Chinese speaking graduates from the University of Sheffield are to team up with city businesses ahead of a trade visit to China.
The University’s Great Ambassadors (China) Scheme has launched the Platinum Club project to help 10 SMEs recruit a graduate who will be able to help them get ready for a trip to Beijing in March.
The initiative is part of the Sheffield in China project, a collaboration between the University, the city council and Hallam University to promote the Sheffield brand.
Sheffield in China will use the city’s association with snooker to capitalise on the visit to the sport’s biggest market.
As the home of the World Snooker Championships, many Chinese business leaders will already be familiar with the steel city and the trade visit ties in with the China Open, which is being held in Beijing from 28 March 2016 for one week.
Steve Fish, director of Careers Service at Sheffield University, said: “For businesses to be able to break into the Chinese market they need to overcome language and cultural differences. This is where our graduates come in.
“They can use their knowledge to support businesses while acquiring knowledge of UK businesses and improving their employability.
“As part of the club, 10 firms will be invited to recruit one of our Chinese-speaking graduates to help prepare them for the trip.
“This partnership will not only help to boost the local economy it could see new jobs being created if the trade visits are a success.”
The Platinum Club will see the graduate work with a company for a minimum of six months. They will work on projects in the run up to the visit, which could include helping market a company via Chinese social media such as Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, liaising with Chinese distributors, providing advice business culture and etiquette and helping companies develop a Chinese version of their brand.
Platinum Club members will get financial support with travel costs to China as well as the cost of an Overseas Market Intelligent Report.
Other placements for Chinese speaking students are also being offered through the scheme, which also involves UK Trade & Investment and could be rolled out to universities nationwide.
The scheme links businesses with the growing pool of Chinese speaking talents at UK universities, who can help businesses internationally.
Prof Sir Keith Burnett, vice chancellor of the University of Sheffield, visited China last week with a high-level ministerial delegation led by Chancellor George Osborne.
It was focused on commercial partnerships, infrastructure and potential industrial links to the emerging Northern Powerhouse, particularly in advanced manufacturing.
The Chancellor revealed Chinese firm Hualing Industry and Trade Group agreed to invest in two projects.
It will support the second phase of the Sheffield Digital Campus in partnership with Yorkshire property firm Scarborough Group and the extension of the Thorpe Park development on the edge of Leeds.
The Digital Campus Phase Two will see two new blocks next to the Electric Works.