students to narrow down their options in the search for that dream job out of university. A rotation graduate program allows a graduate to experience a number of different roles and departments, gives them an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and the opportunity to determine over time, what role is the ‘best fit’.
NTT ICT’s graduate rotation program allows our graduates the opportunity to experience 4 different placements across the company over a 2 year period. This gives our graduates the opportunity to be exposed to multiple areas of the business to help them determine what role will best suit their skills and capability for a long term successful career within NTT ICT.
2. Input into your rotations
A number of rotation programs within larger organisations have pre-determined placements. As all employees are different and come from different backgrounds, having input into your rotations can help you utilise each placement by being matched in areas of the company that are appealing and interesting to you as well as suit your background knowledge.
NTT ICT gives ample opportunity to stop and strategically evaluate how each rotation is going, where the graduates interests, strengths and ambitions lie and where they see themselves ending up once placed in a permanent role. Through this evaluation, the company are able to determine what best suits each individual and steer them towards the roles which will develop their capabilities.
3. Mentor programs
Graduates usually come into organisations with very little corporate experience. Having a mentor is more than an adviser, it provides graduates with wisdom, technical knowledge, assistance, support, empathy and respect during the program. This ensures that graduates are not left to fend for themselves, and that they are given the right guidance so they are meeting their role requirements, have someone to assist them with tasks and assistance with career choices that need to be made throughout this time.
NTT ICT ensure that each graduate is partnered with a mentor during each 6 month placement and the mentor is someone within the same department they are currently in. The mentor can then provide the graduate with an understanding of how their role fits within the team, clarify role expectations and help give advice as to what other roles they think the graduate would excel in. Once the graduate moves on to their next rotation, they will be assigned a new mentor, however we hope their work relationship remains and characterised over time by informal contact and mutual assistance, thus becoming true professional colleagues.
4. Exposure to the company as a whole
Rotation programs are designed to maximise the graduate’s exposure to a number of roles and departments across the organisation. It is essential to not limit this experience to their specific placements but continue to give them exposure to the whole organisation so they can understand how each team contributes and works together.
NTT ICT ensures our graduates experience is not restricted to their four placements and are provided with opportunities to increase their company knowledge and meet all their colleagues and gain an understanding of a range of different business units within the company. Exposure through our internal newsletters, business trips and meeting employees across the company through a number of different forums is seen as essential. NTT ICT’s 2014 graduates business trip to our Canberra office continued this learning experience where they attended a number of development sessions including; a vendor presentation, warehouse functionality session and a mentor session with a Canberra employee to be learn what they do and how they do it.
5. External Training and Development
As graduate placements can be in any area of the company, graduates may not have any background knowledge about the role they are in. It is vital for companies to use graduates eagerness to learn and grow by giving them opportunities to be trained on a variety of skills and that learning opportunities do not stop because they ‘got the job’.
NTT ICT understand the benefits of having the energy and hunger that comes with graduate placements and refuse to waste this. Throughout the program our graduates are sent on a number of training courses to improve their personal development, give them knowledge to be more proficient and capable within their placement and also to develop an understanding of core skills needed by any working professional.
And for potential graduates, to get the most out of your first role within the corporate world, you should be doing your homework to make sure the company you are applying for has a structured graduate program in place, and not just a cost-effective strategy to fill junior vacancies. If the company you are applying for has these fundamental features as part of their program, they will be treating their graduates as an investment for future growth within the company and why should you settle for anything less?