Derry~Londonderry firm, Precision Processing Services Ltd (PPSL) is looking to expand to Brazil, through an international traineeship scheme.
The company, based in the Maydown Industrial Estate, has pinned its hopes on Latin America having taken on Brazilian engineering student Vitor Magalhães for the next year, through the British Council IAESTE (the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) programme.
The programme, which is supported and funded in Northern Ireland by the Department for the Economy, enables international students to work across Northern Ireland on paid technical internships for up to a year, and in return, students from Northern Ireland can complete their own placements all over the world.
PPSL, which refurbishes, cleans and inspects industrial equipment, was initially set up in 1999 to service the cleaning needs of the Invista Maydown Polymer plant and since then has provided a service to the industry across the UK, Europe and Asia.
It is now looking to Brazil, having discovered a gap in the market - and has brought in Vitor to carrying out a feasibility study with the hope of making the move in Spring 2019.
Speaking about the move was Chris Clements, Plant Manager at Precision.
He said: “What we do as a business is very unique, and there’s probably only two companies in the whole of Brazil that comes close to doing what we do - so we know we have a market there. However, it’s notoriously difficult to get into Brazil because of legislation policies – and also because of culture and language barriers.
“IAESTE enabled us to tailor a student to our own individual business needs and we found the process very easy – with British Council sorting out everything from visas to accommodation.
“Having Vitor here has been really beneficial, as not only can he speak the language and understand cultural nuances; he also has international experience in-country, which is essential for us. We’re really excited about where this placement can take us and hopefully we will see the results next year.”
Another company to take on a trainee through the programme is Portstewart marketing company, Zymplify.
The company, which also has offices in Belfast and Boston, produces software to help businesses automate and simplify advertising and marketing.
For the summer, they were joined by Ecuadorian student Emily Morejon, A business and marketing student; studying at the University of San Francisco, for a seven-week placement.
Speaking about her time with the company was Carly Warke, Head of Marketing.
She said: “It’s been a fantastic experience having Emily here. She fitted right in to the team from the get-go, gets the Northern Irish humour and brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to her work.
“We take a lot of students through graduate programmes, but a big aim for us is to expand further into America and into Europe, so we would definitely like to take on an international trainee again.”
Also speaking about the programme was Jonathan Stewart, Director, 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 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 enhances the employability skills of our local undergraduates by providing them with the opportunity to gain inter-cultural skills and experience from working in a different country.”
The IAESTE programme runs in more than 90 member countries, with over 4000 traineeships exchanged each year and is the largest organisation of its kind in the world.
Northern Ireland businesses interested in learning more about the programme can find out more by visiting http://www.britishcouncil.org/iaeste/ with applications open all year round. For more information contact Mary Mallon, IAESTE UK at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow British Council Northern Ireland on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/britishcouncilnorthernireland.