All You Need to Know About Being a Graduate Trainee in Nigeria

by Ominigbo Ovie Jeffery
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graduate trainee

Are you a fresh university graduate seeking advice on what to do next? You may have found a position as a graduate trainee for a company. Or you would like to explore the advantages or disadvantages of being a graduate trainee.

If you’re that individual, then you’d like to pay keen attention to this article. As simple as this may sound, graduates, especially in Nigeria, are asking several questions about “graduate trainee programs, its roles, and relevance.”

These days, companies are recruiting graduates to whom they can give hands-on training in their company that will best prepare them for a full-time role. Companies cutting across I.T., oil and gas, banking, and the private and public sectors have come up with graduate trainee programs, a preferred recruitment method. In Nigeria, graduate trainee programs range on average between 3 and 12 months, depending on the company’s directives and the role they are meant to fill.

This article is meant to serve as a directive for all you need to know about being a graduate trainee in Nigeria and how best to prepare yourself to become relevant in your company of choice. Before proceeding, it’s important you know who a graduate trainee is.

Who is a Graduate Trainee?

A graduate trainee is an individual who recently graduated from a university and is hired by a company to receive on-the-job training and professional development in a specific field or department. The goal is to prepare them for a full-time role within the company.

The program usually lasts between 3 and 12 months and provides the trainee with hands-on experience, mentorship, and opportunities for skill building and growth. The graduate trainee program aims to develop high-potential individuals and prepare them for leadership roles within the organization.

Responsibilities of a Graduate Trainee

As a junior professional going through a graduate trainee program, you should know that you are hired to gain work experience and develop skills in a particular field. Your roles and responsibilities may vary depending on the company and the industry, but there are some common tasks you may be required to perform. These include:

  1. Learning about the company’s operations, products, and services.

As a graduate trainee, you are expected to learn about the operations, products, and services that that particular company offers. Learning this will help you understand how the company operates, its overall goals and objectives, and what is obtainable there. Some of the ways you can do this are;

  • Through on-the-job training and observation
  • Through company presentations and orientation sessions
  • Through a review of the company’s procedures and other relevant documents
  • Through feedback and mentorship from senior staff members
  1. Participating in training programs and workshops

As a graduate trainee, you are expected to participate in training programs and workshops that will help prepare you for future career growth in the company. Doing this will help you develop your skills and knowledge in the chosen field and provide the tools and resources you need to perform your job effectively.

  1. Assisting senior staff with various projects and tasks

As part of your role as a graduate trainee, you will work closely with experienced staff to support the completion of projects and tasks. These tasks include conducting research, compiling data, preparing reports, and performing administrative tasks. This presents a valuable opportunity to learn about the company, its culture, and its processes while contributing to its success.

  1. Gaining hands-on experience in various departments

Gaining experience in the company’s different departments will allow you to understand how every department within the organization works together to achieve the company’s goals. This rotation through departments is necessary for you to get broad exposure to different functions within the company.

It will help you develop a well-rounded understanding of the organization, build your network, and identify areas in which you would like to specialize.

  1. Building relationships with team members

As a graduate trainee, you are expected to build a good relationship with other team members. This will help you establish a professional network within the company and build relationships with people who can support your development and career growth. These relationships can be valuable to you as you progress in your career, as they can provide mentorship, advice, and support.

  1. Attend meetings and take minutes

In your time with the company as a graduate trainee, you will be expected to attend meetings and take minutes. These meetings may be with team leaders, heads of departments, supervisors, or even with senior staff members of the company. Taking minutes in meetings will help you to be more focused and also write a detailed record of important discussions made during the meeting.

  1. Compiling reports and making presentations

As a graduate trainee, you’ll be expected to compile reports from each department you’re sent to and make presentations before senior staff members of the company. You’ll have to get records and then analyze the data that will be relevant during your presentations. These are part of the validation points determining your future company career.

Read Also: The Painful Reality of an Average University Graduate in Nigeria

Requirements of a Graduate Trainee

When you express interest in a graduate trainee program, the company will require that you have some important things that will qualify you to become a graduate trainee. Though requirements vary depending on the directives from the companies, there are requirements common to them all. These requirements include:

  1. Degree in a relevant field

Most companies require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field, such as business, finance, marketing, or engineering. It is imperative to have a degree.

  1. Relevant experience

Some companies require previous work or internship experience, while others may consider recent graduates with no work experience.

  1. Strong communication skills

As a graduate trainee, you must communicate effectively with your colleagues, senior staff, and clients.

  1. You can easily adapt to a changing work environment

You should be able to adapt to new situations and learn quickly, which is important as you will be working in various departments and on different projects.

  1. You should have problem-solving skills

As a graduate trainee, problem-solving is part of your everyday experience; hence, you should have the skills to find solutions to challenges that may arise in your work.

  1. Teamwork

You should work well in a team and collaborate with others to achieve common goals. Working with a team shows you are dependable and a fan of progress.

  1. Strong motivation and a positive attitude

As a graduate trainee, you should be motivated to learn, grow, and succeed in your career. You should also have a positive attitude and the willingness to take on new challenges.

Skills a Graduate Trainee Should Have

Just as every job demands a certain skill set from its employees, there are certain skills that companies want from you. These include:

  1. Strong communication skills with colleagues, senior staff, and clients.
  2. The ability to adapt to new situations and learn quickly.
  3. Strong problem-solving skills to find solutions to challenges that may arise as you work.
  4. Ability to work well in a team and collaborate with others to achieve common goals
  5. Strong motivation and a positive attitude towards new challenges
  6. Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills to analyze data, identify patterns and trends and make informed decisions.
  7. Strong organizational skills to prioritize work, manage time effectively, and meet deadlines.
  8. A basic understanding of computer software and technology.
  9. Strong interpersonal skills to build strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders.

Read Also: How To Write a Professional CV as a Graduate in Nigeria

Differences between Graduate Trainee Programs and Internships

A graduate trainee program and an internship are similar in that they provide opportunities for recent graduates to gain practical experience and develop their skills in a professional setting. However, there are some key differences between the two:

  1. Program duration

Graduate trainee programs are typically longer than internships, lasting several months to a year or more. On the other hand, internships are often shorter-term positions that last a few weeks to a few months.

  1. What do they focus on?

Graduate trainee programs are structured programs that provide the trainee with a comprehensive understanding of the company and its operations. Internships are typically more focused on providing the intern with specific experience in a particular area or department.

  1. The level of responsibility

Graduate trainees often have more responsibilities than interns, including assisting senior staff with projects and conducting research. Interns are typically involved in more junior-level tasks and may have less direct contact with clients or senior staff.

  1. Career development

Graduate trainee programs are often designed to provide trainees with the skills and experience they need to advance in their careers. Internships are typically focused on providing the intern with experience in a particular field or industry and may have less emphasis on career development.

  1. Their payment plan

Graduate trainee programs usually provide a salary and benefits, while internships may be paid or unpaid.

Read Also: Should You Go for NYSC After Graduation?


As a fresh university graduate seeking to find placement in a company through graduate trainee programs, you have learned all you need to know about being a graduate trainee. If you apply these principles, you will have a chance to foster your career in that company. Also, don’t wait till your convocation to apply for graduate trainee programs, apply as soon as possible because the experience is crucial for your career.

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About Author

Avatar of Ominigbo Ovie Jeffery
Ominigbo Ovie Jeffery
I am an enthusiastic content and creative writer. I harness opportunities to make fact-based, fictional and SEO-enhanced creative content that are captivating, interesting and worthwhile.

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