Rebecca Hua, left, and Kim Evans of the Department of State Growth, Rob Wilson of UTAS and James Holden from the Department of State Growth at the I-PREP launch in August.

Business has responded to the opportunity to open their doors to talented and enthusiastic international  UTAS and  TasTAFE students.

The formal launch of I-Prep at the IMAS Waterfront  Building, Battery Point,  recently welcomed the first 19 participating employers who are being encouraged to offer international  students internships.

Close to 100 people attended the launch by the secretary of the Department of State Growth, Kim Evans, representing the Treasurer, Peter Gutwein.

Mr Evans said the Tasmanian Government financially supported the project because of the range of opportunities it  presented – giving international students the opportunity to engage in and make a valuable contribution to Tasmanian workplaces.

“For business to grow, they must be willing to innovate and explore new ideas and ways of thinking,” Mr Evans said.

“I-Prep helps Tasmanian business open their doors to talented and enthusiastic international students, unlocking benefits for both the students and their businesses. It connects business with people that bring with them fresh ideas and enthusiasm.

“And of course, it gives students,  both UTAS and TasTAFE, a real world job experience and new skills. We know from our Population Growth  Strategy that for many international students there is a desire to remain in Tasmania following their graduation.

“International education now contributes $376 million to the state’s economy, Tasmania’s fourth largest export earner. Tasmania now hosts about 5400 intentional students  through University and TasTAFE.”

The 19 inaugural  business are  Stornoway, Marinova, Crowe Horwath, Anglicare Tasmania, Australian Computer Society, Eastside Lutheran  College, Houston’s Farm,  Community Transport Services Tasmania, Hobart City Council, Enterprize, Cricket Tasmania, Glenorchy City Council, Oak Possability,  Migrant Resource Centre, Masonic Care Tasmania, Honey&Fox, Leishman and Associates, Metro and Calvary Hospitals.

The university’s new Industry Engagement Co-ordinator, Penny Stringer, is excited about  the potential of the initiative and is aiming to enrol 100 internship positions by the end of the year.

For more information about the project email Leap.Connect@utas.edu.au