Cookstown firm strengthens global links with student exchange programme

Last year's CDE IAESTE students are pictured with from left: Adrian Greer, Chief Operating Officer, British Council; Brian McCullough (centre), Head of Talent and Organisational Development, CDE Global; Louise Agnew, IAESTE, British Council Northern Ireland and David Alderdice, Director, British Council Northern Ireland
Last year's CDE IAESTE students are pictured with from left: Adrian Greer, Chief Operating Officer, British Council; Brian McCullough (centre), Head of Talent and Organisational Development, CDE Global; Louise Agnew, IAESTE, British Council Northern Ireland and David Alderdice, Director, British Council Northern Ireland
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Cookstown firm CDE Global is strengthening its global links through an international exchange scheme in conjunction with the British Council.

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 that helps STEM students gain technical experience overseas.

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 usually offers placements to between three and five students per year, with four of the recent participants now working full-time for the company.

Brian McCullough, Head of Talent and Organisational Development 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.

By hosting a trainee, Northern Ireland businesses are also developing home grown talent as local students are able to avail of a work placements overseas.

Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director of British Council Northern Ireland, welcomed this year’s international exchange students at Riddell Hall, Queen’s.

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.”

IAESTE runs in over 80 member countries, with over 4000 traineeships exchanged each year.

See www.britishcouncil.org/iaeste/ for details.