IAESTE - 2019 Group
NI Connections
Mon 9 December

NI students go global with international work placements

35 students from across Northern Ireland are set to take part in international work placements this summer.

They’ve been selected for British Council’s IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) programme, an exchange initiative which sees students from science, engineering, technology or applied arts subjects undertake paid industry placements in one of 80 countries.

Hailing from both Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, the students will find themselves in countries including Ghana, Brazil and Macedonia working in fields such as medicine, engineering and computer science.

It is hoped that the skills they gain through IAESTE will significantly contribute to their future employment prospects when they return to Northern Ireland. 

Sam McCalmont, (23), an Engineering student at Queen’s University Belfast originally from Cookstown will spend his summer working for car manufacturer, Volvo, in Sweden.

Sam McCalmont (Centre)

I’m looking forward to the summer as I have never been to the Nordics, and I am excited to explore a country while I work.  Chemical Engineering is such a global degree, and you will never solely work with one culture. I hope IAESTE will help me to generate new ideas, develop my problem-solving skills and push myself further.

Sam McCalmont, Queen's University Belfast


IAESTE runs in more than 80 member countries, with over 4000 traineeships exchanged each year, and is managed by British Council Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for the Economy. 

IAESTE works on a reciprocal basis, therefore for every placement offered to local students; international students are welcomed to Northern Ireland. This year, 30 international students will spend their summer in Northern Ireland working with firms including civil engineering company, Taylor and Boyd; Co Antrim computer software firm Plotbox; and Smiley Monroe, the conveyor belt manufacturers.

The British Council recognises the economic benefits of developing stronger relationships and links between Northern Ireland and other countries. Through mobility programmes such as IAESTE, local employers and universities can benefit from the experience of high calibre international trainees and set the foundations for future partnerships, links and networks. 

Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland

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