International students from all over the world were welcomed to Belfast last night (Thursday, July 25) to take part in an international traineeship scheme.
The students, from over 20 countries – including Korea, Kazakhstan and Barbados, are involved in the British Council programme - IAESTE (the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) – and will work across Northern Ireland on technical internships throughout the summer and beyond, with placements lasting up to a year.
IAESTE, which is supported and funded in Northern Ireland by the Department for the Economy, will see the international students from science and technical disciplines complete specialist projects related to their university degrees. In exchange, over 35 students from Northern Ireland students will travel to countries including Ghana, Brazil and Macedonia to complete their own technical internships.
This year, the international students have secured placements at Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, as well as a number of local firms including civil engineering company, Taylor and Boyd; Co Antrim computer software firm Plotbox; and Smiley Monroe, the conveyor belt manufacturer.
Speaking at the reception was Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, who welcomed the opportunities IAESTE brought to local and international students, local institutions and employers.
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 students selected from a pool of over 1000 universities from over 90 countries – setting the foundations for future partnerships, links and networks.
“At the same time this reciprocal programme provides our local students 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 90 member countries, with over 4000 traineeships exchanged each year and is the largest organisation of its kind in the world.
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. Student Applications for IAESTE 2020 will open in early autumn, while for businesses; applications are open all year round.