Top tips for choosing graduate intake programme venues

Not all venue finding services are equal. We offer a high touch, expert, in-depth service and get to know everything important to our clients to deliver exactly the right venue every time.

Because we work closely with clients, we’ve become particularly experienced in several types of events. We thought it would be helpful to share some of the insights we’ve gained to help our clients in their venue finding process.

Today’s event under the microscope – graduate intake programmes. These are big events. Usually over two or three days for between 300-500 A-Level or University graduates. There are many moving parts, and these events have very specific needs that must be met to ensure your event is a success. Crucially, these help your organisation make the right impression on your recruits and ensure the retention of the best candidates.

Here are six questions to ask when assessing potential venues…

1. How will graduates get to you?

Location is very important as the venue must be accessible in several ways. Candidates will be travelling by train, car or even flying in some cases so good connectivity to mainline stations or airports are a must.

Equally, if the venue is in the city centre, it must also have ample car parking. Candidates may choose to travel this way as often vital equipment is being given to recruits. They may want to get it to their car quickly and easily at the end of the event.

2.Do you have good security options?

Speaking of equipment, if you are going to be giving out expensive equipment at your event such as laptops or mobile phones you need to have the assurance that there are areas where these can be stored which are safe and secure – this is a large amount of equipment and you don’t need the worry of it not being properly looked after. Ask about secure rooms, individual safes in each bedroom etc.

3. Is the accommodation suitable?

We’ve established that each bedroom needs a safe which can fit a laptop/mobile etc for security, but there are also other requirements specific to a graduate training programme.

Graduate accommodation needs to be single occupancy and ensuite, and as uniform as possible to ensure all delegates get the same experience. They’ll also be expected to work during the event so a proper desk space and chair are important too.

4. Does your venue have the right space?

Graduate programmes need several different spaces within the same venue for the event to run smoothly. You’re going to require a plenary room that will seat between 300 – 500 people, quality built-in tech with hard-wired connectivity for speakers to dial in and often space and time for a set. You’ll also be needing rolling breakout areas, spaces for catering and a large welcome area for registration – if everyone arrives at the same time have you got space to handle them (and their luggage?!)?

5. Can you offer sustainable, varied catering?

It should go without saying that alternative dietary requirements are covered, but it is important to check what is provided as standard and what isn’t. Does the venue have a selection of milk alternatives, vegan options and sustainably sourced produce as a matter of course or will you have to request/pay extra?

It’s also worth checking what variety is available. If your delegates are there for a few days, you’re going to want some different options each day to keep things interesting and fresh.

6. Is sustainability a genuine pillar of your venue’s experience?

While we’ve mentioned sustainability in catering, this is a question which should also be asked specifically.

We’ve found graduates expect their experience to be one where they can genuinely see what the venue and organisation are doing to reduce the impact on our planet. Lip service simply doesn’t cut it, can the venue demonstrate real action behind their promises?

Which venues?

Now, while these questions should be helpful on their own, we wouldn’t be a venue finding service if we didn’t give a few venues some airtime.

Venues which are great options for graduate training programmes include:

Hilton Birmingham Metropole – just off the M42, connected to the NEC and within walking distance of Resorts World Arena. They’re close to the Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham hippodrome and offer three restaurants and LivingWell Health Club.

Wyboston Lakes – a resort with a conscience. Set in 380 acres of rural countryside Wyboston is home to two training & event venues, The Waterfront Hotel, Spa & Golf, Landing Pad, offering a simple solution to all your serviced office, branded space, and co-working needs.

Cotswold Water Park – with extensive grounds, home to nature reserves and alive with wildlife to explore, as well as the glorious Cotswolds beyond, De Vere Cotswold Water Park is just 20 minutes from J15 of the M4 and J11A of the M5 with Bristol airport just over an hour away.

Oxford Spires – within easy walking distance of Oxford’s colleges, museums and theatres, this is a perfect base in one of the most historic cities in England, they offer a warm, unstuffy and contemporary place to host your event.

Celtic Manor Resort  – a seriously stylish five-star venue, featuring several floors of immaculately designed guest rooms, situated right in the heart of the resort. Only two hours from London and with exceptional links from all major UK cities, it is accessible and versatile.

Warwick Conferences – intimate, large, creative or virtual spaces all in the same place, Warwick conferences offer comfortable accommodation and deliciously satisfying food delivered with a focus on green thinking.

ExecSpace Wildcard options:

OR you could consider what we call an ExecSpace Wildcard:

Center Parks – a unique alternative, at Center Parcs you’ll find everything you need to create memorable experiences all in one place, surrounded by 400 acres of natural woodland.

Butlins – it really does have everything you need, including showstopping spaces, state-of-the-art facilities, mouth-watering menus, exciting activities, and comfortable accommodation – found all in one place.

Alton Towers – although known for being a well-loved theme park, Alton Towers is also the perfect venue for businesses looking to add a little magic to their corporate events. From large residential conferences to spectacular dinners, their wide range of event venues is your ticket to a memorable event.

If you’re looking at your next graduate intake programme event and would like to explore new options, do get in touch and the team will be happy to help.

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