Cookstown firm CDE Global is strengthening its global links through an international exchange scheme.
The manufacturing plant has recently taken on five international students through IAESTE, (the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience), a programme managed by the British Council which aims to help STEM students gain technical experience overseas.
Hailing from countries as diverse as Brazil, Tunisia and Australia, the students will spend a year at the firm conducting research, preparing proposals for Latin America and Europe and carrying out extensive testing into new design concepts.
CDE global have been involved with IAESTE for a number of years, and typically offer placements to between three and five students per year, with four of the recent participants now working full-time for the company.
Speaking about the programme was Brian McCullough, Head of Talent and Organisational Development.
He said: “One of the most significant things about the IAESTE programme is the calibre of the candidates on offer. The progression of four people to full time employment is evidence of this and this is the case across all of the disciplines we have been involved with.
“It has enabled us to build on our international team as this expands across the world and tap into new markets across Europe as well as in Latin America, North America, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.”
The programme has also increased the firm’s diversity with initiatives including lunchtime language classes and culture days, where employees get a chance to learn interesting facts about the IAESTE candidates’ countries as well as enjoy their local cuisine.
Brian said: "IAESTE is an integral part of our recruitment strategy as it delivers for us on every level. We are really pleased with not only the programme but how it is administered and the contribution from the local delivery partners to make the whole process run really smoothly. We would recommend the programme to anyone working in export markets and who needs high calibre people with the language skills and knowledge about the culture of different markets.
By hosting a trainee, Northern Ireland businesses are also developing home grown talent. IAESTE works on a reciprocal basis, therefore for every placement offered in Northern Ireland; local students are able to avail of a work placement overseas. This year, 16 students from Northern Ireland will travel to 16 countries worldwide, including China, Hungary and Switzerland.
Welcoming the students at a reception at Riddel Hall, Queen’s University Belfast was Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director of British Council Northern Ireland.
He said: “The British Council recognises the economic benefits of developing stronger relationships between Northern Ireland and other countries.”
“Through mobility programmes such as IAESTE, local employers and universities are able to benefit from the experience of high calibre international trainees and set the foundations for future partnerships, links and networks. At the same time the programme provides our local undergraduates with the inter-cultural skills and experience for working in a global economy through the knowledge and skills they obtain from their international placements.”
The IAESTE programme runs in more than 80 member countries, with over 4000 traineeships exchanged each year and is the largest organisation of its kind in the world. It is supported by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) in conjunction with local Universities and the British Council. Among the other local companies who have taken students this year are Newry and Mourne District Council, Intelesens, Translink and Graham Construction.
Northern Ireland students or businesses interested in learning more about the programme can find out more by visiting http://www.britishcouncil.org/iaeste/ or at http://nireland.britishcouncil.org. Applications for IAESTE 2016 will open in early autumn