Five years ago Cambridge Assessment International Education launched their first ever graduate scheme, which saw four fresh-faced newly graduated individuals join the organisation on an 18-month training contract.
Two of the graduates still working for the organisation, Sophie Armstrong and Will Saville, reflect on their experiences of the graduate scheme and how it set them up for future success at Cambridge Assessment.
What made you apply for the graduate scheme at Cambridge Assessment?
Sophie: I wanted to get onto a Graduate Scheme which had variety. Both in the types of work I'd be given and also working with different countries and cultures! I definitely got that in my time on the scheme which helped me learn what work I liked and didn't enjoy so much!
Will: I really wanted to work in education and actually hadn't heard of Cambridge Assessment (OCR was familiar to me as I had sat their exams), my aunt who lived in Cambridge and now also works for the organisation told me about the graduate scheme and I decided to apply. I'm glad I did because working for Cambridge Assessment was a fantastic first job.
Where are you now?
Will: I'm Business Development Manager for one of Cambridge English's subsidiary companies, and look after the Occupational English Test as a product. I cover the UK and Ireland and look after a variety of different stakeholders, this is the aspect I enjoy most about my job - meeting customers and being a brand ambassador for the organisation.
Sophie: I'm a Business Strategist working in Cambridge International's strategy team, part of Corporate Affairs. I work on strategy development, projects, reporting and communications.
How did the scheme set you up for future success?
Sophie: As I said before I love variety in the roles I've had in this organisation and have been privileged to work with colleagues, managers and Directors that have given me opportunities to learn more and extend my experience! Perhaps it's due to me being from the North but I've found talking to people and being interested in learning about their work has really helped me throughout my time here. It helped me learn about other roles and the skills/experience I needed to help me on my way!
What advice do you have for newly graduated individuals who join the organisation?
Will: This advice isn't just for new graduates, but don't be afraid to keep asking questions and continue learning. Everyone at Cambridge Assessment is lovely and you can find out and learn so much from talking to people. I think it's also important to get involved with initiatives that are happening within the organisation that aren't necessarily directly related to your role, such as staff networks / charity committees etc. it's a great way of meeting new people and expanding your professional network.
Sophie: I agree with Will's point above about always asking questions and not being afraid! I think one thing I have learnt, or people told me, is to have faith in myself! Sometimes when you start as a fresh graduate, often without much corporate office experience, you can become a little under confident. But from my experience most people welcomed a fresh pair of eyes and wanted our thoughts.
Are there any plans for future versions of the graduate scheme?
Both: Yes there is which is great. Group Transformation are currently looking into engaging more with those who are the start of their careers, including new graduates. Watch this space!
Find out more about working at Cambridge Assessment and view our current job opportunities on our careers page.