What is Pathways to International Trade?

*Update on Professional Pathways programme - March 2020*:

Students shortlisted for the 2020 Professional Pathways programme will have been notified accordingly of changes we are making. If you are interested in applying for the 2021 programme, please register your interest here and we will be in touch later in the year with further details. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the team at professionalpathways@exeter.ac.uk Please be aware that during these exceptional circumstances, there may be a delay in the team responding to enquiries and we thank you in advance for your patience.

Based on a growing number of students showing an interest in international trade, the University of Exeter have partnered with Business West to deliver a 4-day training course followed by a paid week-long internship. This programme, supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT), successfully brings together SMEs (Small or Medium sized Enterprise) identified by DIT and Business West with talented student interns who have undertaken the week-long course.

The interactive programme comprises of 3 key elements:

  • Employer-led training - 4 days of intensive technical and employability training.
  • Group project - You will work in small groups to apply your learning to a real life business project during the training period.
  • Paid internship - You will be assigned an organisation where you will undertake a 1 week paid internship.

If you are an employer and interested in getting involved in the Pathways to International Trade programme, please visit the employer-facing webpage here.

  • Gain an insight into different opportunities in International Trade
  • Increase knowledge of sector specific activities
  • Learn in an interactive and experiential environment
  • Work with students from different year groups, subjects and levels of degree
  • Be inspired by experienced professionals
  • Gain confidence in your abilities
  • Develop your career plan
  • Apply newly acquired learning to a group project as part of the training
  • Culminates in an essential work experience, undertaking a paid internship
  • This activity counts towards the Exeter Award
  • Receive a certificate and reference

You must be a current University of Exeter student when you apply for the programme. We welcome applications from all disciplines and levels of study from first year to final year, undergraduate or postgraduate as long as you can demonstrate a keen interest in this subject area. Students from any campus can apply for this pathway.

You must have the right to work in the UK for the duration of the professional pathways i.e. it covers both the training and the internship week. If you are called to the selection assessment centre you will be asked to bring evidence of your right to work status.

If you are interested in applying for the 2021 programme, please register your interest here and we will be in touch later in the year with further details.

The successful students will undertake a week of intensive international trade training, led by the Department for International Trade (DIT). 

Previous sessions have included:

  • Introduction to international trade
  • International digital marketing
  • Market entry strategy
  • Classifying companies in stages of trade
  • Cross cultural competence in international trade
  • E-Exporting
  • Market specific workshops
  • Developing skills that international employers want
  • Key considerations for getting paid in trade
  • Meeting your employer and understanding their organisation

Training will take place over 4 full days based at the University of Exeter Streatham campus. For successful Cornwall based students only, paid accommodation in Exeter will be available for the duration of the training as well as up to £50 contribution to cover travel expenses to and from Cornwall to Exeter.

Throughout your training you will work in groups linking what you learn to a real life project provided to you on day 1 of the training. This project will be provided by a DIT client. On the final day of the programme your whole group will deliver a presentation to a panel of judges made up of DIT staff and University of Exeter staff.

If selected, you will undertake a week-long internship with an international trade employer, provided by one of the SMEs identified by the Department for International Trade. These internships will take place after your training has been completed. During your internship week you may be asked to work on a specific project, undertake a particular piece of work or carry out a range of tasks that will enable you to gain an insight into how the company and sector operate.

Last year, students' internships were undertaken mainly remotely, with some taking place at the employers' place of work depending on what was agreed between the employer and the student.

The salary of £10.42 per hour (inclusive of holiday pay) for this week long (35 hour) internship will be paid by the University of Exeter. You will need to fund the accommodation and travel expenses for the internship week. 

If selected, a range of internship projects will be sent to you and you will be required to identify which projects you are most interested in. You will need to consider your travel and accommodation arrangements when ranking your preferences.

A matching process will then be completed in late May based on your application form and identified preferences. No guarantee can be made that you will be matched to your preference. You will be expected to make contact with your internship host prior to starting your internship.

Elements of Pathways to International Trade align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: 


 If you would like to ask any questions, please contact the team on professionalpathways@exeter.ac.uk