Big plans. Bigger opportunities

You’re leaving university, but your journey is only just starting – as you carve out not only your career, but the impact you want to make in the world. For that, you’ll need a job where you can make a real difference.

With us, you’ll be able to do just that. We’re driving change, creating a more sustainable, inclusive world and we need people like you to help make that change a reality. 

Feel like you belong from day one

Our two or three-year award-winning graduate programmes will give you real, hand-on experience. As well as the support and tools to develop into specialists of the future as you grow with a career within a global FTSE 100 business. 

You can join one of our career paths in the UK or Europe, with some giving you the chance to experience life at different sites.  

Wherever you join us, you’ll be given a mentor and taken on a development pathway filled with structured learning and projects that stretch you along the way. All whilst being part of a supportive network of fellow graduates. 

Throughout all of this you’ll be helping us delight our customers. You will also be encouraged to share your innovative ideas to help our customers succeed and help us to deliver our ambitious sustainability goals too. 

5 reasons to join our graduate scheme

  1. We’re top-tier provider of sustainable packaging solutions and Europe’s biggest recycler. We have a unique full-lifecycle strategy with an industry-leading approach to sustainability. We want the brightest minds to join us, bring their fresh perspectives and help us become even more innovative. That’s where you come in.
  2. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. You’ll have an active role in helping us to make a difference to the communities we work in and the wider world. No matter the role, you can help us cut waste, protect natural resources and reduce our carbon footprint.
  3. We’re a FTSE 100 organisation that’s growing, and evolving. We want graduates who are happy to come on our journey so we can continue to lead in the market. 
  4. You’ll be inspired and motivated by the people around you. You will be encouraged to fulfil your true potential. You will be supported to develop and expand your skills and industry knowledge through clear career paths and training Although we’re driven, you’ll know we’ll never put our ambitions before your wellbeing. This is a career where we aim to get your work/life balance exactly right.  
  5. Our programmes are designed to set you up to succeed within your business area of choice. You’ll be offered the very best development opportunities, with an inspirational mentor to support you throughout the scheme. You’ll also have opportunities to take on substantive projects and learn from senior leaders.  

Award Winning Graduate Scheme

We won the British HR 2024 Award for Manufacturing & Engineering Company of the Year for transforming our graduate scheme to make it more relevant and appealing to graduates by equipping them with industry knowledge, essential skills, and management behaviours that our business needs now and in the future.   

DS Smith wins the best Manufacturing and Engineering company of the year award.
DS Smith wins the best Manufacturing and Engineering company of the year award.

Boundless opportunities

No matter what degree you have, your interests or your passions – we welcome you to join us, and celebrate the diversity of our teams. We're offering programmes across the following disciplines:

  • Sales, Marketing & Innovation
  • Engineering
  • Operational Management
  • Supply Chain
  • Procurement
  • Recycling
  • Paper Sourcing
  • Human Resources
  • Research & Development
  • Finance
  • IT
  • Corporate Affairs

With all our programmes, you will receive training and development specific to your role. Along with a broader programme of personal and professional development that runs across all programmes we will give you an opportunity to develop your career. 

Learn and work throughout our business and around the world

We’re offering our programmes in 13 different countries. Due to the nature of our programmes, we’ll need you to be fully flexible on the country you work in and we may need you to transfer to another site or country during the course of your programme.

The programme 

When you first join our Graduate Scheme, we’ll give you a full induction into our business operations and our way of working. You’ll be introduced to your manager/coach and be given a mentor who will help guide you through on the job learning, then, it’s time to put it into practice as you lead the way. Whether it’s leading a team or becoming the best at a particular specialism. From this point you’ll be driving your career, but you’ll be supported every step of the way – ensuring you find the right career path and the right opportunity to ensure you continue to grow. 

Your turn to step up

To be considered for one of our programmes you’ll already have a Bachelor's degree. Some of our programmes will require you to have studied in a certain discipline or speak more than one language (details of minimum requirements will be included in the individual programme description). You’ll also need the right to work in the relevant country you’re applying to. You’ll need to be ready to start your employment with us in September and be fully mobile in terms of location to ensure you get the maximum opportunities offered to you and to get the best out of the scheme and your career at DS Smith. 

Diversity is key to our success and that’s why we are keen to speak to people from different backgrounds and experiences to help build and deliver on our plans. Whatever your background, we are looking for graduates who care, not afraid to challenge, who are responsive, collaborative, tenacious and who are passionate about sustainability  

How to apply

Application Process Timeline

  • Applications for the graduate programme will open in the second week of January, closing eight weeks later 
  • CV screening, Psychometric Testing, and Video Interviews will take place from January to March. 
  • Assessment Centres will be held in March and April. 
  • Offers will be made in April and May. 
  • The start date for successful applicants will be in the first week of September. 

Graduate Programme Timeline

  • Pre-onboarding activities, including "Keep in Touch" speaker webinars take place from July to September. 
  • Graduates join in September. 
  • Onboarding activities take place throughout September and October. 
  • A business tour of Kemsley Mill and our Impact Centre is conducted during October. 
  • A Development Pathway will be delivered to you over two years. The modules will be spaced out equally over both years with providing you with excellent insight into self-development. It will conclude with Graduate celebrations in the September. 
  • Mentee training for Year 1 takes place in December. 
  • The allocation of mentors for Year 1 will happen between December and February. 
  • The opportunity to get involved in projects related to the next cohort of graduates opens in March.  
  •  Inclusive of Bi-annual career conversations to ensure we can support your career progression effectively.In. 

Get in touch