Spotlight on graduate programmes

A selection of popular graduate recruitment programmes around the country


The Irish Management Institute (IMI) graduate development programme is different to others in that it is delivered on a consortium basis to a limited number of organisations - and not to individual graduates.

This allows graduates to benefit from meeting and networking with peers in other industries and companies.

The 16-month programme focuses on developing commercial acumen, leadership and people skills needed in the workplace - particularly around problem solving, critical thinking, communications, and working in teams.

Its key themes include self-awareness and leadership skills, professional skills and hands-on experience.

The learning approach of the programme is focused on assignments and individual and group work to create a learning environment with real-world applications.

IMI has delivered the programme virtually throughout the pandemic, and it is envisaged the company will move to a face-to-face or blended format in the coming months.


One of the big four, EY will hire approximately 320 graduates this year across their nine offices in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Belfast.

The company will be seeking applications from candidates in the traditional service areas of tax, audit, consultancy and strategy and transactions (corporate finance).

However, they said they are increasingly looking for diverse talent with backgrounds not only in business but in technology, science, engineering, law and humanities.

Still in the process of finalising future working arrangements, the company intends to operate in a hybrid model, which will allow employees the flexibility of working on client site, at home and in the office.

Candidates interested in being part of EY’s graduate programme are invited to complete an online application form before October 13th, which they should submit along with their CV. Candidates invited forward to the next stage are then asked to take part in a one-hour interview with a panel from the company’s leadership team.


Aldi’s area manager graduate programme intends to recruit between five and 10 graduates in its 2022 intake, from all areas of study.

The only requisite for application eligibility is that the candidate is on track to attain, or has attained, a grade of 2:1 or higher, but the company’s graduate cohort represents a broad representation of disciplines studied.

The application process will consist of six stages, including an online application, online psychometric assessment, video application, group interview, a managing director one on one interview and a final interview with two regional directors.

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

Recruitment will open from September 1st, and the closing date for applications is November 30th.

The starting salary is €65,000 per annum and graduates will also get a fully expensed company car (BMW 3 series), a company phone and company laptop.


PwC intends to hire 360 people for its graduate programme and seeks to take on individuals who love working in teams and have a keen interest in professional services across all of lines of service such as advisory, assurance and tax.

The company said it will hire across all disciplines, including people from a science, technology, economics, engineering, law and business backgrounds.

Applicants must submit their application before October 13th, and individuals who are hired will be permitted to work in a hybrid model of both in the office and from home, depending on the needs of the business at the time.

Applicants complete an online application process and they will then be called for an interview.

The company offers a “competitive market value package” for graduates which includes benefits such as paid study leave, 3pm finish on Fridays in the summer months, employee wellbeing programmes, subsidised health insurance and fitness classes.


Lidl’s graduate management programme is an 18-month scheme, consisting of several modules which give graduates 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 spend some time in both the stores and warehouses to gain a thorough understanding of the key business areas before entering their chosen department.

Successful applicants can expect to receive a salary of €36,400 per year, 20 days annual leave and other benefits.

In order to be eligible for the scheme, individuals must expect to attain, or have already attained, a 2.1 honours level 8 degree, they must have a full drivers' licence and must have the flexibility to travel or relocate within Ireland as required.

Being able to speak German is an advantage, but not a necessity.

Applications for the programme open in September every year.


Ireland’s largest professional services firm, KPMG, expects to hire over 400 new graduates into the firm and circa 400 interns in the coming year.

The company says it is very keen to attract and hire from all disciplines. While the majority of its graduate hires come from a business-related course, KPMG said it also hires extensively from IT, engineering, maths, science, and arts courses.

Successful applicants will join a 3.5 year programme and take their ACA exams to qualify as a chartered accountant.

It is envisaged that staff will work in a hybrid manner, with a mix of office, home, and client site.

The company looks at academic results, interest in business, achievements in extracurricular activities and motivation when deciding on who are the best candidates to hire.

The application process will open in early September and close in mid-October and the graduate salary will be finalised, based on the market, when the application process opens.


Accenture offers graduate programmes across five streams: analytics, consulting, software engineering, cybersecurity, and business and technology integration.

Salaries start at €35,000 and graduates are provided with ongoing training, mentorship and live project experience.

Combined with this training and development, 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.

There is also room for career progression, with the company pledging to support graduates to promotion within approximately three years of joining.

The application process is currently fully virtual and includes gamified online challenges using augmented reality, virtual assessments, and interviews.

The company has developed a new virtual recruitment centre for interested candidates so they can learn more about the organisation and the work it does.

Applications for the 2022 programme will open over the coming months.


Deloitte employees come from every kind of background, and the company encourages applications from a wide range of disciplines including business, engineering, maths, science, law, technology and arts.

The company recruited over 250 graduates this past year, and they expect this to grow in line with the significant growth in the business.

Successful applicants will likely be working in a hybrid format, subject to government guidance. The company said it has learned a lot by running the early careers events in a virtual format over the past year, so graduates will feel supported no matter where they may be working from.

Their refreshed, innovative application process is currently under development and Deloitte will communicate the process clearly through the careers site and social media pages closer to the application opening date in early September.

The company said they are very excited about the changes being made and expect them to provide a more interactive and immersive experience for applicants.


The ESB graduate development programme is made up of a series of rotations, on the job training and development opportunities to ensure graduates are well equipped for future success.

The company will hire 55 graduates in September, from a variety of disciplines including engineering, commercial HR, marketing, finance and IT.

The programme will operate under a hybrid model of remote and in-office working. The company said their smart working vision is to enable managers and employees to figure out the best way to serve their customers and deliver the organisation's Brighter Future strategy while taking into consideration their own unique circumstances, as well as some basic parameters set by the business.

The application process includes an initial online application and assessments followed by interviews, including a presentation or case study and applications for the 2022 programme will open in September 2021.

The company said it offers a competitive reward package and access to a number of staff supports including a medical insurance scheme, sports and social activities.


The Jameson international graduate programme offers graduates a rotational programme in which they can kick start their career on an international stage.

Graduates have an opportunity to become part of a global family of brand ambassadors, with staff experiencing Bangkok to Belfast, Panama to Paris.

The company currently has 60 graduates based in 35 countries around the world.

The role of Jameson Brand Ambassador is a field-based role with a focus on building brand awareness and brand advocacy.

The programme hires between 10 and 15 people annually on an initial 13-month contract, with opportunities for career progression.

The company hires across all disciplines, but seeks individuals who are creative and innovative self-starters who have a clean full drivers’ license.

Graduates apply with a 2-minute video application, supported by a written application

Applications open in September each year, with a “competitive” starting salary, a company phone, company laptop and often a company car.

Arthur Cox

Despite Arthur Cox being one of the country's leading corporate law firms, applicants don't have to have studied law to undertake their 2½ year graduate programme.

The company has trainees who studied business, arts, music, psychology and science, and they continue to hire from all disciplines.

The company aims to have 45 legal trainees starting every year, and applications usually close in the last week of October.

The company's 2021 intake of trainees will start in September straight into their Law Society professional practice course which will be delivered remotely. They will commence their in-office training in April 2022 by which stage the firm hopes to be back in the office in a hybrid model.

The application process is online and involves a short application form, a CV and a cover letter. Applicants are also asked to complete the Watson Glaser test, an aptitude assessment used by law firms to determine critical thinking skills.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times