Glenammer Engineering had previously worked with ScotGrad to help find graduates to work on locally themed projects. With the Ayr-based company now looking at entering the Chinese market, they wanted to find someone who had the language skills and potentially, local contacts to help overcome any challenges which may prevent them getting their products into the country. Managing Director Allen Matthews explains how his business has capitalised on international talent, studying in Scotland and how the initial student project would lead to a graduate ScotGrad placement opportunity being identified.
Tell us a bit about Glenammer Engineering
We started the business in 1998 and it soon became obvious that there was room in the market for a company which was capable of producing high quality products at a fair price. At the beginning, I was making the sieves myself but we have grown the business in recent years and we now employ 12 people and have bought our own premises in Ayr. We now export our products all over the world, something that has happened in a very ad-hoc way.
Why did you decide to take on an international student?
As part of our international aims and objectives, we were keen to explore the possibilities of taking our products to the Chinese market and to prepare for this exciting initiative, we needed to find someone fluent in both English and Mandarin because although we had tried, we had failed miserably to find an agent in China who was able to help us. We had worked with ScotGrad before and were confident of finding the right person and fortunately, Shu Yang applied for the role and we appointed her immediately after interview.
Describe the project your student was working on
Shu was working part-time with us during her studies and her task was to find us a Chinese agent who would be able to help us get our products to market through established distribution channels.
How has your business benefited from the student placement?
The project met all initial objectives and took around 3 months to complete and this was mostly delivered part-time. Given that the placement had been a success and that we wanted to continue working with Shu, we appointed her to the role of graduate marketing manager on a 12 month placement, again through ScotGrad. With the success we had during the initial student placement, we believe that retaining Shu to continue the great work done to date, made very good business sense. We now have a graduate on our books who understands our business and can offer us great insight and connections (domestically and in China) and as we look to build brand awareness in China, this will only be good for us.
Overall, were your expectations met and would you hire another student again in the future?
Yes, very much so. Not only have we benefited from having someone who is very keen to learn and put their ideas into action, we have also benefitted from them being able to source suppliers in China, a very welcome bonus as we continue to look at growing our exports to that part of the world.