On Monday 14th September, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce welcomed a new edition of the Graduate European Programme. The programme offers university graduates the opportunity to undertake work experience in London at the same time as they attend different workshops. The programme, which this year has 12 participants, started with an Induction Week which included several talks and visits to institutions.
The Secretary General Mr. Igor Urra, along with Ms. Cristina Carmona, Head of Corporate Relations and Communication and Co-ordinator of the Programme, welcomed the group on Monday 14th September at the Spanish Chamber of Commerce premises. After the encouragement words from the Secretary General, who urged candidates to make the most of this opportunity, Cristina Carmona delivered a session aimed at helping candidates to succeed at the interviews they would be facing later in the week. The session also provided participants with useful tips to write a CV and to face a personal interview.
Following a break, participants had the opportunity to meet Ms. Rosa Del Campo, Commercial Relationships Manager at UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), who explained the role of the UKTI and how they support overseas companies to land in the UK, but also how they help UK-based companies to enter new markets. The session concluded with an overview of those countries with a significant foreign investment presence in the UK, and provided examples on how Spanish companies have increased their internationalisation plans in recent years.
Later that day, three former participants of the Graduate European Programme visited the premises of the Chamber. Ms. Sandra Del Campo, Ms. Carmen Villanueva and Ms. Sofía Marcoartu shared their experience with the attendees and explained how taking part in this programme eventually led them both to find a job in London. They encouraged this year’s participants to make the most of the work experience. The talk concluded with a round of questions about life in London, hints to do well at the interviews and the differences between work routines in Spain and UK.
Before starting the interviews phase, on Tuesday 15th September the induction week followed with a visit to the Spanish Embassy in London, where participants were welcomed by Mr. Juan López-Herrera, the Minister Counsellor. He provided this year’s candidates with an overview of the main areas of work of the Embassy in the country and why the diplomatic service is important. To conclude the visit, the participants had some time to make a few questions to Mr. Juan López-Herrera.
Later on the afternoon, the participants had the chance to meet two top journalists, Roberto Casado from Expansion and Jordi Barcia from RNE. They went on to offer an overview of the life of a foreign press correspondent, the way they work and the main advantages and inconveniences of being a correspondent. At the end of their talks and after the Q&A, Mr. Barcia showed the participants his portable radio-set and explained them how he works when he is not in his studio.
Next on the agenda, on Friday 18th was a visit to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development where the participants where kindly welcomed by Mr. Antonio Oporto, Board Director for Spain and Mexico. Mr. Antonio Oporto started by explaining participants the historic context where the Bank was created so they could better understand its scope of action. He went on to share his insights on how current affairs can have an impact on the work of the EBRD, especially in regard to new countries where the bank operates. A very interactive Q&A followed the session where participants were able to learn more about specific areas of interest for the bank.
We would like to thank all the speakers for the different sessions of the Induction Week and the institutions that kindly welcomed the participants of the XVII of our Graduate European Programme. We will be following their progress in London and encourage them to make the most of this unique experience.