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Work Placement in Ireland 2016
Start date: Jun 1, 2016, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Work Placement in Ireland is a thriving programme composed of twenty students who attend the vocational college BHAK Bregenz. These participants are instructed by their teacher Mr Markus Erath who prepares them for the project in a number of dedicated workshops. In order to guarantee the success of Work Placement in Ireland we maintain a close-working relationship with our partner organisation Language Xchange Ireland (LXI) which discovers and communicates with supportive and reliable companies willing to host our students. The organised, experienced, and consistent work of our partner organisation is invaluable as it would be difficult for us to arrange quality short-term internships for students from Austria. We decided to start a cooperation with Language Xchange Ireland after a focused assessment period in 2010 and 2011 of the available partners. The first contact was made in February 2011 when their Managing Director, Mr Con Furey, visited our school in Bregenz, Austria, to introduce his company and its services to our students. In addition to finding high-quality internships for international students seeking work experience in Ireland, Language Xchange Ireland is excellent at finding reliable host families for our students. What is more, LXI hosts an orientation meeting to provide the students with essential information before the actual start of their internship and is in charge of making travel arrangements for the group within Ireland.The main part of this project will occur from 24 October to 4 November 2016. The students and their teacher will be travelling to Ireland and the students will complete a two-week unpaid internship with different Irish companies. Language Xchange Ireland will find appropriate positions in diverse fields so that students will be able to experience the work of a job that interests them. In spring 2016 students will send their Europass CVs and letters of application to our partner organisation and work through the e-Learning Package that has been developed by Language Xchange Ireland. This important tool provides students with detailed information on the Irish culture, economy, and business environment in addition to assessing their level of English. The results generated from this test are an important factor in the allocation of specific jobs to students. This test also functions to motivate students to work harder on their language skills and their knowledge of Ireland prior to their internship experience.This project aims to provide students with the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge they achieve in school in a professional business environment. Through their work with different companies, students will enhance their perspective of the challenges faced and the solutions developed in business environments. They will work towards understanding the impact of cultural and national differences on business topics such as marketing and customer base through their work in an environment that differs from their home experiences. This opportunity will make our students more sensitive to cultural differences and better prepare them for careers in international business. The programme participants will also make international contacts which will prove useful should they intend to return to Ireland for longer internships. We also expect students to improve their language competence, since they will have to communicate in English at work and in their free time with host families. What is more, our students will practise taking responsibility for problems, self-direction, and confident communication with colleagues. Finally, our participants will become aware of the enormous opportunities that the European labour market offers to young, self-reliant, professional, organized, and multilingual people. We are confident that they will develop a desire to make themselves better candidates for employment. This programme increases our students’ professional qualifications and improves their job opportunities with local export-oriented companies and other European businesses. Thus, this is a positive programme for European companies, since students such as ours will provide them with an internationally-experienced, professional, competent, culturally-sensitive, and open-minded workforce.

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