Ten companies offering competitive benefits on their graduate programmes, from Jameson to ESB

Here are some paid programmes that can take you from new graduate to seasoned professional

Graduate programme benefits for fresh-out-of-college candidates include competitive salaries, training, mentorship and hands-on experience

ESB

The utility company is seeking about 100 graduates to join its award-winning graduate programme in September 2025, spanning the group, including Electric Ireland and ESB Networks. It is hiring across disciplines including engineering (electrical, mechanical, civil, and quantity surveying), commercial, HR, finance and IT.

The company operates under a system called “smart working” which enables flexible and remote ways of working. The successful candidate may combine remote or smart working within the jurisdiction, with attendance at their base for in-person collaboration, the frequency of which is agreed with their manager.

The application process for the graduate programme includes an initial online application, aptitude test and a video interview for business programmes. Successful candidates will then be invited to a competency-based interview.

Applications for the 2025 programme will open in September 2024 and will close in October.

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The company states that it offers a competitive rewards package and access to a number of staff supports including ESB insurance schemes, reduced electricity discount with Electric Ireland and sports and social activities, to name a few.

esb.ie

Vodafone

In its 15th year, Vodafone’s graduate programme in Ireland is seeking 40 graduates who have a passion for innovation, teamwork and technology.

Those who are selected are encouraged to develop their interests and skills with practical experience through one of Vodafone’s seven tailored graduate streams: technology, data, business management, marketing communications, digital design, corporate security and finance.

During their 18-month placement, Vodafone graduates will experience two rotations within their chosen stream. They will receive dedicated mentoring and real responsibility from the start, equipping them with everything they need to progress and become an expert in their field.

Graduates will receive a competitive salary and can tailor their own benefits package along with a hybrid working model, including 20 days working abroad, access to physical and mental wellbeing supports through Vodafone’s on-site and virtual Wellness Centre facilities, birthday day off, a free phone bill, exclusive friends and family discounts, and three additional charity days’ leave.

Vodafone operates a hybrid model, where candidates will spend roughly 60 per cent of their time at home and 40 per cent in the office.

The application process involves submitting a CV, completing online gamified tests, participating in a video interview and attending a final stage called an assessment centre, which candidates can express a preference of doing in person or online.

Applications for Vodafone’s 2025 graduate programme will open in September and close in November.

n.vodafone.ie

Graduate programmes usually last for a year or two and involve training across different departments and operations. Photograph: iStock

Accenture

Accenture offers graduate programmes in analytics, consulting and technology. Along with a competitive market value salary, graduates are provided with ongoing training, mentorship and live project experience.

The programme also offers benefits including private healthcare, paid overtime, generous annual leave, paid volunteering days annually, external studies support, study leave and a pension option with company contributions.

This year the application process will include gamified online challenges using augmented reality, virtual assessments, collaborative project work and in-person interviews.

Applications for the 2025 programme will open in early autumn 2024.

accenture.com/graduates

MSD

MSD Ireland’s graduate programme is a structured three-year programme that affords graduates the opportunity to experience all areas of biopharma innovation and manufacturing from their chosen site within the MSD Ireland network.

The programme is designed to ensure early talent get the best and most comprehensive exposure to prepare them for the future; being able to gain valuable, hands-on experience across a range of teams and levels of pharma operations.

Looking for talent across science, engineering and technology disciplines, the graduate programme is seeking to recruit 30 graduates into the programme for 2025.

Applications will open in September 2024 and the selection process thereafter will include competency-based interviewing and a psychometric assessment.

The company said graduates will receive a competitive base salary with scheduled annual increases for the duration of the three-year programme, as well as a range of other benefits, including hybrid working, health and wellbeing supports, and exciting networking, mentoring and coaching opportunities throughout the duration of the programme.

jobs.msd.com

KPMG

One of the big four, KPMG intends to hire about 450 graduates for roles in audit and assurance, tax consulting, deal advisory, consulting and KPMG law. The company is hoping to attract ambitious students from business/accounting, Stem, arts and law.

The company said it has lots of exciting roles, providing opportunities to work in practically every aspect of business. For example, KPMG recently announced 200 new positions for its just-launched Dublin EU AI hub.

The organisation operates on a blended working model, with a mix of in-office and remote working. There is an online application form which captures academic results, career motivation and achievements.

It will be open for applications in early September and the closing date will be around mid-October, with assessments following soon after.

The company said it expects the salary will be competitive for the graduate market. The starting salary has not yet been decided – each year KPMG carries out analysis on the market and decides on that basis.

kpmg.ie/careers

EY

EY states recruitment of graduates is central to its ability to deliver for its clients. As a result, its September 2025 graduate programme is expected to have more than 300 graduate roles across a range of disciplines.

Scheduled to open applications in August, the company said it is looking for students who are “ambitious, inquisitive and forward thinking”.

There will be roles in assurance, tax and consulting, as well as in areas such as AI and data analytics, sustainability, technology and law. EY said it is looking for students from a variety of courses and backgrounds, from accounting to software engineering, environmental sciences, machine learning, law, business and more.

The firm’s flexible working programme, EY Hybrid, is accessible to all employees, including those on the graduate programme. EY’s employees are able to enjoy the flexibility of working on client sites, at home and in the office at one of its six locations across the island of Ireland – Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

This year the company said it is enhancing the student application process with the introduction of online assessments. There will be three stages, an online application form and online assessment, followed by a one-stage interview process with the leadership team from candidates’ selected graduate programme.

The deadline for applications will be October 16th. The company said it offers competitive starting salaries benchmarked with peers across the market.

ey.com

Aldi

Aldi’s graduate programme is a one-year programme in which candidates become fully fledged area managers. The company recruits approximately 100 area managers every year across the UK and Ireland, though it says this could change as the business continues to expand.

To be eligible for the programme, a candidate must be on track to attain, or have attained, a grade of 2:1 or higher, must have a full driving licence and must have a right to work in Ireland.

The application process will consist of five stages: online application, online psychometric assessment, video application, group interview and an individual interview.

The company says that the intensive interview process is commensurate with the responsibility of the role.

The starting salary is €69,975, which will rise in increments to €114,650. Graduates also receive a fully expensed company car, as well as five weeks’ holidays per year.

Recruitment opens in September.

aldirecruitment.ie

Lidl

Lidl’s graduate management programme is an 18-month plan that consists of several modules, enabling graduates to develop a full understanding of the business.

While on the programme, individuals receive a bespoke training plan designed around their career path and current skills. They also have the opportunity to spend time in both stores and warehouses to gain a full understanding of the company, before entering their chosen department.

Successful applicants can expect to receive a salary of €42,513 per year pro rata, 20 days of annual leave, up to two days of remote working per week and other benefits.

To be eligible for the scheme, individuals must expect to attain, or have already attained, a 2.1 honours level-eight degree, have a full driving licence and must have the flexibility to travel or relocate within Ireland as required.

Applications for the programme open in September every year.

jobs.lidl.ie

Graduate programs provide participants with the chance to collaborate with professionals across various areas of the business.

Deloitte

For those considering Deloitte as the destination for their graduate programme, there are many areas within the business in which you could pursue a career.

In fact, there are eight graduate programmes: audit and assurance; actuarial, reward and analytics; apprentice solicitor; consulting; financial advisory; risk advisory; tax; and technology.

The company seeks employees who are curious, imaginative and open-minded, and encourages applications from a wide range of disciplines including business, engineering, maths, science, law, technology and arts, among others.

There are some requirements, such as acquiring a 2.1 honours degree or higher, having a high level of self-motivation and the ability to analyse and work through complex problems.

The company operates a hybrid working strategy, allowing staff to have flexibility and control in how they work across client sites, the office and from home.

All candidates invited for an interview are also invited to a pre-interview event, where they can meet other graduates and talent in different areas of the business, ask questions and gain confidence in advance of their interviews.

Deloitte says it offers a competitive reward and benefits package, covering wellbeing, healthcare, pension, leave and a programme of support for professional qualifications.

deloitte.com

Jameson

Designed for graduates who are looking to build a career in marketing, the Jameson graduate programme provides an exciting opportunity for people who want to combine international experience with an Irish brand.

The company says its recruitment is focused more on attitude and fit, rather than what an individual studied. It seeks people who are creative, innovative self-starters and entrepreneurial in nature.

The programme’s induction covers all bases, ensuring that graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to hit the ground running post-induction.

The role of brand ambassador is a field-based role, working in conjunction with local sales and marketing teams in the implementation of the Jameson brand strategy in the market they are placed. It is 80 per cent field-based and 20 per cent office-based.

An initial 13-month contract, with the option of extending depending on performance, this programmes provides an opportunity to successful applicants to have a placement in various parts of the world, including central and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania.

jamesongraduateprogramme.com

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times