Monday, January 11, 2010

Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh Seeks Green Internship Placements For Irish Graduate-Level Engineering Students

The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh is engaged in a career development initiative for Northern Ireland post-graduate environmental engineers that could create opportunities for local companies by forging international connections leading to business opportunities and partnerships in the future.

The Institute is working with Irish colleges and the Irish government to arrange one-year internships at Pittsburgh-area companies in the fields of sustainable technology and alternative energy.

Northern Ireland has emerged from one of the most intractable conflicts of the last century. After 30 years of the dirty sectarian war known as "the Troubles," leaders there took a brave step towards peace and reconciliation in 1998 by signing on to a US-brokered agreement, effectively ending military operations there. Combatants on both sides then began to decommission their arsenals, bringing a new way of life and new opportunities to advance civil society and international partnership.

With that in mind, Northern Ireland leaders are now supporting a proposal to deliver a strategic program in the area of sustainable technology and alternative energy, according to Jim Lamb, President of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh.

Coordinators of this program, aware of the rich and diverse sustainable technology sector of Pittsburgh, have asked the Ireland Institute to identify and solicit local companies involved in various alternative energy technologies, including, but not limited to wind technology, energy from waste and/or biomass, and clean energy storage, Lamb said.

Student engineers come to Pittsburgh to spend one year in these companies, working and learning on the job. While there is no obligation to participate, companies that wish to do so can interview interns via video-conference. This gives companies and interns an opportunity to learn about each other and discuss specific skill sets and job duties. Companies agree to provide a modest living wage ($10 per hour).

The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh will provide orientation, soft-landing, a series of educational, social, and recreational activities, and other support throughout the twelve-month program. The Institute also will encourage participating companies to consider Northern Ireland with a view to markets across Europe and beyond. Authorities there offer excellent packages for direct investment and partnership, Lamb said.

Prior to the exchange, candidates will attend five 90-minute pre-departure training sessions facilitated by South West College and the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh. Sessions will be conducted while visas, internships, housing, and other program needs are processed. Following these sessions the 12 students from Northern Ireland migrate to the U.S. After a one-week orientation, participants begin their full-time (40 hours per week) internships in various companies and organizations.

Throughout the year the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh will host gatherings and arrange for speakers to present ideas on sustainability, clean energy, green technology, corporate responsibility, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Attendance to these gatherings will be compulsory.

Upon completion of the one-year internship, participants return home to enter the workforce and/or post-graduate study. The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh and its local partners will follow up with participants three times (after one month; after three months; and after six months) to gauge success and measure the impact of the program in the Northern Ireland economy.

For more information, call 412-394-3900, send email to or click on

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