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Grad Scheme or Freelancing

Grad Scheme or Freelancing – Which is Right for You?

Reaching the end of your time at university means you have some decisions to make. Two of the common options are a grad scheme or becoming your own boss by freelancing. To be in no doubt, there are pros and cons of each, which we go through here.

A Grad Scheme

You may have noticed your fellow students filling out Grad Scheme applications already and you may want to fill out some yourself. The appeal of these schemes stems from them essentially being paid internships, giving you valuable experience whilst earning money.

The Pros

  • You start earning money right away.
  • You can “test the waters” to see if the corporate life is really for you.
  • If you have been welcome-accepted to a grad scheme, chances of you getting a job offer at that same company or others are proven higher.
  • It is likely that you will have access to training, whether that is through shadowing or participating in professional development programs.
  • You will most likely have a set work schedule (although be mindful it may be long).
  • If you have IT skills, you will have more options to choose from.

The Cons

  • You may not interact much with executives of the company.
  • Often you will be moved between various departments and it will be hard to establish connections with permanent employees of the enterprise.
  • You will not be given tasks for which there are real consequences, which can be frustrating.
  • The organisation may take on more than it ever intends to hire. You will have to be very competitive and prove your value.


If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and believe that freelancing sounds right for you, here are a few stats that might interest you:

Freelancing is gaining a lot of attention amongst young professionals, and it seems that companies are finding hiring contractors far more budget-friendly than permanent employees. Technology makes freelancing considerably easier for both parties. Here are pros and cons to consider:

The Pros

  • You are in charge of your own schedule. Freelancers can choose their work hours, according to the deadlines of their clients and at their own convenience.
  • You can select the type and amount of work you choose. If income is paramount, you may need to take all offered work. At other times, you can be more selective, and that’s a nice place to be.
  • You tend to have more variety in your work. If you are an employee of a company you could get pigeon-holed, where you are responsible for the repetitive tasks over a longer period of time.

The Cons

  • Freelancing requires self-discipline. You will not have a start and end-time of your work day, and you may be working at unusual hours. Are you ready to give up some of your social life? Are you willing to postpone or cancel other activities because a client has a need?
  • Freelancing means inconsistent income. There will be lucrative periods as well as dry spells. This means that you have to plan ahead and practice fiscal responsibility.
  • Insurance. Your financial security may be unsteady due to freelancing being unpredictable work.
  • Freelancers can use a contractor accountancy services  to receive the support you need when managing your own contracts. Furthermore, any uncertainty identified with working independently can be diminished through using a contractor pay calculator, where you get a better understanding of the kind of money you are expecting to pocket.

The route you select is dependent on your person type. Once you assess the various options and decide where your comfort level lies, you should be able to choose whether a graduate scheme or freelancing is for you.