Call for Plymouth firms to host Euro students


By WILLIAM TELFORD, Business Editor/Plymouth Herald



Lisa Fleming of Tellus College

IT’S not just students who benefit from working at Plymouth firms under a 14.7billion-euro European Union-funded programme – companies benefit too.

Each year the Erasmus+ programme funds European students to gain valuable work experience at Plymouth companies, in addition to enhancing their language and other skills.

The seven-year programme, which has an overall 14.7billion-euro budget, is delivered in Plymouth by Mutley Plain-based Tellus College.

The company is already working with 300 Plymouth firms, and another 200 in its other base city of Portsmouth, none of which have to contribute financially.

And the door is open for even more businesses to become involved.

Lisa Fleming is Tellus College’s business development co-ordinator. It’s her job to work with companies and place the international students.

“I meet employers, phone them, email them, and go to see them in person; we call them providers,” she said.

The roster of Plymouth firms is huge, covering a wide variety of sectors, everything from motor mechanics to hospitality and admin, from IT to scientific research and engineering.

The students who come to Plymouth can be from across the EU, but, for Tellus, most are from the largest nations: Germany, Poland, Italy, France and Spain.

They can be aged anywhere between 16 and 60. But usually they are in their late teens and early 20s.

A typical placement lasts about three to four weeks, although older, perhaps graduate, students can take part in longer programmes, sometimes for several months.

Tellus, which has about 1,000 students in Plymouth each year, strives to place the students with companies working in the fields they are interested in.

Each student receives credits towards a recognised qualification under the European Credit System for Vocational Educational Training.

It’s Ms Fleming’s job to match the skills of the incoming students with firms that can utilise them so both parties can gain.

“If I know I have 40 admin students coming, for instance, I’ll look for firms with admin roles,” she said. “I use the students’ CVs to match them to jobs, but also look at their hobbies and interests.

“The nuts and bolts are admin and IT, the specialists are more challenging but when we get them it’s brilliant.

“Overall it’s good for Tellus College, for the companies and for the students.

“I really love this job. The big thing for me is building a rapport with the companies.

“And we’re always looking for companies.”

Tellus College already has a list of 300 Plymouth firms it works with.

Since Ms Fleming took on her role in August last year, about 60 new companies have engaged with the programme.

They come from sectors including retail, warehousing, mechanics, hospitality, property, accountancy, energy, medical, science, media, and more.

“But then again, there are companies we have worked with for five years.

“I’m looking for good companies, established with a reputation, and that I think would genuinely bring the students on.”

Tellus has been providing educational services since 2003, and through Meridian School of English since 1979.

To take part in the programme contact Ms Fleming at or ring 0845 6733007.

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