Applications are now open for a programme that offer students paid international work experience.
IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience), offers science, engineering, technology or applied arts students, the chance to undertake paid work placements lasting from six to 52 weeks in over 80 countries around the world.
Students could find themselves working in a wide range of areas, from cutting edge electronics in Japan, to earthquake detection technology in Colombia, with the skills they gain significantly contributing to their future employment prospects when they return to Northern Ireland.
The programme, which is managed by British Council Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for the Economy, is open to degree level students in the second year of study and above. The majority of traineeships take place in the summer months, although longer periods are also available.
In summer 2018, Queen’s University Belfast Engineering student Patrick Martin spent six weeks working for the Wanhua Chemical Group in China through the programme.
About the experience he said: "This summer was the perfect amount of time to give me a taste of the average working day of an engineer and I was given the opportunity to see a lot of theory put into practice as well as improve my communication skills.
“Through IAESTE I have seen parts of the world I never imagined I would, made friends with other STEM students from across the world, and most valuable of all, gained insight into my future industry. This experience has forever changed my perceptive of engineering.
“I would definitely do IAESTE again - I think many people might be afraid to put themselves out there, but the reward greatly outweighs the risk.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Johnston, a Civil Engineering student at Ulster University, spent the summer on placement with the Technical University of Vienna.
He said: “I would urge anyone with an ambition to work abroad to take part in the IAESTE programme – through it, I had the opportunity to work for the Technical University of Vienna and it has confirmed that I am on the correct career path.
“It has given me insight into working life abroad, the chance to travel and the opportunity to make some really great friends from all around the world – and I hope I can do it all again next year!”
Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said: “International business connections and partnerships are vital for economic success and growth. Exchange programmes like IAESTE facilitate these connections by sending out our future business leaders into the international marketplace to gain international experience and build partnerships for success.
“This kind of work experience enhances independence and flexibility as well as communication and foreign language skills, and contributes to personal and academic development. Employers know that if students have successfully overcome the challenges brought on by international work experience, they will stand out from the crowd at interview.”
IAESTE 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.
To apply for IAESTE visit https://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-abroad/outside-uk/iaeste/ - deadline for applications: Thursday, November 29 2018. For more information on programmes available through British Council Northern Ireland visit nireland.britishcouncil.org.