29/04/2002

Empey looks at business through international exchange

As national economies become increasingly interdependent, international co-operation, including business student exchanges, can enrich and develop Northern Ireland business,” said Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

The Minister was speaking as he welcomed delegates and guests to a reception for the 17th Development Seminar on International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) which took place in Parliament Buildings.

Addressing the reception Sir Reg said: “The IAESTE programme, since its establishment in 1948, has supported over 285,000 exchanges with over 80 countries taking part in the programme.

“IAESTE, through providing work placements in science and engineering, provides the opportunity for students to gain valuable experience in their chosen area of study and is also a platform for the exchange of ideas. Queen’s University has played a key role in supporting this international programme. “Such open flow of knowledge across national boundaries and cultures is of long-term benefit to both employers and students.

“I am delighted to welcome so many delegates from around the world, many of whom are visiting Northern Ireland for the first time. I would also like to pay special thanks to all of the local employers who are here tonight, without your support and willingness to participate, the programme would not be the success that it is.”

Under the programme this year, students from 50 different countries, including for the first time Botswana and Oman, will undertake work experience here over the summer, with a similar number of Northern Ireland students on placement abroad.

The overseas students, all in scientific and technical disciplines will be placed in organisations as diverse as NIE, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Gilbert-Ash.

The organisation’s Development Seminar has come to the UK for the first time and Northern Ireland has been chosen as its location. In addition, the next General Secretary of IAESTE International is Mrs Pauline Ferguson who is currently Programme Officer at IAESTE bureau in Belfast.

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) is a worldwide organisation encompassing 80 countries, which provides students in higher education with course-related practical experience in another country.

Since the organisation was founded in 1948, over accommodated 285,000 exchanges. Each lasts up to 12 weeks and usually take place during the summer vacation.

Queen’s University of Belfast remains a most active supporter of the programme and in 1992 won an award for distinguished service to IAESTE International.

(SP)

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