Thu | Apr 27, 2017

Re-Birth Project Career Talks: Helping students chart career goals

Published:Saturday | June 27, 2015 | 6:01 PM

Norman Manley High third-form student Monique Jones already has a spot at the Shortwood Teachers' College and a four-year tuition scholarship awaiting her. She only needs to matriculate to the institution. To do this, Monique will need five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate subjects, including mathematics, English language, a physical science and a social science.

The generous gift was offered by Dr Christopher Clarke, principal at the teachers' college, who said he was intrigued by the teen at the First Heritage Cooperative (FHC) Credit Union-sponsored Re-Birth Project Career Talks.

"She was so interested, keen on the discussion, and her level of thinking was impressive. She was just so concerned about non-performing children and wondered if the ministry could somehow send special teachers to these schools. She felt that teachers could help these students," Clarke explained.

"Added to that, she was quite clear that she wants to be a teacher, unlike the other students in the group who weren't sure. This impressed me. So I told her that should she pursue that interest and qualify to come to Shortwood Teachers' College, I would offer her a scholarship."

Seeking to form linkages between aspiration, attitude and achievement - the emphasis for Phase 2 - the intervention programme for at-risk youth recently partnered with FHC to host a special workshop at the Norman Manley High School.

The session, Career Talks, saw successful professionals hosting small-group discussions about their areas of expertise. Using a strength-based approach, the selection of these specific career fields was informed by purposeful alignment psychometric assessments developed by Trevor Hamilton & Associates. The complementary assessments, valued at more than $100,000, were conducted by Dr Ainsley Deer, occupational and clinical psychologist of Training Dynamics & Consultants Ltd.

Melody Cammock-Gayle, co-founder of the project, said this was intended to help the student participants discover their natural strengths, set goals towards career development, as well as recognise that each, regardless of his or her personal and family situation, has unique abilities which can be honed.

COMMITMENT TO YOUTH

For their part, FHC senior marketing officer Diana Allen said programmes like the Re-Birth Project further her organisation's commitment to youth development.

"We had a great day. The children enjoyed meeting the various professionals and learning about the different areas. They liked the fact that they were getting inside information on what each person does on a daily basis. This empowers them to not just think abstractly about a career choice, but to see themselves in the role. FHC is happy to be a part of this and hopes that we have really helped these youth to consider a different path and help them map how to get to where they want to go," Allen said.

Among the visiting participants were Dr Kristen Robinson, psychiatrist; Mendel Thompson, branch manager, FHC; Sophia Richardson, manager, FHC Micro & Small Business Loans; Dr Christopher Clarke, principal, Shortwood Teachers' College; Dr Jordan Hardie, gynaecologist and obstetrician; Pat Tomlinson, services & solutions manager, IBM; Garcia Kelly, attorney-at-law; and Heneka Watkis-Porter, entrepreneur, owner of Patwa Apparel and 10 Fyah Side sauces and jam.