Supporting early career colleagues at JBA

Did you know that each year we welcome around 40 – 60 colleagues straight from university?

In addition to those who impress during our annual Graduate Recruitment campaign, we also advertise and recruit for specific Graduate level positions throughout the year, with opportunities across our disciplines.

Our two-year Graduate Scheme is just one of the initiatives in place to support early career colleagues. However, with up to 80 individuals on the Graduate Scheme at any one time, it’s a social network as much as a development programme. We invest heavily in provisioning the scheme; but with those at early career stages making up around an eighth of our workforce, the outlay is well worth the return.

“We put a lot of emphasis on nurturing talent and bringing graduates to their full potential. This is certainly a personal passion for me and the team. When I see how far our former graduates have since progressed in the company, I can’t help but feel very proud.” Head of Learning and Development, Maxine Zaidman.

To ensure graduates get the most out of their JBA Careers, we make an upfront pledge to:

  • Support your development
  • Give you opportunities
  • Listen to you
  • Make senior staff accessible
  • Get you involved in business

Of course, making good on these promises is not easy. One of the key things we’ve been concentrating on is making sure consultancy skills are developed effectively in a hybrid/distributed workplace. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been harder than ever, as graduates have typically completed much of their degree remotely and perhaps don’t have the same confidence in team situations as their predecessors. Even asking a question verbally in person can be a challenge for some graduates despite being academically capable. To address this our online graduate learning programme works in tandem with frequent one-to-one support from our Graduate Scheme Coordinator and the Graduate’s line manager. Networking events also help our graduates understand the important role they play within the company, whilst also providing an opportunity to meet and gain inspiration from fellow graduates past and present.

Through our behaviours and competency framework, we help graduates identify individual goals, which they’re able to meet at their own pace and in a way that works for their role and team. We also have our own in-house technical training programme, and though much of this is delivered through Teams (rather than face-to-face in a classroom), this has allowed us to capitalise on the flexibility this offers in terms of practicality and cost. As a result, we can run more training, more often, and with fewer delegates. This means training can be delivered at the right time and with more opportunities for one-to-ones with the trainer. Via our Train the Trainer programme, we’re also doing our utmost to ensure our trainers have the right skills to optimise the course content and programme to suit the delivery method.

Everyone at JBA gets an annual training allowance of six days (with a cap of £1400). Since we started running more of our training online, we’ve found that our employees spend more time training but utilise less of their budget (especially in relation to expenses). That’s a win-win for us as a company.

Want to know more?

Applications for our annual Graduate Scheme are now open. For details of how to apply, more information on our different graduate pathways and a full list of graduate benefits, visit our online graduate hub here.

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