When coming to the end of your college tenure, it's understandable that you might not know what to do with your future.
The world outside of education can be a daunting prospect, but there are opportunities aplenty to gain real world experience and showcase what you can do.
One such place in the Vodafone Graduate Programme, which is currently seeking applications for their Graduate Programme which begins in September 2022.
We spoke with two Vodafone Graduate Programme alumni, Nicola and Elliot, who shared their experiences of the programme with us.
If you'd like to know more about applying for the Vodafone Graduate Programme, click here.
What is the Vodafone Graduate Programme Like?
For Elliot, he likened his experience in the Vodafone Graduate Programme to college.
"You're given the freedom to play around and see what you're actually into," he says. In Elliot's case, he was a Commercial graduate, so his two nine month rotations were on completely disparate sides of the business, starting off in employer branding and then spending the next nine months in commercial operations.
From those experiences, Elliot noticed that he was encouraged to pursue any aspect of those departments. His desire for creativity, with a slight interest in filmmaking, allowed him to find his niche. From making videos of the events he was running whilst in employer branding to doing Instagram takeovers, those experiences are a key part of Elliot's current full-time role today.
For Nicola, the Vodafone Graduate Programme is "busy, but in the best sense of the word".
You occupy your role within your team but, echoing the sentiment of Elliot, the programme gives you scope to pursue aspects of the business that you're interested in.
Nicola is currently involved in Code Like a Girl and The Women's Network within the company, but stated that "there's loads to do" and is enamoured with the variety of the programme, which stood her in good stead going into her current role.
What did you enjoy most about the Vodafone Graduate Programme?
For Elliot, the "responsibility" that you're entrusted with in the Vodafone Graduate Programme is the most enjoyable aspect of the programme.
"I found it amazing that I was in a position... where I was applying to a grad programme, nervous about the assessment centres, my first big interview... and then a year later, I was on the employer branding team designing that process from the inside-out.
"That element of trust they have in you to do the job, there's not a lot of hand-holding involved".
"The opportunity" is what Nicola reckons to be the best part of the Vodafone Graduate Programme.
From the nine month rotations, you get a wide array of opportunities throughout different aspects of the business. In particular, Nicola states similarly to Elliot that if you find an area of the business that you enjoy, you have ample opportunities to pursue your passion for it.
What is the culture at Vodafone like?
Both Nicola and Elliot are effusive in their praise of the culture at Vodafone, with both of them stating that it's a significant factor in why you should be applying for the programme.
"The people that you start with and the people that you become friends with along the way, that's where the fun begins," says Elliot. From the clubs and societies akin to a college campus, like Code Like a Girl and The Women's Network in Nicola's case, there's something for everyone.
"I know that I could go for a coffee with anyone there, everyone would talk away to you. It's not just the other grads, it's everyone up through senior levels as well, so really welcoming," Nicola adds.
What separates the Vodafone Graduate Programme from other graduate programmes?
Elliot believes that it's the "time and effort" which goes into each individual grad which differentiates the Vodafone Graduate Programme from other grad programmes.
"You're not a cog in a bigger wheel, there's a great culture towards grads from everyone else in the business... they want you to find out where you should be".
For Nicola, it's the "responsibility" that you undertake in the Vodafone Graduate Programme which makes it unique.
"You're not just seen as a grad, you come in and you get comfortable in your role in your team and after that, you're really given ownership over projects".
What kind of working model do you undertake in the Vodafone Graduate Programme?
The Vodafone Graduate Programme, and working for Vodafone full-time, utilises a hybrid model for working. It means that, depending on needs and personal preference, you spend a certain percentage of your time working in the office and a certain percentage of your time working from home.
"The days I'm in the office," in Nicola's case, "I usually use them for workshops with my team or more collaborative meetings."
It's something that's shared by Elliot, who spends his time in the office depending on the needs of his team.
"For my team, we might need to spend two weeks flat out in December in the office, whereas next week, I mightn't have to go in at all".
What is the transition from the Vodafone Graduate Programme to a full-time employee like?
Nicola had a fortune transition from grad to full-time employee, with the team she was part of during her last rotation being the same team she's come into in a full-time role.
She states that it's quite different due to the added level of responsibility and ownership over what she does.
"It was important for me to remember that there are certain tasks that I will no longer do, so to cut ties with them and take ownership over the role I've moved into".
Elliot believes that the Vodafone Graduate Programme "primes" graduates for the transition into a full-time role, to not experience the "culture shock" of getting the full-time role.
"Those two nine month periods, I genuinely felt that I had two full-time jobs in that time. By the time those nine months are up, you're comfortable on your team and you know your role".
Simply put, for Elliot, transitioning into a full-time job from the Vodafone Graduate Programme merely felt like "going into a third rotation".
Would you recommend applying for the Vodafone Graduate Programme?
Both Elliot and Nicola are unequivocal in their praise of the Vodafone Graduate Programme and would suggest applying to anyone emerging from college.
"I was one of those students going through college, doing Commerce in UCD, I didn't have a clear picture of where I saw myself in three years time," says Elliot.
"Once you take the plunge, and the way the programme is designed, it's designed around you and helping you figure out what your career could be".
As Nicola succinctly puts it - "anyone who's got a bit of drive, curiosity, ambition, I'd absolutely say that this is the place for you".
For more information on the Vodafone Graduate Programme, click here.
To apply for the Vodafone Graduate Programme, click here.