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FAQ's

If there’s something you still want to know, take a look at the answers to our Frequently Asked Questions

How many graduates will we recruit this year?

We're looking for around 8 - 10 graduates in total to start in September 2016.

Do I have to choose between Bus and Rail when I apply?

Our bus and rail schemes are very different so do some research to see which suits you best. They have separate application forms so apply for whichever one you choose.

If I don't have exactly the right qualifications will I still be considered?

Unfortunately, we won't be able to accept your application unless you have or are expected to receive minimum qualifications required. For Operations and Sales/Marketing, the minimum is 2:2 in any degree discipline. For Engineering, the minimum requirement is 2:2 in Electrical, Electronic, Mechanical or Aerospace accredited by the IMechE or IET.

What happens after i apply

If you go to our 'What happens and when' page, you’ll see an outline of our whole graduate recruitment process.

Can I defer my start date?

We’re afraid this isn’t possible. Like all of our other graduates, you’ll need to be involved in our graduate induction, which takes place at the beginning of September. As well as a professional welcome to First, you’ll get to meet senior managers and take part in valuable management modules that will help you throughout your graduate programme.

What will I do on each placement?

All of your placements will be very different. In some you’ll get hands-on. Other times you’ll be on the frontline. And you’ll also get involved with big projects. The duration and location of your placements will also vary – you could be at HQ, a station or in a depot. That’s the great thing. You’ll get to experience lots of different aspects of FirstGroup and our industry. Please see the programme tab for more detailed information.

Can I transfer from one scheme to another?

Unfortunately once you’ve accepted an offer on a scheme it’s not possible to transfer. The logistics of arranging placements, line managers and mentors is a lengthy one and involves a lot of work with various stakeholders.

Where will I work within FirstGroup?

Operations/ General Management graduates - During the two year programme you will go on various placements within our rail teams to get a real flavour of our diverse business. This means you will need to be flexible with travel and relocation as you will need to move around to gain the most out of your placements. Placements will last between 3 – 12 months but you’ll get your schedule for the two years up front so you can plan where you’re going.
Engineering graduates – you’ll spend two years in Bus or Rail (whatever you chose) joining one of our different Bus or Rail operating companies. This will involve spending time at various depots and sites to give you a good understanding of our business, projects and day-to-day delivery.
Sales/Marketing - You will be based in London within the Great Western Rail Marketing team for the majority of the programme, however you will go on placements across the business to understand the different Marketing teams as well as doing a placement within Operations.

Will I be provided with a uniform?

No, you don’t need one. As a management trainee you should wear smart, business dress.

What equipment will I be provided with?

You’ll receive a laptop, mobile phone and relevant safety equipment for your placement.

What job opportunities can I expect after I finish the programme?

It all depends on our business needs and your skills and ambitions. However, our graduates typically start their careers in these areas:
Rail - Station Management, Contracts Management, Operations Management, Project Management, Train Planning and Train Crew Management.
Bus - Service Delivery Management, Operations Management, Staff Management, Project Management, Depot Management and Engineering Workshop Management.

Do I have to pay for my professional training?

No. We’re committed to supporting the professional development of all our people. So, we’re happy to fund any qualifications or training that will accelerate your career with us.

I’m not a recent graduate - can I still apply?

We welcome applications from graduates of any age, as long as you meet the minimum qualification requirements for the scheme you’re applying for.

I’ve a disability - can I still apply?

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. And like many companies, we’ll ask you to pass a medical before starting the scheme, as for safety reasons we need to make sure you can carry out certain tasks. Unfortunately, we’re not able to offer a purely office-bound programme. If you’ve colour restricted vision, you may also find that you won’t be able to progress to certain roles within the business.

How do I apply to the graduate scheme?

Simply click on the ‘apply’ button and that will take you straight to the application form. You can read up on our recruitment process in our ‘What happens when’ section.

I don't have a National Insurance number - can I still apply?

Yes you can start your application. However it is a mandatory field on our application form and you will need one to progress. If you need to apply for one please visit www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number . If you have any problems of questions or the deadline is close please contact us.

I have completed my video interview and not heard from you?

Due to the large volumes of applications we receive and the various stages candidates are at, we will come back to everyone after the closing date and prior to the assessment centre in February.

When is the Assessment Centre?

Assessment Centres are held in between February and March.

When do you open applications for Summer Internships?

We will commence advertising in February.

Do you offer sponsorship if I do not have the relevant right to work in the UK?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer sponsorship. You need the right to work in the UK to be able to apply to the programme.

When do applications close for the Graduate Programmes?

The closing date is 27th December 2015.

What tests will I have to do as part of my application?

We use SHL for a variety of tests, Verbal, Numerical, Inductive or Deductive depending on the role you are applying for to practice these beforehand visit: http://www.shldirect.com/en/practice-tests

I am having problems with my SHL tests what do I do?

Visit: http://support.shl.com/candidate for help and advice.