Graduate programmes at top companies to kick-start your career

From Aldi to Vodafone, here’s a round-up of some of the companies offering paid programmes that can take you from new graduate to seasoned professional


Approximately 80 graduates will join ESB’s graduate programme in September, with these individuals taking up positions across the ESB Group, including at Electric Ireland and ESB Networks.

The programme is recruiting across disciplines and is seeking graduates in engineering (electrical, mechanical, civil and quantity surveying) commercial, HR, finance and IT.

The successful candidate may combine remote or smart working within the jurisdiction, with attendance at their base for in-person collaboration, the frequency of which is agreed with their manager.

The full details of the application process will be announced in September 2023. In previous years, this has included an initial online application, and an aptitude and personality test. There is also a competency-based interview.


Applications for the programme will open in September. The company said it offers a “competitive” rewards package and access to a number of staff supports, including a medical insurance scheme, sports and social activities.


Designed for graduates who are looking to build a career in marketing, Jameson international graduate programme will take on 15 new individuals in August of this year.

The company says its recruitment is focused more on attitude and fit, rather than what an individual studied. It seeks people who are creative, innovative, self-starters and entrepreneurial in nature.

The programme’s induction programme covers all bases, ensuring that graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to hit the ground running post-induction.

The role of brand ambassador is a field-based role, working in conjunction with local sales and marketing teams in the implementation of the Jameson brand strategy in the market they are placed. It is 80 per cent field-based and 20 per cent office-based.

There is a two-part application process: an online written application, and a two-minute video, designed to showcase an individual’s personality.

Applications for the following year’s programme will open in September and close in February 2024.

Graduates receive a competitive remuneration package, including company laptop, company phone, flights to their assigned market and a company car, if required.


According to KPMG, the core purpose of its graduate programme is to attract and recruit top graduates from all disciplines and to offer graduates personal and professional development.

One of the big four, it will be hiring around 450 graduates for its Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway offices.

It is looking to attract graduates from a wide range of disciplines. In particular, business (accounting, finance, commerce) and Stem students are in great demand. Additionally, a spokesman said, it will be seeking graduates from sustainability and arts disciplines who have an interest in a career in business.

The programme operates on a hybrid model of working. Staff in the company have a mix of home, office and client sites to work from. KPMG believes there are real benefits to this, particularly for those at the beginning of their career.

Time spent with colleagues in the office can be hugely beneficial to learning and development, and of course there is a social aspect to getting to know your peers and spending time with them.

There is an online application form on the KPMG careers website, with applications opening in the autumn and interviews commencing in November. Typically, KPMG hires students who are in their last year of study, and who then join the company after graduating.


Between 400 and 550 graduates will be hired by EY this year, in what it has described as a record student recruitment round for the company in Ireland.

According to EY, there are multiple avenues a person can enter the graduate programme with EY – coming through an undergraduate programme, as a graduate direct hire, or applying during its main graduate campaign, which opens for applications from August to October each year.

The application process is relatively straightforward, with an online application form followed by a one-stage interview process.

The firm is located in six cities across Ireland – Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Belfast, and is seeking applications from candidates in its core service areas of tax, assurance (audit), consulting, and strategy and transactions (corporate finance).

The business is “growing rapidly”, particularly in the areas of health consulting, sustainability and technology. As a result, it is keen to hire students from disciplines such as health sciences, environmental sciences, engineering and technology, among others.

The company operates a hybrid model for all employees, whether they are interns, graduates or experienced professionals.

According to a spokesman for the company, the salary for the graduate programme is competitive, benchmarked against leading market competitors and depending on the role and contract. There are also employee benefits for those joining on training contracts, including fully paid study leave, internal lectures and continuous support.


The Deloitte graduate programme will open for applications in September 2023, with the start date for successful applicants being in autumn 2024.

The firm is hiring 400 graduates for the 2024 programme, in all areas of the business, with additional graduate opportunities in tax and audit for a 2023 start date due to business growth.

There is a variety of open roles, including in the areas of accounting and finance, tax consulting, technology, and a range of specialised areas including sustainability, cyber and legal.

The company operates a hybrid working strategy, allowing staff to have flexibility and control in how they work across client sites, the office and from home.

Following the application form, candidates can learn more about what it’s like to work at Deloitte through an untimed immersive online assessment, which also gives them a personalised strengths feedback report.

All candidates invited for an interview are also invited to a pre-interview event, where they can meet other graduates and talent in different areas of the business, ask questions and gain confidence ahead of their interviews.

Deloitte says it offers a competitive total reward and benefits package, such as wellbeing, healthcare, pension, leave, and a programme of support for professional qualifications.


In its 14th year of existence, the Vodafone Irish graduate programme is seeking 40 graduates this year, with recruiters looking for individuals who have a passion for innovation, teamwork and technology.

There are seven tailored graduate streams available: technology, data, business management, marketing communications, digital design, corporate security and finance.

During the 18-month placement, Vodafone graduates will experience two rotations within their chosen stream. They will experience dedicated mentoring and real responsibility from the start, equipping them with everything they need to progress and become an expert in their field.

Graduates will receive a competitive salary and can tailor their own benefits package. The company operates a hybrid working model, in which candidates can spend roughly 60 per cent of their time working from home and 40 per cent in the office.

Along with this is, there is the option of 20 days of working abroad, access to physical and mental wellbeing support through Vodafone’s on-site and virtual wellness centre facilities, birthday day off, a free phone bill, exclusive friends and family discounts and three additional charity days’ leave.

Applications for Vodafone’s 2024 graduate programme will open in early September and close mid-November.


PwC’s graduate programme combines formal training and mentoring with practical on-the-job experience. All graduates are matched with a dedicated career coach who supports them in their career development.

When graduates join the firm, they will have access to a vast global network which spans 155 countries. Gaining international experience is invaluable, and the firm encourages its employees to explore secondment opportunities abroad.

All graduates are offered a total compensation package including pay, exam fees and exam support, recognition and other perks. The company also has a hybrid working policy.

The company says it will hire across all disciplines, including science, technology, economics, engineering, law and business.

The roles are offered in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny.

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


Accenture offers graduate programmes in a variety of fields including analytics, consulting and technology.

The company has a specific focus on training, mentorship and live project experience and offers a “competitive market-value salary”.

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.

The company encourages employees to be mobile and to move across different projects and industries, which will allow them to diversify their skills and discover what work they enjoy the most.

The application process is virtual and includes gamified online challenges using augmented reality, virtual assessments, collaborative project work and interviews.

Applications for the 2024 programme will open in early autumn.


One of the country’s leading healthcare companies, MSD offers a three-year Stem graduate programme across all of its manufacturing sites in Ireland.

The programme was relaunched in 2021 with the aim of widening the scope of roles that were offered to graduates. Since then, each September the company welcomes students into areas of science, IT automation and engineering.

In Ireland, students also have the opportunity to access a global graduate programme called MSD Leadership Development. This is a three-year programme where students can join an Irish site in their first year and rotate to the US, Singapore or the Netherlands thereafter.

The programme takes on between 25 to 30 students each year, with a highly competitive compensation package, including benefits such as health insurance, pension, and wellbeing programmes.

Some roles require graduates to be on-site for five days a week. However, where possible they have the option to work from home under the hybrid working model.

Applications for the programme open in September.

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody’s trainee solicitor programme takes on 50 trainees in each intake and each trainee has four rotations in the company’s main departments: disputes and investigations; corporate and M&A; finance; and commercial property, taxation and pensions.

For each rotation, trainees are placed on a team led by a partner with associates and a number of junior lawyers. Each trainee is paired with an associate mentor throughout their traineeship, and the programme is hybrid.

Trainees undergo 10 months of professional practice courses and 24 months of in-office training.

The company offers a variety of benefits including an opportunity to spend up to six months working with international or domestic clients or an international law firm, paid law society fees, and increasing salary over three years.


Lidl’s graduate management programme is an 18-month plan that consists of several modules, enabling graduates to develop 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 also have the opportunity to spend time in both stores and warehouses to gain a full understanding of the company, before entering their chosen department.

Successful applicants can expect to receive a salary of €40,313 per year pro rata, 20 days of annual leave, up to two days of remote working per week, as well as 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, have a full drivers’ licence and must have the flexibility to travel or relocate within Ireland as required.

Applications for the programme open in September every year.


Aldi’s graduate programme is a one-year programme that leaves candidates as fully fledged area managers by the end of the 52 weeks.

The company recruits approximately 100 area managers every year across the UK and Ireland, though it says this could change as the business continues to expand.

To be eligible for the programme, a candidate must be on track to attain, or have attained, a grade of 2:1 or higher, must have a full driver’s licence and must have a right to work in Ireland.

The application process will consist of five stages: online application, online psychometric assessment, video application, group interview, and an individual interview.

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

The starting salary is €67,925, which will rise in increments to €111,300. Graduates also receive a fully expensed company car, as well as five weeks’ holidays per year.

Recruitment opens in September.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times