New Graduate to Export programme provides route to international success

Oct 14, 2019
Pictured (L-R) are Owen McKeown, International Marketing Executive, Cubis Systems; Professor Heather Farley, Ulster University Business School Associate Dean; Steve Harper, Executive Director of International Business, Invest Northern Ireland; Paul Kelly, Marketing Director, Cubis Systems; and Kevin Shakespeare Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Institute of Export & International Trade.

Invest Northern Ireland has launched a new ‘Graduate to Export’ programme to help NI businesses break into new export markets, and at the same time provide 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 18 months researching and targeting a potential export market.

Steve Harper, Executive Director of International Business, Invest NI said: “This innovative new export programme encourages local businesses with ambitious growth plans to take the plunge into new export markets, increasing their growth potential and boosting our local economy.

Graduate to Export is giving me the chance to gain commercial experience and develop marketing and export skills while working towards a professional qualification. Furthermore, it provides the security of mentoring and company support while based away from home.

Owen McKeown, International Marketing Executive, Cubis Systems

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

“The 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.

“It really is 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 in Northern Ireland, getting to know the business and its export ambitions. Using this knowledge, they will then relocate to a new target export market for twelve months to research and develop a market entry strategy on behalf of the company.

It isn’t always easy for a business to resource extensive research in advance of targeting new markets. Our Graduate to Export programme specifically addresses this.

Steve Harper, Executive Director of International Business, Invest NI

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 in International Marketing, Invest NI will also contribute towards the cost of the graduates’ salaries for the duration of the programme.

Owen McKeown, who will have an International Marketing Executive role with Cubis Systems, spoke of his decision to apply for the programme: “Having completed my degree course I was undecided on my next steps. I had a desire to get out there into the business world but was keen to enhance my academic portfolio further.

“Graduate to Export is giving me the chance to gain commercial experience and develop marketing and export skills while working towards a professional qualification. Furthermore, it provides the security of mentoring and company support while based away from home.

“This ticks all of the boxes for me, I am delighted to have secured a place on the programme.”

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