Larne Council has taken on a Portugese student to work in its environmental services department as part of an international exchange scheme.
Vera Gasper is working h the local authority team on an eight-week International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) programme.
Vera is one of 33 international students from 25 different countries to be offered placements with businesses and institutions across Northern Ireland.
She was welcomed to the country at a special dinner and awards reception held at Belfast Castle and sponsored by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL).
Welcoming the opportunities IAESTE brings to local and international students, localinstitutions and employers, Derek Baker, permanent secretary at DEL said: “DEL remains committed to providing Northern Ireland students with the opportunity to gain international experience, and Northern Ireland employers with both the opportunity to raise their international profile, allowing them access to some of the brightest and best prospective employees from across the globe.
“Programmes such as IAESTE allow us to both demonstrate to the world the skills and abilities we have to offer, and learn from the rest of the world to build upon the talents we already have.”
Mr Baker continued: “We now live in a global economy where it is important for Northern Ireland to build on our reputation of being a confident, capable and outward looking region that is open to new ideas and willing to learn from and apply international best practice.
“I wish the students every success during their placement period in Northern Ireland. I also wish to thank local employers and our higher education institutions in providing placements for the international trainees. Without their willingness and support for IAESTE none of this would be possible.”
IAESTE is an employer-led programme administered by the British Council which provides science, engineering and applied arts undergraduates with training experience abroad relevant to their studies over the summer period. The programme also provides Northern
Ireland employers with well qualified and motivated foreign trainees bringing valuable
international experience and contacts to local employers from countries such as Brazil, UAE
This year six new local employers came on board, Michelin, Devenish Nutrition, Crane
Energy Flow Solutions, Precision Group and URS in the Belfast area as well as Perfecseal
in Derry~Londonderry. This year’s celebration also hosted an awards ceremony to mark the
growth of IAESTE with new business being created and to acknowledge the longstanding
employers commitment to the programme.
Thirty five students from Northern Ireland are also currently on IAESTE placements in
18 countries worldwide including: Brazil, China, USA and Tunisia to name a few. These
students will return to Northern Ireland equipped with valuable skills gained in other
countries enabling them to compete more effectively in their future careers.
David Alderdice, British Council Director in Northern Ireland speaking at the reception,
said: “International business connections and partnerships are vital for economic
success and growth. Exchange programmes like IAESTE facilitate these connections
by bringing in young future business leaders from around the world for placements
with local employers and send out our future business leaders into the international
marketplace to gain international experience and build partnerships for success.”