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Building Networks: An Internship at UKTI

Ramya is in her final year of a Masters in International Relations, International Trade and Commercial Law.

When I became a student of International Relations, I was fascinated reading about the complex relations between nations and how they affected the average man. But garnering a practical understanding of how nations fostered partnerships and building my own connections through an internship at UK Trade and Investment, was truly a remarkable experience.

In April this year, I interned with the investment team of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Sydney, the trade and investment arm of the UK government. For anyone studying International Relations, and International Trade and Commerce, UKTI is a good case study illustrating how international trade forms a core aspect of the partnerships among nations. It also gave me a fantastic opportunity to garner a cross-culture experience for my career, something which the GLP encourages.

The main purpose of UKTI is to help UK exporters build networks abroad and enhance their profile in international markets, as well as to increase foreign direct investments into the UK economy.

With over a 100 bases worldwide, UKTI has been operating in Australia (with offices in Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney) since 1983. It has been a key vehicle for enhancing the partnership between Australia and the UK. While the trade team aids UK exporters with finding trading partners in this market, the investment team caters to Australian businesses looking to expand into the UK.

While interning at UKTI, I learnt that one of the unique aspects of this organisation was its ability to focus on niche industries, businesses and SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises), making this internship an even more interesting experience for me. Once such industry is financial technology, where I got to work on the Fintech Mission to London project.

The Fintech Mission to London has UKTI sponsoring a delegation of ten Australian financial technology start-ups to travel to the UK during London Fintech week in September, giving these companies the opportunity to meet like-minded peers and investors who can help propel their business to the next level. UKTI started inviting applications from Australian businesses for this mission in May and announced the winners earlier this month (see here). While working on this project, I interacted with high profile UKTI clients during presentations and the breakfast event organised for the mission.

As a UKTI intern, I also attended events like CeBIT, an annual technology and business expo which takes place in Australia. I had the opportunity to interact and network with some very interesting businesses, having been a part of UKTI’s investment team. When I worked on industry projects like Marketing Advertising Technology and Agriculture Technology, I had the chance to analyse the UK and the Australian landscapes and learn a little more about the key players in these industries. I also worked on projects for the trade team, helping them prepare sector briefs in specialised areas like luxury retail, boutique call centres and cruise travels. Learning about these sectors was truly fascinating.

Interning at UKTI was a fun, very valuable and exciting experience. There was never a dull moment, as I got to work on something different each day and participate in various activities, thereby broadening my horizons. I worked with some amazing individuals across a variety of projects, made some memorable friendships and learnt about two different cultures (UK and Australia) without having to travel across borders.

I was able to claim this experience as part of my GLP. This experience, alongside the other requirements of the program, brings competitive edge to my future career aspirations. For anyone looking to gain a true understanding of international relations and garner a cross culture internship experience, I would encourage you to look at organisations like UKTI as part of your GLP.

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