Graduates: The core of the company future

Written by Barry Johnson on 8 May 2019

Reading time: 2 minutes.

I was shuffling through the piles of paper hidden from sight when I noticed two booklets, we wrote some years ago. I read them. In the foreword was one paragraph that characterised the people in the company.

Company name – has succeeded in the turbulent international environment because it has good people. People who are not afraid to confront competition, challenge existing thinking, anticipate new opportunities, devise new solutions, be innovative and take initiatives.”

This was the environment in which I was proud to work.

A summary

We placed first appointment graduates into substantive jobs as early as practicable after joining. It was essential that they could adapt to the culture of the company. The first three months of a first appointment graduate's employment in the company is crucial.

It was during this period he or she makes the transition from academic life to permanent employment and the basic skills and approaches of his or her chosen profession and industrial life. This period was aided by the graduate working alongside a nominated coach, normally a graduate of two or more years’ experience.

I often see the names of senior executives that I first saw many years ago as graduates.

This is not only valuable for the newly appointed graduate but also her or his coach. The coaching aims to guide the learning of the graduate to ensure she or he can carry out the job functions and processes through hands-on experience (see Kolb, experiential learning).

During this early period, the graduate attends seven one day learning events such as Overview of Company Products, Understanding Our Customers, Quality Plan, Product Life Cycles, Systematic Approaches, The Communication Process and Strategic Directions.

Over the first year through coaching, off-the-job training and secondments, the graduates’ professional and technical skills were broadened to meet the job, department and functional requirements.

In the second-year graduates’ skills and knowledge were further broadened and enhanced to form the basis of a sound progressive career within the profession and company.

All graduates were encouraged and assisted in obtaining membership of the professional institution appropriate to their chosen career.

The managers of units were trained to devise appropriate learning plans and position graduates in jobs related to the required skills and knowledge. Each department or unit, with several graduates, had a qualified coordinator, usually a manager reporting to a director or senior manager.

They monitor the graduates learning, ensure training plans, secondments etc. are being implemented, take action to ensure graduates skills and experience is growing and act as tutor, advisor, counsellor through regular reviews using the graduate's log book for the discussion, and represent the graduate if a representation is requested or required.

This is just a quick skate over what we were doing, and I often see the names of senior executives that I first saw many years ago as graduates.


About the author

Barry Johnson BA, CMCIPD, MCMI, is a non-executive director at Learning Partners Ltd.


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