A Business West training programme has been nominated alongside the likes of Apple and Google for a major award.

Pathways to International Trade sees talented undergraduate students from around the south west undergo an intensive four-day training course in international trade and exporting.

They then complete a week-long paid internship with a south west employer to put their knowledge into action.

Now in its sixth year, the programme has educated over 125 students and has proven an effective springboard to launching a graduate career in international trade.

Alumni have gained positions at businesses and organisations including Anheuser-Busch, Global Business Reports, Google and the Department for International Trade.

Business West managing director Phil Smith said: "This initiative has presented a further way for Business West to support south west businesses and develop much needed international trade expertise in our workforce.

"Our business members often stress the need for talent as one of their top priorities, so we are delighted that our efforts in training students and placing them in exporting internships with clients has resulted in such an accolade.”

The programme could win a TARGETjobs National Graduate Recruitment Award - but it faces still competition from international giants.

delivered at the University of Exeter the prestigious TARGETjobs National Graduate Recruitment Awards.

Market specialist Ameeta Virk leads the initiative. She added: “Having created and run Pathways to International Trade for the past six years, it is wonderful for Business West to receive further recognition for our work in preparing students for careers in global trade.

"This is a specialism that has never been more important than today.”

The regional chamber of commerce represents 21,000 businesses across the south west by offering information, advice, networking events and international trade support to companies in Swindon, Wiltshire and further afield.

This award-shortlisted training programme has been carried out at the University of Exeter.

The university's employer engagement manager Steve Wallers said: "Our support in nominating Business West for this award is in recognition of the ongoing support and inspiration this programme has given to so many of our students to explore the field of export.

"It has also provided us with a platform for University of Exeter students to support local business with their export plans."