Human Resources Graduate Development Programme

Working in partnership with your organisation to develop a tailored, business-focused graduate programme to nurture your people professionals

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Building for the Future

Graduate Training Scheme

A graduate training scheme is an excellent opportunity for businesses to nurture talent and encourage growth within their organisation. Not only are such programmes popular with graduates, encouraging the brightest and the best from different backgrounds to apply, they also build a pipeline of talent for the future.

Why Watson Martin?

Watson Martin has a long history of working with large corporations to implement successful graduate schemes in Human Resources. The programmes have been proven to add value to the business and enable graduates to rapidly progress and achieve their goals. Many of the graduates who have been through our programmes have achieved significant success in their HR careers.

Developing HR Knowledge and Understanding

An integral part of many graduate training programmes is the provision of a nationally recognised professional qualification. All the graduates we work with enrol on our CIPD Advanced Diploma programme to develop their understanding of HR theory and practice. We know that including a Masters level qualification as part of your HR graduate scheme is an appealing proposition for candidates who apply. Attracting, developing and retaining the best people is important for all organisations and will provide a great return on your investment.

Our Expertise

What makes Watson Martin stand out as a Level 7 CIPD provider is the expertise of our tutors along with our flexibility and work-based applied approach. We work hard to integrate the graduates’ practical experiences in their placement with the knowledge and skills they gain throughout their qualification. We are proud to report that the graduates we work with achieve some of the best CIPD exam results in the industry.

Working in Partnership

Whether the objective is to attract the people professionals of the future or to support the current demands of the business, it is important to develop a scheme which will get the best out of your graduates.

From the start, our specialists will work with you to design a programme which meets your organisational needs.

Our experience allows us to tailor the scheme to your special requirements, working in partnership to determine which modules best fit your HR strategy.

If you want your graduates to be future business leaders, then give them a framework of core competencies to work towards.

Our flexible learning approach allows your graduates to choose the order of their modules to match their work projects so they can apply their knowledge to real business problems as part of their study. 

How does an HR graduate scheme work?

Graduates normally go through a tight selection programme within their organisation before they are successful. Those who get through then embark on a range of rotations within the company, each based in different areas of HR to provide the maximum amount of experience. Most graduates hit the ground running and start their first module of the CIPD Advanced Diploma with their first rotation.

Working in cohorts of between eight and ten candidates, depending on the size of the organisation, graduates study for their qualification through a bespoke mix of workshops, webinars and online learning as well as being supported by a Watson Martin personal tutor. Candidates benefit from working in a company cohort and learn from their peers.

“My aim was to get the qualification, do well and support my business knowledge. My tutor had really good knowledge of recommended reading materials and helped me to choose my modules based on what I was doing at work and what I was interested in. It was a very rewarding experience.”

Frances Maddocks
HR graduate scheme, former candidate
Centrica plc

While it is a busy time, having the academic knowledge and the business experience is a win-win situation for both the graduates and the organisation. Graduates are challenged in their placements and in their studies and their learning is brought to life by studying for a CIPD qualification at the same time as working in a people profession role.

In the workplace, you can develop practical HR capability in all areas within HR. The CIPD qualification gives you the opportunity to link that with HR best practice and opens the door to developing networks within the HR community outside of Centrica. By providing the opportunity to work towards the CIPD qualification, it ensures that our graduates continue to build on their academic portfolio as well as gaining first hand HR experience which supports their learning.”

Simon O’Farrell FCIPD
HR graduate programme sponsor
Centrica plc

Programme Design

Consistency is important, and we use the same experienced delivery team to work with your graduates each year for the duration of the programme. Depending on the scheme, students complete a module every three months and are allowed up to two years to complete their qualification.

All graduates enrolled with us are supported throughout their learning journey by a dedicated expert adviser who guides them through the assessment process in regular 1:1 sessions. In addition, they attend four workshops delivered by subject experts to help them prepare for the CIPD exams within their cohort.

Candidates have access to a wide range of study skills resources and regular one-hour discussion forums to help them achieve qualification success. Developed specifically to provide people with greater flexibility to learn at a time they choose, these resources are all linked to the CIPD new Profession Map. Online materials including workbooks, recorded webinars on different topics presented by our experts along with videos, podcast and links to further information are all available 24/7 on our Virtual Learning Environment.

Opening-up Career Opportunities

As a graduate, it’s a real motivator to know a company sees you as part of its long-term future. Many graduates who have been through programmes with Watson Martin are already moving up the career ladder having secured promotions within the organisation.


“If you want graduates to be HR directors of the future then you have to give them the tools to make them be not just operational but to think strategically, which is what this Masters level qualification does as a whole. It helps to pull you out of your day to day operational and tactical work and that offers huge value in that it broadens your perspective.”

Matthew Turner-Wilson
HR graduate scheme, former candidate
Centrica plc


The organisations we work with see real benefit in people building their knowledge and developing themselves throughout their HR careers. If this is something you would like to encourage as a business then contact our special advisers to find out how a graduate programme might work for you on 020 7932 2760.

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Read about our HR graduate programme with British multinational utility company Centrica plc, the UK’s largest energy supplier.