Graduate vacancies are suitable for students who have graduated or are about to graduate. They often require an immediate start.
Companies may offer specific graduate opportunities as well as, or instead of, a graduate programme.
Smaller companies are more likely to have specific job vacancies, as managing graduate programmes requires more time and resources. They will still provide training and development to new graduate recruits.
You should consider a place on a graduate programme or a graduate vacancy as equally successful steps on your career path.
Don't wait until completing your degree before applying for a job - the best time to start applying is at the beginning of your final year.