Exchange plan is promoted

Ballymena’s Michelin Tyres is urging local firms to take on an international trainee next summer.

IAESTE students Georg Sailor from Austria and Alejandro Pitarch Olivas from Spain are pictured with Mike Nesbitt, Michelinâ¬"s quality obtention manager; Kathy Simpson, â¬esite HR manager at Michelin and Gary Smith, project co-ordinator at Michelin. The students took part in the programme, which is managed by the British Council, in the summer of 2014, with Alejandro Pitarch Olivas now employed at the firm as a graduate engineer.

Michelin wants local employers to get behind IAESTE – the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience - a programme managed by the British Council.

IAESTE sees businesses hire international trainees for six weeks up to a year, with the potential for trainees to stay on as permanent employees.

Michelin has taken part in the scheme for the last two years and through it, has increased productivity, international trade links and filled skills gaps.

Gary Smith, the firm’s project co-ordinator, recently spoke about the programme’s advantages at a business seminar hosted by Invest NI.

He said: “At Michelin, we were initially attracted to the programme because of my own experiences. I completed an IAESTE placement in Barcelona while at university in 1996 — and wanted to bring that kind of expertise and depth of knowledge to Michelin.”

This year Michelin took on two trainees through the programme; engineering students, Georg Sailor from Austria and Alejandro Pitarch Olivas from Spain. They worked on specialised projects, which included 3D imaging and product design, improving the efficiency of the business.

David Alderdice, British Council Director in Northern Ireland, said: “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.”

Businesses interested in offering placements through IAESTE should visit - deadline for applications is Wednesday, December 10, 2014.

If you want more information on the many and varied programmes available through British Council Northern Ireland visit