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What is Pathways to International Trade?

Based on a growing number of students showing an interest in international trade, the University of Exeter will once again be partnering with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to deliver Pathways to International Trade in 2023. Successful students will take part in five days of training delivered by colleagues at DIT, before completing an internship relating to the international trade sector. The programme is open to all students from all campuses, however please see full eligibility criteria under the 'Am I eligible' heading below.

The interactive programme comprises of 3 key elements:

  • Employer-led training - 5 days of technical and employability training delivered by the Department for International Trade (19 - 23 June 2023)
  • Group project - During the training you will work in small groups on a business challenge before presenting back on the final day
  • Paid internshipYou will be assigned an organisation where you will undertake a 35 hour paid internship (full-time or part-time between 26 June - 7 July 2023)

"Through the University's Pathways to International Trade programme, the support given to extend both student's knowledge and passions, as well as their future career prospects, was fantastic - I couldn't recommend the experience highly enough." (Jack, BSc Economics and Politics)

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
  • Be inspired by experienced professionals
  • Network with colleagues from the Department for International Trade
  • Gain confidence in your abilities
  • Develop your career plan
  • Culminates in an essential work experience, undertaking a paid internship
  • This activity counts towards the Exeter Award
  • Receive a certificate

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. However, please see full eligibility criteria below: 

Student status

  • You must be a current University of Exeter student when you apply for and take part in the programme in June/July 2023 (please note, students graduating in Summer 2023 are eligible to apply).
  • Even if the internship is remote working, you must be physically based in the UK to undertake the role.*
  • Students from any campus can apply for this pathway.
  • If you have previously completed the Pathways to International Trade programme, please note you are not eligible to apply again. However you are welcome to apply for a different Pathway. 
  • If you are an interrupted student, you will not have current student status and are therefore ineligible to apply for Professional Pathways.
  • If you are a full-time Postgraduate student, you are limited to working a maximum of 6 hours per week, however if you are able to gain supervisor approval to complete both the training and the 35 hour internship, you will be able to undertake the Pathways programme. You will need to seek approval if you are successful at the assessment centre stage.
  • If you are a part-time Postgraduate student, you are limited to working a maximum of 18.25 hours per week, so would need to split your 35 hours across two weeks, unless you get supervisor approval to work full-time (35 hours) in one week. You will need to seek approval if you are successful at the assessment centre stage.

Right to Work (RTW)

  • You must have the right to work in the UK at the point the Professional Pathways programme commences in June 2023 and this must cover both the training and the internship taking place into July 2023. 
  • In order to expedite the right to work checking process, you will be asked to provide your right to work evidence at the application stage. Please refer to the List of acceptable documents for right to work checks.
  • If you have been employed by the University within the last 12 months and provided your right to work evidence, this should still be up-to-date and you would not need to provide it again. You can declare this to us at the application stage.
  • For more information about Right to Work please see the eClaims webpages. 

International, EU and EEA students

  • You must have the right to work in the UK at the point the programme commences in June 2023 and this must cover both the training and the internship taking place into July 2023. Depending on your visa restrictions, if you are successful onto the programme, we will try to match you with an employer that will accommodate part-time hours across two weeks, if needed.

*Please refer to the university's webpage here for further information on the university's position on remote/homeworking outside the UK.

Please note, applications for our 2023 Pathways programmes are now closed. 

If you would be interested in taking part in Professional Pathways next year, you can register your interest here. Please note, the training and internships will take place in June and July 2024 and you would need to be a current student at this point to be eligible to apply. Applications will open late 2023.

The successfully selected students will attend a five day training programme, delivered by industry experts between 19 - 23 June 2023. The training will be delivered by the Department for International Trade and take place on our Streatham campus in Exeter. You would be expected to attend all sessions for your Pathway programme.

The training will equip you with vital industry knowledge, sector specific information, support to improve your employability and an opportunity to ask the experts any questions and hone your networking skills. You will also attend a session providing preparatory support to help you make the most out of your paid internship.


When applying, please think carefully about your accommodation situation during the training dates and the internship period. If successful in gaining a place on the programme, you will need to be in commutable distance to the Streatham campus in Exeter to attend all the training days. For successful Cornwall campus students only, we will look to secure and fund accommodation in Exeter from Sunday to Friday morning to cover the training dates. We will also provide a contribution of up to £75 towards travel expenses to and from Cornwall to Exeter for the training.

If you are on a year-abroad, year-in-industry, first year student with an accommodation contract ending prior to the training dates, or a student who will not have accommodation for any other reason during the training period, it will be your responsibility to arrange this. Please note, you may be able to apply for up to a £200 bursary from the university to support any accommodation costs.

Training schedule:

Please see below the training schedule from our 2022 Pathways to International Trade programme. While the training schedule is subject to changes each year, it is likely many of these topics will once again be covered in sessions:

Training session topic:
Researching Export Markets
Exporter Story & the Middle East Market
Routes to Market
Case Study - India; How would you advise a client?

Effective Project Management for International Projects

How will your product compete in international markets?
Understanding the client
Exporter Story
Doing Business Across Cultures
Packaging for Exports
'Look at me, look at me - why we need to talk more & shout less'
Career panel and Q&A session

Group Project

In addition to the sessions, the training will include experiential learning and group work projects set by industry professionals. This will give you the opportunity to work in small groups on a real life business challenge and put the content covered in the training sessions, into practice. You will be allocated time at the end of each training day to work on this. On the fifth and final day of training, each group will present their findings in front of a panel to receive feedback.

Watch the video below from our 2022 Professional Pathways training days:

If selected onto the programme, you will undertake a paid 35 hour internship in a role related to the international trade sector. This could include looking at exporting, international marketing/audiences, international business development or undertaking market research. These internships will be either part-time or full-time roles and take place between 26 June - 7 July 2023, after your training has been completed. During your internship, 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. 

Once selected, a range of internship projects will be sent to you and you will be required to identify which roles you are most interested in. The internship opportunities on offer via the Pathways to International Trade programme are likely to be mainly remote-working roles, however there also may be a few workplace-based roles or hybrid internship opportunities, depending on location. For any internships undertaken in the workplace, you will need to arrange and fund your accommodation and travel expenses. For remote-working roles, you must be based in the UK for the duration of the internship due to tax regulations.

A matching process will 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 top preferences. You will be expected to make contact with your internship host prior to starting your internship. Full guidance will be given on this at the relevant time. 

The salary of £12.22 per hour (includes £10.90 basic hourly rate + £1.32 holiday pay) for this 35 hour internship will be paid by the University of Exeter. 

Past internship hosts and roles in 2021 and 2022 included:

Health and Care Innovations (HCI) - International Market Researcher

Sassi Holford - International Business Development Assistant

Martec International - Overseas Partnerships Development Researcher

OCO Global - Consulting Intern

Doddl International Business Development Researcher

Ashmira Botanica - International Markets Researcher

Vanguard Healthcare Solutions - International Marketing Intern

APIsFirst International Business Development Analyst

The Single Fin Collective - International Markets Researcher

Roma Prams UK - International Markets Developer

Mallory International International Marketing Intern

Two Drifters Distillery Export Intern

QWERTY Beer Box - Trade Pioneer

Incyte International – International Marketing Adviser

Total Specific Solutions Business Development Assistant

Vapormatt International and Domestic Markets Researcher


We recognise that with rising costs, the cost of living is very high, and we are therefore looking to try and support students where we can. For those students that meet Widening Participation (WP) criteria and are successful in gaining a place on the programme, you may be eligible to apply for up to a £100 travel bursary to support costs related to your Professional Pathways internship. You will need to have been matched to an internship involving some time spent in the workplace (fully workplace based or hybrid working). Please note, we will have limited funding available and where students are eligible, more information will be provided following the internship matching stage.

If you wish to check your WP eligibility, you can visit the Widening Participation (WP) funding page for full criteria and details, or contact us at if you have any questions. 

For students who have gained a place on the programme, we have put together the following guide on Making the Most of Your Internship. We would recommend reading this prior to starting your Pathways internship to be fully prepared. The guide includes useful information on points to action before your first day, things to consider while in the role and what to do when your internship finishes.

If you would like to see where your fellow students have undertaken their Professional Pathways internship and read about their experiences on the programme, you can take a look at their blog posts here, by selecting the various Pathway programmes under the 'By Internship Scheme' drop-down menu at the top. 

Quotes from former Pathways to International Trade students: 

"This was such an amazing opportunity where I got to gain real-world experience in the world of International Trade. I was able to meet a lot of new people and get involved in real-world cases with live clients. I was able to learn so much which has now given me a clearer idea of my future career path."

"Pathways was an exciting but competitive opportunity to obtain theoretical industry knowledge and apply it in hands-on work in the international trade sector!"

"Through the University's Pathways to International Trade programme, the support given to extend both student's knowledge and passions, as well as their future career prospects, was fantastic - I couldn't recommend the experience highly enough."

"A very insightful experience, it would be beneficial for anyone looking to gain real-life experience to enhance their CV and skill set."

"It well and truly opened up my eyes into the world of business development and the nature of working for a brand new start-up company. I didn't anticipate that I would end up learning as much as I did and now feel I have gained really useful tools that will be really employable in the future!"

"This is an excellent programme if you want to gain experience working in a professional environment. It is a great opportunity to increase your future employability."

"The experience was a fantastic insight into the business development role, as well as the startup structure of a business. I learnt so much about an area I was really interested in and it was fantastic to see the product at the end which was an accumulation of everyone’s hard work!"

"Professional Pathways internships feel like a secure way to gain valuable experience and kick-start a future career."

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 at: