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First birthday for Intern Europe

Colin Blackburn, Intern Europe Managing Director is pictured with HR placement participant Tanja Stöckle from Germany.
Rebecca Kincade on December 18, 2014 - 8:01 am in News

An international organisation based in Belfast that brings hundreds of European work placement participants to Northern Ireland is celebrating its first birthday in the city.

Intern Europe, based near Queen’s University, celebrates the milestone in a year that has seen seen the business place over 250 participants from Europe in businesses across multiple industries in the greater Belfast area.

The placement agency works with some of the shining stars of Northern Ireland industry including Caterpillar, Chain Reaction Cycles, Action Renewables, Macmillan Media and National Museums Northern Ireland.

The businesses, known as host companies, take students from across Europe on short term work placements in a range of roles including clerical, marketing, finance, mechanical engineering and architecture.

The placement students receive on the job training and first hand experience, while the host companies get the benefit of an extra member of staff with international skill sets at no cost to the business. Several host companies have been so impressed by the quality of placement participants that they’ve taken them on as full time employees.

Intern Europe is the sister company of Bath-based European Student Placement Agency (ESPA). Colin Blackburn, Managing Director of both companies, said: “It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we opened our office in Belfast – the time has flown by.

“We’ve worked with some brilliant host companies in the last 12 months and our placement participants have all loved living and working in Northern Ireland. I’m optimistic that we’ll continue our good work into 2015 with the aim of growing the number of participants in Belfast by at least 30%.”

Terry Waugh is Deputy Director of Action Renewables, one of Intern Europe’s host companies. Terry added: “Intern Europe offers lots of great benefits to our company. From a business perspective, it helps us become a true European organisation. At the top of our business strategy, we have a vision to become the leading renewable energy company in Europe. If we want to fit into Europe and be a European business, we’ve got to have European staff. Intern Europe offers us that and it fits perfectly with our strategy.

“Intern Europe also provides our local staff with the chance to work with people of a similar age from across Europe, helping them learn about different cultures and experience different languages. In fact, we actually have two local employees from Belfast who are currently learning Spanish so they can have a conversation with our Spanish participants, which is great for the atmosphere in the office and is fantastic for building morale.”

Although Intern Europe is a new business in Northern Ireland, the company inherits a great legacy from International Services, the name by which Intern Europe was known before being acquired by Colin Blackburn in late 2013. The former company ran for over 12 years and was responsible for bringing thousands of interns to Northern Ireland; a trend that Colin and his team will grow with Intern Europe.

Intern Europe will build on an excellent first year in businesses by growing by at least 30% in 2015, with the aim of brining over 400 highly skilled participants to Northern Ireland for 3-14 week placements.

Companies that are interested in hosting placement participants from Intern Europe are encouraged to contact Colin Blackburn on .