ALMOST 800 European work students found work experience placements last year through the Torbay-based Training Partnership.
The business, based at the Lymington Road Innovation Centre, run by Torbay Development Agency, places European students into work placements across South Devon – both paid and unpaid.
One student, Tanja Trifkovic from Germany, has been working unpaid in the Bay for seven weeks, and praised the Training Partnership's staff and organisation.
"The Training Partnership has been great. The people who work there are really lovely," she said. "I've had a fantastic time over here; it's been a great experience."
A recent development for the company has been the appointment of a new business development officer. Nadine Stroud, a recent graduate from Plymouth University, has been tasked with the job of researching new and expanding markets globally and introducing new training programmes.
The company is also expanding into offering accredited courses such as cultural awareness. Written by the Training Partnership, the course has been validated through the National Open College Network.
Nadine said: "This year we will offer this course to our European students and local schools and businesses who import or export to other European countries. The course gives people the tools to recognise cultural diversity.
"It gives an awareness of how to avoid pitfalls and recognise the difference in cultures. It adds value to student training programmes and will help local businesses understand the diversity of working with companies from overseas."
Ian Smith, work placement manager, explained: "Usually our business goes a little quieter at this time of year but we are still extremely busy and student numbers are continuing to grow. This year we anticipate placing more than 800 students, a new record for us.
"Through our marketing we always strive to promote the Bay as a destination of choice. Very few people are aware that The Training Partnership contributes a significant amount of money towards the economic success of the Bay.
"Recently we have developed a programme which involves hosting and co-ordinating delegate visits particularly teachers, social workers and nurses. The groups are here to learn new methods and technologies and observe UK systems."
Mayor of Torbay, Gordon Oliver, said: "The Training Partnership is carrying out superb work, promoting the area as a tourist destination and also helping to put money into the local economy. I'm sure its new courses will prove to be extremely valuable to businesses which trade across Europe."
The South West Innovation Centres are operated by TDA on behalf of Torbay Council to provide incubation space for new and growing businesses.