Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe TD has launched a plan to place the top 50 graduates from Irish universities in to export-led firms as part of the Graduates 4 International Growth (G4IG) programme developed in partnership with UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.
Under the programme, graduates will undertake an initial six-month intensive training and skills development programme in an Enterprise Ireland client firm followed by a 12-month placement in a relevant overseas market.
G4IG is aimed at developing firms’ export market development strategies and at the same time advancing graduates’ international business skills.
It is geared towards Irish firms in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors with ambitious international business growth plans.
Successful graduate participants will be awarded a postgraduate diploma in International Growth by UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.
Launching G4IG, Minister O’Keeffe said the programme would create graduate job opportunities and boost exports.
“Ireland’s economic recovery will be export-led and this innovative programme will initially place 50 graduates in firms with high growth potential where they can help explore new business opportunities in global markets.
“By expanding Irish firms’ export footprints, we can create new jobs at home and drive our emergence from recession and back to economic growth.
“The resilience of our exports in the face of the global downturn shows that the Government has adopted the right strategy in maintaining an open economy, seeking new foreign direct investment opportunities, supporting our indigenous export base and developing our services trade,’ said Minister O’Keeffe.
G4IG is open to graduates with honours degrees in all disciplines holding at least a 2.2. Enterprise Ireland will pay the full €7,900 cost of the postgraduate diploma and help to cover some of the salary costs up to a maximum of €20,000 annually or €30,000 for the 18-month period.
Enterprise Ireland will also contribute to additional salary-related costs in relation to time spent overseas by the graduate.
The graduate salary cannot be less than the minimum wage salary of €17,600 annually. The deadline for applications from firms and graduates is 27 September.
The chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, Frank Ryan, said: “This initiative is about growing exports by strategically aligning graduate talent, market opportunity and companies’ international business plans.
“It is a unique opportunity for companies to acquire a valuable market development resource and to drive their export sales strategies.
“By combining access to the expertise and contacts of Enterprise Ireland’s worldwide network of offices and UCD’s extensive experience in delivering executive business development programmes, we are confident that G4IG will deliver significant results for companies and participants.”
The dean of UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Professor Tom Begley, said: ‘We are delighted to partner with Enterprise Ireland in developing and delivering this programme.
“Ireland’s best option for dealing with the current economic difficulties is to trade our way out of them and a dynamic export sector is critical to our success.
“We at UCD Smurfit School are pleased to offer our faculty’s expertise in marketing and international business in developing Ireland’s next
generation of export management talent.
“We are particularly pleased that companies should derive immediate benefits from our action learning approach,” Begley said.