IAESTE

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What is your experience in cooperation with parties in the business world and/or educational providers concerning transnational mobility? What is your best practice?

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) is an independent, non-profit and non-political student exchange organization. It provides students in technical degrees with paid, course-related training abroad and employers with highly skilled, highly motivated international trainees. With more than 80 member countries and over 4,000 traineeships exchanged each year, it is the largest organization of its kind in the world.

The mission of IAESTE is to operate a high quality practical training exchange program between members in order to enhance technical and professional development and to promote international understanding and goodwill amongst students, academic institutions, employers and the wider community. IAESTE operates irrespective of race, color, sex or creed.

A Partnership with IAESTE can help a company:

  • Access new talent & professionals

  • Enhance their global reputation

  • Grow their network and interact with IAESTE members

IAESTE offers:

  • Targeted promotion to engineers & scientists

  • Worldwide visibility in 86 countries

  • Access to more than 1,000 universities

  • Access to the growing alumni & job placement network (over 350,000 alumni to date)

IAESTE is a reciprocal program, whereby students from overseas can work in Cyprus and students studying at participating Cyprus universities can go overseas to work. Thus, when an employer offers an IAESTE position in Cyprus, they are giving (“sponsoring”) the opportunity for a Cypriot student to work abroad and gain experience.

For instance, although the mining history of Cyprus is very rich, no degrees in mining and metallurgy are currently offered in Cyprus. With access to over 1,000 universities in over 85 countries, IAESTE can attract a student from abroad to meet the company’s specific needs, while at the same time benefiting a Cypriot student, who will be offered a position abroad in exchange.

How did the contact between the parties arise?

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) was founded in 1948 at Imperial College, London. The Imperial College Vacation Work Committee headed by Mr James Newby initiated a meeting with national organizations from 10 European countries in a post war effort to promote better understanding between countries and cultures. Since 1948, the association has grown to include more than 80 countries world-wide and has exchanged in excess of 340,000 students.
The IAESTE Cyprus National Committee was established in 1981 and is a full member of the International Organization of IAESTE. IAESTE Cyprus is administered by the Cyprus University of Technology since 2011, and was established as a non-profit entity with 21 founding members, including the seven universities of Cyprus.
Each autumn IAESTE Cyprus carries out a promotional and recruitment campaign which targets participating and potential new employers to participate the following year. With this campaign we include an IAESTE newsletter which outlines the accomplishments of IAESTE during the previous year while recognizing the parties who made the collaboration possible. The newsletter is our best mechanism to show what we have accomplished (as it lists the student names, universities, activities, sponsors, employers, board members) – the outcome is quite positive.

What have you achieved more in this cooperation model than without the cooperation?

As the IAESTE program is internationally recognized and has been long standing, it has helped the organization thrive. Without such a model it would be difficult to attract companies, sponsors and students to participate – the goodwill behind the IAESTE name and the spirit of IAESTE is invaluable.

What difficulties did you experience in the cooperation model?

The difficulties that typically arise are budget constraints – it may be difficult for a company to justify hiring a foreigner, even temporarily, when they are downsizing their existing workforce.

The participating companies believe in the IAESTE program and want to offer community support by giving a Cypriot a chance to work abroad. To help employers facing budget constraints, we suggested a shortened period of training (ie. instead of offering a position for 16 weeks, the period was limited to 8 weeks). By doing so, it enabled us to retain a few dedicated employers of the IAESTE program.

Mostly, the yield for educational providers and students in cooperation with the business world is clear. What was specifically the yield for the business world in this cooperation model?

  • Access new talent & professionals

  • Enhance their global reputation

  • Grow their network and interact with IAESTE members

  • Sponsor a local student to work abroad on the IAESTE experience through their participation

Was there a Memorandum of Understanding or a Partnership agreement signed between the (two) parties?

The IAESTE organization has a standard job offer form, Form O, that the parties agree to when partnering.  The form states the employer information, discipline required, language and level required and other specific details related to the candidate. The offer also states the number of weeks to be employed and the date range, along with the gross pay and deductions.  This form is the document used for all official exchanges.

About the Author: Maurizio

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