The Best Graduate Schemes in Leeds

· Kirsty Allen · Business

Make the jump from study to employment with these outstanding grad schemes.


Whether you’re a fledging lawyer, a tech grad or a retail superstar, these companies are running some of the best graduate schemes in the city.

Switching from full-time study to a 9-5 can be overwhelming, as you make the big move from education to employment. But these Leeds graduate schemes are a great way to make the jump, giving you vital on-the-job experience as you figure out which direction you want to take your career in. From global law firms and professional service companies to retail giants and tech behemoths, there’s a graduate programme for everyone, no matter what you studied.



Credit: KPMG

KPMG is one of the best graduate destinations worldwide, and its Leeds office is no different. There are opportunities across the majority of their services, including audits, accounting, tax and more. A blend of structured training and on-the-job learning will give you a rounded experience within the firm, resulting in a professional qualification, solid soft skills and an exciting career ahead. There’s plenty of room for career progression due to the size and breadth of the business, allowing you to develop on a pathway that suits you.

With an annual intake of 70 graduates, you’ll join the team with a solid peer group, offering the chance to build an incredible support system and friends for life. A thriving calendar of extra curricular activities spans everything from sports to environmental clubs, so there’s plenty of opportunities to socialise outside of work. To apply, you’ll need a grade B in GCSE Maths and English, as well as 300 UCAS points and a 2:1 in any degree. However, applications are strength-based, with contextualised recruitment offering a fair chance to all candidates.

Applications for KPMG’s graduate programmes are now live.


If you’re a graduate looking to get into retail, M&S’ graduate schemes in Leeds are a great fit. Spanning all aspects of the business, there’s everything from retail management, which sets you up to run a multimillion-pound store, through to product, where you’ll hone in on tech, digital and data. Entry requirements vary from role to role, but expect to complete a competitive online assessment, whichever path you choose. Pairing hands-on training with ample support and guidance, it’s a fantastic place to begin your graduate career.

There are perks aplenty at M&S. In addition to a competitive salary, you’ll receive 20% in-store and online discount, discretionary bonus, pension and life assurance, as well as the chance to buy shares in the lucrative retail business. Each of the programmes will open you up to numerous career options, and there may even be the chance to work abroad within one of the company’s international locations. M&S is ahead of the national average for diversity and inclusion, with colleague networks giving a voice to employees from all backgrounds and experiences.

M&S hires on a rolling basis and you can sign up for alerts, so you know when applications open.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard

Credit: Addleshaw Goddard

Commercial law firm Addleshaw Goddard provides fantastic opportunities for graduates looking to enter the legal world. The main route for graduates is its trainee contract, which sees university leavers take on four six month placements around the business, experiencing the likes of litigation and property. With the chance to be responsible for quality work from day one and work alongside household names such as Emirates, SSE and VW, it’s a fascinating way for graduates to begin their careers.

The trainees will be thoroughly supported from the moment they accept their offer – in addition to pastoral care they’ll also be assigned one on one supervisors, as well as being mentored by a qualified solicitor. When it comes to applications, the firm uses blind recruitment, meaning that only the information within the written application can be seen, alongside contextualised recruitment, which helps applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds and aids social mobilty. To land a place on the trainee scheme you’ll need a 2:1 in any degree.

Applications for Addleshaw Goddard’s trainee contract are open from Saturday 1st April to Monday 31st July 2023.


pwc degree apprentice ship

PwC is a global professional services firm and its Leeds office is a popular graduate destination. This world-class organisation is a great place for university leavers to start their career, ranked by The Times as the top private sector graduate employer. There are graduate opportunities available across the majority of PwC’s business areas– from actuarial and audit, through to consulting and risk. To qualify for a place you need to be on track to pass or have already passed your undergraduate degree in any subject, as well as demonstrate a passion for the company and role you’re entering – do your research!

What sets PwC apart is its training and development. Each new starter receives a buddy and a career coach, and as they recruit a large volume of graduates at a time, you’ll build close-knit relationships with your peers. If your scheme has a qualification built in, you’ll undertake blocks of study, alongside hands-on client work where you can put your learning into practice. The benefits are also up there with the best – on top of flexible working and a highly competitive salary there’s a choice scheme, so you can pick the perks that matter to you.

PwC hires on a rolling basis, but graduates are encouraged to apply in September when new roles go live.



DWF is a global legal business with a well-established office in Leeds. With outstanding training and development on offer at all levels, it’s a fantastic fit for graduates, with new starters getting stuck into exciting projects and given responsibility from day one. There are a few avenues available for graduates – the trainee contract provides a route into being a trained solicitor, and the Business Services programme gives graduates the chance to spend time within finance, HR or marketing, while completing a post-grad qualification.

The trainee contract itself lasts two years, and it’s made up of four six-month placements within different areas of the business. Alongside this crucial hands-on experience, you’ll also study for your Solicitors Qualification Exam. There are plenty of perks with a career at DWF – each and every employee is given access to a share scheme, giving them a stake in the business, and there are regular social and volunteering opportunities. In order to apply for the trainee contract, you’ll need to have or be working towards a 2:1 degree in any subject.

Applications are now open for DWF’s 2025 trainee contract. Applications should be submitted by Sunday 25th June 2023.


Leeds-based accountancy firm Sagars offers brilliant opportunities for graduates, with trainee jobs that blend hands-on work with guided study. Whichever team you join – audit, business advisory, private client or corporate tax – you’ll get your own mentor and full support throughout your contract. On completion, you’ll receive an ACA qualification from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, and if you’re in a mainly tax-based role, you’ll receive a joint ACA/CTA qualification. Both routes lead to excellent career prospects.

Life at Sagars is highly social, packed with opportunities to network and hang out with your colleagues. There’s a forward-thinking approach to work-life balance, with flexible working split between their open-plan office and home, as well as a dress for your day policy. You’ll need to achieve a minimum of BBB at A Level or equivalent and a 2:1 in your degree. In addition to a strong academic background, you should have drive and personality in abundance in order to thrive in this broad, client-facing role.

Applications for Sagars’ graduate programmes will open later this year.

Walker Morris

Walker Morris

Walker Morris is a single-site commercial law firm based in Leeds. With a key focus on individuality and forging your own path, their trainee solicitor programme is a great fit if you’re looking for graduate jobs in law. By blending high-quality training and mentorship with on-the-job learning, the firm nurtures its graduate talent, helping to shape people into the careers they want. With regular coaching and weekly check-ins for all team members, staff wellbeing is a top priority throughout every level of the business.

During your training contract, you’ll complete four-month seats within different parts of the business, giving you a broad experience of life in a legal firm. One of the most exciting parts is being involved in the whole client deal, giving you the chance to work alongside clients such as Next, Unite Students and Wrexham FC. To land a place on this coveted course, you’ll need an undergraduate degree in any subject, and you’ll need to complete an LPC or SQE if you studied law, as well as a GDL if you studied a non-law degree.

Applications for Walker Morris’ solicitor training scheme are now open. The deadline is Monday 31st July 2023.