Having the opportunity to get your Graduates, Apprentices, Interns or Early Years teams together is key for leaders to introduce and instil their company visions and values at an early stage.

Over the past 2 years Graduate and Early Years training programmes have been mainly online resulting in many new recruits missing key opportunities to meet and network with their peers and leaders.

Should 2022 be the time to kick start your in-person training?

The short answer is YES.

Following 2 years of uncertainty, now is the perfect time to get these groups together building a strong foundation to give them a great start to their career with you and make your company stronger.

What’s in it for the Graduate?

An in-person event provides your young employees with the chance to meet and engage with their peer group, often laying the foundations for working relationships that continue to develop and grow as they progress through the business. They also witness the behaviours of their leaders giving them a great insight into the company and what makes its people tick.

What’s in it for the event sponsor?

An opportunity to witness first-hand how the group act and interact with one another. Including a team building activity in such a program allows you the sponsor to get a great insight into your people. When faced with a scenario out of their normal working environment individuals usually return to type, and their natural behaviours come to the fore.  This allows you to discover those individuals that are natural leaders or those who are inclusive and encourage teamwork for example.

Here at Blue Hat we have extensive experience in partnering with clients on training programs and have a wide range of clients from Financial, Retail and Engineering sectors that have engaged us to deliver modules within such programs.

Creating a successful graduate programme

Based on our experiences providing support to the graduate sector, here we share our advice for creating successful graduate programmes that will help you to attract, retain and develop your new talent at your organisation.

1. Create relevant learning and experiences.

Your graduate scheme should be designed with your business goals in mind, first ask: what does your programme aim to achieve? This should help you define what elements to include. By being crystal clear and sharing these targets within your promotion, should help to attract serious applicants with long term ambitions.

Transparency is also vital for setting expectations. Your programme should educate graduates about your company culture to minimise any culture-incompatible behaviour between graduates and existing staff.

2. Deliver what you promise.

Your company should always deliver on the commitments it has made to new graduates. By investing properly in your people, your graduates are more likely to stick around to invest their time and effort into your business. When a reputation forms that expectations are not being met, this can be damaging to your company at the very early stages for both graduate intakes and hiring new employees.

There are various online platforms that collect feedback from individuals on graduate programmes, so make sure your one is getting top scores each and every time.

3. Make sure each of your graduates feel valued.

It is important to nurture your graduate’s sense of belonging within the company. Things that can affect this are mainly how existing and higher staff members perceive the overall value of the graduates that work among them. The entire company needs to understand and appreciate the benefits of the graduate scheme and how they are contributing to the company. Networking opportunities across different levels and different departments may well help to facilitate a better connection between people too.

4. Set smart targets with a measurable output.

Include training from mentors within your programme to support your graduate’s learning and development. Set up supervised sessions where each graduate is asked to self-reflect and review their performance in the workplace, asking questions like what they feel they are contributing and what new ideas they may have to add further value.  Teaching them how to self-review can be an invaluable skill in itself that your graduates will take with them throughout the rest of their career, to benefit them as well as your company.

5. Choose graduate managers and mentors carefully.

This is essential to ensure that your graduates are treated appropriately and nurtured to fulfill their potential. Choose managers and mentors that have a genuine desire to bring in new staff, who are flexible with their time, and who are dedicated and qualified in key management skills to run performance reviews and give honest and suitable feedback in a safe and positive environment.

A great manager or mentor will be keen to discuss how each graduate can correctly and professionally position themselves to take advantage of emerging opportunities within the company and to ultimately achieve their goals and career aspirations.

6. Use a blended learning approach.

Using a blended learning approach will maximise engagement in your programme modules. Want to see how HSBC approached Blue Hat to deliver a range of blended learning solutions to make their 25 year old graduate development programme more engaging?

The modules that Blue Hat created for them got the highest scores of all modules over the previous 25 years…’

Click here to find out

Below are our top 5 suggested activities to help you create a compelling programme:

💡 Hells Bells

The perfect activity to demonstrate the benefits of teamwork. Hells Bells brings to life the Tuckman Model of Team Development (Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing). The finale of the event highlights just how effective a team can be when working together as one.

💡 Animate

Use stop-frame animation technology to test team working skills, problem solving and creativity. The topic of the animations is tailored to you, your group, and your company values. It helps embed learning and creates a fun keepsake to revisit in the future.

💡 Rollercoaster Challenge

Encourage collaboration and sharing of knowledge as teams work together to create a series of rollercoaster tracks that weave around the conference room.  Lots of opportunity to tailor the messaging and a thrilling finale that will help break the ice when networking post event.

💡 Eden

With so much focus on sustainability currently, Eden provides a thought provoking and educational event that encourages problem solving and collaboration.  Just like in life, it requires planning, communication, and compromise to be successful. At the same time, it will stretch participants with its wide range of tasks and challenges.

💡 Growth Mindset Workshop

Discover the difference between a Growth Mindset and a Fixed Mindset and how you can adapt your thinking to reach your full potential. A module designed to give an insight into Mindset with practical takeaways.


You can contact our team today to book an appointment with us in advance to learn more about how Blue Hat’s team building activities can help you provide an unforgettable shared team building experience and return on investment to your graduate programme.

Written by Ben Parkinson

Published on 3 March, 2022

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