Young woman in white coat with microscope. Photo by Mat Wright.
'The IAESTE programme is designed to be as simple as possible for employers.' Photo ©

Mat Wright.

Are you an employer in Scotland or Northern Ireland? Would you like access to the world’s top students in science, engineering, technology and applied arts?

Recruiting a trainee through IAESTE will help you:

  • fill skills gaps within a specific project or team
  • access a pool of 10,000 skilled trainees from over 85 countries 
  • stay on budget, thanks to extremely competitive rates
  • be agile, as trainees are available for short or long-term projects (6 to 52 weeks)  
  • benefit from your trainee's local market knowledge, networks, and language skills
  • build relationships with tomorrow's industry leaders and raise your organisation’s profile abroad.

The IAESTE programme is designed to be as straightforward as possible for employers. 

All you need to do is identify a project, pay a stipend for the intern, and we’ll take care of the rest.

As a Tier 5 sponsor, we provide the expertise in navigating necessary visa authorisation, and through our fantastic Local Committees we can support/arrange accommodation.

Read about the benefits an IAESTE trainee can bring to your business with our employer brochure.

Students, find out how to apply for an IAESTE traineeship.

“The IAESTE selection process allows you to define as precisely as you need, the technical profile of the resource which will add to the value of your team and then IAESTE does the rest.”

Michael Caulfield, CEO, Intelesens (a healthcare products manufacturer in Northern Ireland).

How to offer a traineeship

To offer a traineeship you will need to complete the online registration form on the IAESTE Exchange Platform.

This will allow us to send you your unique log-in details for completing a form detailing the placement opportunity.

You will need to complete information on: 

  • subject/department field
  • specialisation
  • level of study
  • IT capabilities
  • language ability
  • previous practical experience
  • nationality
  • stipend

When we have these details, we will work with IAESTE agencies around the world in order to find the best possible student for your traineeship opportunity.

How much will it cost?

The only cost to your company is the student’s stipend, which must adhere to the national minimum wage. 

The service that the IAESTE programme provides, in sourcing the student and taking care of the administration, is completely free.

What if I already have an applicant in mind?

If you have already identified an international participant to take up a paid traineeship in your organisation, we may be able to help. Contact us for further information, or see the section below on 'How to bring trainees from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK'.

Who do I contact if I have a question?

You can email the team on or call our customer contact centre on +44 (0)161 957 7755 to discuss your requirements, ask questions, or see what events are happening near you.

How to bring in a trainee from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

What is Tech Trainees?

Tech Trainees is the British Council’s new Tier 5 Visa sponsorship service that allows UK companies in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and applied arts fields to bring qualified overseas trainees to the UK for paid, project-related placements.

Through the service, we can provide Certificates of Sponsorship for trainees from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) identified by UK businesses, to support their successful Tier 5 Visa applications for UK-based work placements. 

How does it work?

  1. A UK company that has identified a suitable undergraduate or postgraduate student from a country outside of the EEA applies for a Certificate of Sponsorship through the Tech Trainees service.
  2. The British Council works directly with the host company to issue the Certificate of Sponsorship as part of our A-rated Tier 5 Sponsorship Licence, which enables us to act as an overarching sponsor for individuals who meet set eligibility criteria (see below). 
  3. Once the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued, the trainee can then apply for their Tier 5 Visa.


If you are a UK company that has identified a suitable overseas trainee for a paid placement in your company, you can apply for the Tech Trainees service or find out more at

How much does it cost?

  • The Tech Trainees service charges UK companies £1,500 + VAT for issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Trainees cover their own Tier 5 Visa application costs, including the Immigration Health Surcharge, as well as flights, accommodation and living costs.
  • Undergraduate trainees are required to register with the IAESTE office in their home country, which may also incur a cost.
  • Host companies should apply at least three months before the placement is expected to start, as the entire process, including approval of the Tier 5 Visa application, can take up to 12 weeks. For this reason, trainees should lodge their Tier 5 application as soon as the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued.

Is the trainee eligible?

  • The trainee must be a non-EEA citizen.
  • The trainee must either hold, or be studying towards, a degree equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s or higher level degree, which is both of a STEM or applied arts subject area AND directly related to the work placement (copies of enrolment confirmation/degree certificates are required, along with certified translations by a public notary or a certified translator where necessary).
  • The trainee must not claim public funds while they are in the UK.

Is the placement we are offering eligible?

  • The role must be supernumerary to the company’s normal staffing requirements.
  • The role should support a set project; it should not be an internship of a substantive role.
  • The role must be supervised, and must require a minimum skill level of NVQ Level 3.
  • The placement must last for a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of 12 months
  • The placement should conform to all relevant UK and European legislation, such as the National Minimum Wage Act and the European Commission working hours directives.
  • The placement must not harm the resident labour market.

Employer case study: Healthcare products manufacturer

Intelesens, a Northern Ireland based healthcare products manufacturer, recruited an IAESTE trainee for its team testing wearable vital signs monitoring devices.

“IAESTE placement candidates are an elite, self-selected subset of university-level students who, by presenting themselves to the programme, have already demonstrated exceptional self-confidence, ambition, motivation and the drive to grasp the opportunity”, says CEO Michael Caulfield, who has employed more than a dozen trainees over the years.

In 2013, the firm employed Alexis Dubois from KU Levern University Belgium, who not only had a bachelor’s degree in electromechanical engineering and a master’s in mechanical engineering from Tsingua University Beijing, but had also completed various industrial traineeships abroad. Alexis proved to be a valuable member of the team and helped develop the prototype of a body-worn pulse oximetry sensor.

To prospective employers, Michael says: “I strongly recommend you consider taking a placement this year and in future years. IAESTE provides plug-and-play, off-the-shelf human technical resources."

Employer case study: Engineering and environmental consultancy

Alan Frew, director of global engineering and environmental consultancy URS Glasgow, first heard about IAESTE when his company was working on a large project in Sweden. He realised that offering traineeships to Swedish students would give his team a great advantage.

“There’s very little bureaucracy involved in providing a placement. After the initial decision to take on a trainee is made, most of the work is performed by IAESTE. It’s all very easy from that point of view.”

As these placements were such a success, URS decided to offer two additional placements the following year, one in its Glasgow office and one in Belfast. As well as providing translation services and liaising with the Stockholm team, the Glasgow trainee worked alongside the company’s engineers to address design challenges.

“IAESTE provides URS with an opportunity to make use of unique skills which may be less readily available in UK-based students,” says Alan Frew. “It is the nature of good business to always suspect that there is a catch, but in IAESTE there is no catch. It’s a good thing to do for your company and for a student. I am a convert.”