Home » Graduate Careers » Graduates bring growth potential and new skills to the workplace

Sinead O’Dwyer

Talent Acquisition and Employer Brand Lead, PepsiCo

Company graduate schemes are helping students kickstart their careers by enabling them to apply and develop their skills in the workplace environment.

Students can learn more about core career roles in a range of disciplines and business teams. As talented young people become immersed in organisations, companies also benefit from the next generation skills and viewpoints they bring with them. 

Different departments

In Ireland, PepsiCo’s graduate programme is a two-year rotational plan, with the exception of finance, which is three years so that graduates gain relevant accountancy qualifications.

All receive on-the-job training, an assigned manager and a mentor, with rotations aligned to their skill set and foundational experiences. 

“They also get hands-on exposure across different departments. We also have online, project and classroom learning for graduates,” says Sinead O’Dwyer, who is Talent Acquisition and Employer Brand Lead at PepsiCo. 

Flexible approach

The multinational company, which employs more than 1,000 people across Ireland, underlines the importance of a flexible approach to ensure graduates are on the best career path before applying for permanent or extended contract positions.

O’Dwyer explains how graduate programmes also have benefits for employers.

“The digital skills they possess, for example, are important as we are on a digital journey,” she says. “What they contribute really accelerates our growth potential.”

What they contribute really accelerates our growth potential.

Sustainable values

Underpinned by the pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) initiative, they cover areas such as how ingredients are sourced or products sold, helping build a circular and inclusive value chain and inspiring people to ‘make choices that are positive to the planet.’

The company has a strong diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) agenda and encourages ‘people to be themselves’ in the workplace.

Several graduates have become long-term employees, while a trend of ‘boomerang’ employees (returning to the company after having left to work elsewhere) is emerging.

Global opportunities

Along with additional support, a mentoring app allows graduates to express their preferences or seek mentors from the company’s global network.

O’Dwyer says: “I think we’re good at listening to our graduates. We have development conversations about what they are looking for, where they are best placed in business and how we can match their career aspirations with what we need.”

Finance Controls and Reporting graduate, Aimee Teegan, says: “The PepsiCo grad programme has given me amazing opportunities to increase my understanding of the business in both the finance department and the wider business.”

Should graduates move to a permanent role within PepsiCo after the programme, as many have, they get the opportunity to work anywhere in the world for the company.

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