The Student Room Group

Is 30 too old for a grad scheme ?

I graduated about 7 yrs ago and now looking at getting onto a finance grad scheme at the age of 30. I haven't had much luck with employment. I tried teaching but it wasn't for me, worked in several dead end admin jobs whilst tutoring. Tried a grad job at a large company which didn't work out.

I wanted to ask if 30 is too old to start a graduate scheme? Are employers likely to hold my age against me?
I think graduate schemes are mostly designed for recent grads - while that may be of any age (mature students are just as eligible), since you've had 7 years of experience as a working professional (even if they aren't in roles you wanted to pursue or weren't of the level you were hoping to form a career at) I'm not sure if you would normally be considered? Certainly you could apply but they will quite likely ask you about your employment history since graduating so you may want to think of how to frame that if you do get interviews.
Reply 2
30 is not too old - I've seen a fair few people over that age starting accounting grad schemes. This has generally been as a career change. I think some employers look for people who graduated within the last three years but lots don't.
Age is normally not an issue.

But some grad schemes have restrictions on how far out of university you are.
Original post by artful_lounger
I think graduate schemes are mostly designed for recent grads - while that may be of any age (mature students are just as eligible), since you've had 7 years of experience as a working professional (even if they aren't in roles you wanted to pursue or weren't of the level you were hoping to form a career at) I'm not sure if you would normally be considered? Certainly you could apply but they will quite likely ask you about your employment history since graduating so you may want to think of how to frame that if you do get interviews.

UK grad schemes don't care about age unless they specifically state graduated within X years/months, which is relatively rare for most industries. A lot of schemes average age is 25/26, OP is fine. They will not ask him anything specific to his employment history, that's not how grad scheme interviews work, they follow the same question format irrespective of age or experience, it will be tell us about a time you did X/Y/Z, tell us about a time you felt X/Y/Z, nothing more specific than that.
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 5
Original post by sabana
I graduated about 7 yrs ago and now looking at getting onto a finance grad scheme at the age of 30. I haven't had much luck with employment. I tried teaching but it wasn't for me, worked in several dead end admin jobs whilst tutoring. Tried a grad job at a large company which didn't work out.

I wanted to ask if 30 is too old to start a graduate scheme? Are employers likely to hold my age against me?

I'm 27 and am also applying to grad schemes for the same reason - I want to get a headstart in a new career. I've attended lots of webinars by recruiters and employees currently on grad schemes in the business, consulting and public sectors, and have always asked them the question "do you have to be a recent grad/is there an age limit for applying" as I was self conscious about this too - the answer was always that it didn't matter how recently you graduated, but that the schemes tend to be of an entry-level standard so it might be a slight step down depending on what your current experience is. If you're applying for a grad scheme with years of experience but are prepared to accept a grad salary, that's probably a bonus for the employer. That being said, some schemes specifically say that you must be a recent grad of X years, but it's always worth calling them to press your case or applying anyway.

Have you considered the Civil Service Fast Stream? They are one of the top employers for grads and have no age requirements. I specifically questioned this on a recent webinar with them, and they confirmed that many people on the fast stream are 30+, including existing civil servants who want that boost into management level. They also run specific schemes in finance and economics and applications open in Septemeber: https://www.faststream.gov.uk/finance/index.html
Not at all but some employers do prefer recent graduates. They're a good vehicle for a career change in addition to apprenticeships, IMO.
Original post by sabana
I graduated about 7 yrs ago and now looking at getting onto a finance grad scheme at the age of 30. I haven't had much luck with employment. I tried teaching but it wasn't for me, worked in several dead end admin jobs whilst tutoring. Tried a grad job at a large company which didn't work out.

I wanted to ask if 30 is too old to start a graduate scheme? Are employers likely to hold my age against me?

Maybe Civil Service fast track would be a suitable option for you. There is no age restriction, no condition on when you graduate or what background. There is this generic Civil Service fast track one, and there is departmental fast track schemes like in NHS and HMRC, but you dont need any specific subjects. Most require only a 2.2 degree in any subject. I know some in 30s or even 40s starting HMRC or NHS fast track.
Reply 8
Original post by KEScholar
Maybe Civil Service fast track would be a suitable option for you. There is no age restriction, no condition on when you graduate or what background. There is this generic Civil Service fast track one, and there is departmental fast track schemes like in NHS and HMRC, but you dont need any specific subjects. Most require only a 2.2 degree in any subject. I know some in 30s or even 40s starting HMRC or NHS fast track.

Thanks I will definitely look into that. I'm also currently in the process of applying to some non grad roles in the civil service - risk analyst and compliance caseworker.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by sabana
Thanks I will definitely look into that. I'm also currently in the process of applying to some non grad roles in the civil service - risk analyst and compliance caseworker.

That's good. I applied to O Compliance caseworker as well and my PEC completed today, waiting for a start date in Birmingham.

Where did you apply? Did you do interview?
Reply 10
Original post by KEScholar
That's good. I applied to O Compliance caseworker as well and my PEC completed today, waiting for a start date in Birmingham.

Where did you apply? Did you do interview?

That's great news!! 😃

I interviewed for the risk role in Manchester and currently on the top position on the reserve list. So hopefully I hear something soon.

For O compliance I failed the SJT but its fine, I'll try again when a new role is posted near me.
Original post by sabana
That's great news!! 😃

I interviewed for the risk role in Manchester and currently on the top position on the reserve list. So hopefully I hear something soon.

For O compliance I failed the SJT but its fine, I'll try again when a new role is posted near me.

You should get a start date for risk role soon, finger crossed. I guess they only recruit 4 or 5 in risk?
Did you try HO grades?
Reply 12
Original post by KEScholar
You should get a start date for risk role soon, finger crossed. I guess they only recruit 4 or 5 in risk?
Did you try HO grades?

No I didn't, I read the job description but didn't think it was for me. It mentions leadership skills which I haven't got experience with.
Reply 13
Original post by lojawa
I'm 27 and am also applying to grad schemes for the same reason - I want to get a headstart in a new career. I've attended lots of webinars by recruiters and employees currently on grad schemes in the business, consulting and public sectors, and have always asked them the question "do you have to be a recent grad/is there an age limit for applying" as I was self conscious about this too - the answer was always that it didn't matter how recently you graduated, but that the schemes tend to be of an entry-level standard so it might be a slight step down depending on what your current experience is. If you're applying for a grad scheme with years of experience but are prepared to accept a grad salary, that's probably a bonus for the employer. That being said, some schemes specifically say that you must be a recent grad of X years, but it's always worth calling them to press your case or applying anyway.

Have you considered the Civil Service Fast Stream? They are one of the top employers for grads and have no age requirements. I specifically questioned this on a recent webinar with them, and they confirmed that many people on the fast stream are 30+, including existing civil servants who want that boost into management level. They also run specific schemes in finance and economics and applications open in Septemeber: https://www.faststream.gov.uk/finance/index.html

Thanks for your insights, that's made me feel a lot better about applying at my age 😊

What field are you looking at getting into?
Reply 14
Original post by SomeWelshGuy123
UK grad schemes don't care about age unless they specifically state graduated within X years/months, which is relatively rare for most industries. A lot of schemes average age is 25/26, OP is fine. They will not ask him anything specific to his employment history, that's not how grad scheme interviews work, they follow the same question format irrespective of age or experience, it will be tell us about a time you did X/Y/Z, tell us about a time you felt X/Y/Z, nothing more specific than that.

Thanks that was helpful 👍
I'm posting as this may help someone, I'm 30 and a recent graduate (2022) and can confirm the ones that asked for 'recent graduates' mostly care about age. For example, an FCA Rep at my uni said they consider mature students who recently graduated within the last year/2 years, so this encouraged me to apply. In fact, I don't think employers are legally allowed to descriminate based on age. However, in the FCA application process they ask your age (the page says its for equality purposes and that the data will be digitised and the recruiter doesn't see it nor will it impact my application, and these are conducted by independent bodies) but my application was automatically rejected. I reapplied and entered all the same information with a different age, just to test it, and my application was accepted (I did withdraw of course if anyone was wondering).

My advice is contact the recruiter or HR of the company, maybe get an email to them confirming what their minimum age requirements are or how old the degree should be. Make sure it's someone who knows what they're talking about, as opposed to random reps that want to look good in front of Unis.

I would also say look at the companies size and culture over the role. As a mature student I didn't want a great role with no room to progress so I specifically contacted larger companies. In the end I got a great job with BMW - (I actually contacted them via email and they replied in writing to say that they consider mature students- and they did!).
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Salimkhan
I'm posting as this may help someone, I'm 30 and a recent graduate (2022) and can confirm the ones that asked for 'recent graduates' mostly care about age. For example, an FCA Rep at my uni said they consider mature students who recently graduated within the last year/2 years, so this encouraged me to apply. In fact, I don't think employers are legally allowed to descriminate based on age. However, in the FCA application process they ask your age (the page says its for equality purposes and that the data will be digitised and the recruiter doesn't see it nor will it impact my application) but my application was automatically rejected. I reapplied and entered all the same information with a different age, just to test it, and my application was accepted (I did withdraw of course if anyone was wondering).

My advice is contact the recruiter or HR of the company, maybe get an email to them confirming what their minimum age requirements are or how old the degree should be. Make sure it's someone who knows what they're talking about, as opposed to random reps that want to look good in front of Unis.

I would also say look at the companies size and culture over the role. As a mature student I didn't want a great role with no room to progress so I specifically contacted larger companies. In the end I got a great job with BMW - (I actually contacted them via email and they replied in writing to say that they consider mature students- and they did!).

Most big employers sign up-to independent recruitment monitoring and the information regarding age/ethnicity/gender is not part of the application assessment.

Employers know people are unlikely to stay with them for 10+ years, what they are really looking for is who they think is the strongest candidate for the next 5 or so years. They will pay graduate roles less then experienced professionals so you’ll have to accept that...
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 17
Original post by sabana
I graduated about 7 yrs ago and now looking at getting onto a finance grad scheme at the age of 30. I haven't had much luck with employment. I tried teaching but it wasn't for me, worked in several dead end admin jobs whilst tutoring. Tried a grad job at a large company which didn't work out.

I wanted to ask if 30 is too old to start a graduate scheme? Are employers likely to hold my age against me?


No age doesn't matter!!!! But what matters it's if you a recent graduate or not. Most still allow application for the grad scheme if you have graduated in the last 3 years and I'm talking about the top practice firms. You might have a chance of getting into a much smaller company but again it depends if they want someone young or not. Hope this helps
Reply 18
Original post by Izan
No age doesn't matter!!!! But what matters it's if you a recent graduate or not. Most still allow application for the grad scheme if you have graduated in the last 3 years and I'm talking about the top practice firms. You might have a chance of getting into a much smaller company but again it depends if they want someone young or not. Hope this helps


Does it matter that it was over a year ago that they asked?
Reply 19
Original post by Quady
Does it matter that it was over a year ago that they asked?


Oh shoot 🤣🤣 Didn't even notice that

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