New 'Graduate to Export' programme provides route to international success

Launching the new graduate export programme are (from left) Owen McKeown, international marketing executive at Cubis Systems, Professor Heather Farley, Ulster University Business School associate dean; Steve Harper (Invest NI), Paul Kelly, marketing director at Cubis Systems; and Kevin Shakespeare, director of stakeholder engagement at the Institute of Export & International Trade. Photo: Darren Kidd (PressEye)

JOBS creation agency Invest NI has launched a new ‘Graduate to Export' programme to help businesses break into new export markets while also providing graduates with valuable international business experience.

The 18-month programme aims to enhance the export capability of participating businesses by pairing them with a graduate who will spend their time researching and targeting a potential export market.

Steve Harper, executive director of international business at Invest NI, said: “The programme encourages firms with ambitious growth plans to take the plunge into new export markets, increasing their growth potential and boosting our local economy.

“It isn't always easy for a business to resource extensive research in advance of targeting new markets. This programme specifically addresses this.

“Graduates also have a lot to gain from this programme. They will receive academic mentoring and company support throughout the programme, and will develop international business experience. So it's a win-win for both the companies and graduates involved.”

For the first six months of the programme, graduates will be based with the host company, getting to know the business and its export ambitions, before relocating to a new target export market for 12 months to research and develop a market entry strategy on behalf of the company.

As part of the programme graduates will also study towards a post graduate diploma in international marketing delivered by Ulster University and Institute of Export & International Trade.

As well as fully funding the diploma, Invest NI will also contribute towards the cost of the graduates' salaries for the duration of the programme.

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