Medical student and Brighter Prospects scholarship recipient, Dana Persad (left) introduces the participants of the Spanish and French virtual camp to law student and language tutor, Jásher De Gannes.

With the support of bp Trinidad and Tobago, Mayaro students part take in online training workshops geared towards their holistic development. Details follow in this press release.

141 students from the south-eastern community of Mayaro were given a jump start through online training workshops sponsored by bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) during the month of August.

Through collaborations with Business Clinic Ltd. and tertiary students from bpTT’s own Brighter Prospects scholarship programme, the energy company supported the delivery of two transformative online learning vacation camps that have given students an edge in the new school term.

Ryan Chaitram, communications and advocacy manager, bp Trinidad and Tobago, welcomes the students to Business Clinic’s ‘Raising a CEO’ virtual camp.

Ryan Chaitram, communications and advocacy manager, bpTT, explained the benefits of the online training, “We have always made substantial investments in young people, especially in the area of education. The pandemic catalysed changes to the learning environment and so we had to adapt our programmes as well. We started with providing digital learning devices to students and now we are following up with virtual training opportunities. These workshops are very comprehensive and transformative, and the students who took up these opportunities went back to school with a significant advantage and extra confidence. By empowering them, we are empowering a better future.”  

Business Clinic Ltd. facilitated a three-week workshop entitled ‘Raising a Chief Executive Officer’ that was delivered under its Life skills, Entrepreneurship And Problem solving (LEAP) banner. As the only full-service business consultancy to work with ages 10 and up, this represents a continuity of Business Clinic’s collaboration with bpTT, having delivered a LEAP camp at the bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre in 2019.

The ‘Raising a CEO’ workshop gave an expansive and immersive experience to 25 secondary students ranging from Form One to Four. As a virtual camp, it used digital tools to engage participants and teach the fundamentals of turning an idea into a successful venture. They also practised the use of MS Office, the Google Suite and utilised the ‘I Am An Entrepreneur’ LEAP workbook. A highlight of the workshop were inspirational conversations with business leaders including former Managing Director and CEO of Methanex Trinidad Limited, Charles Percy; and young entrepreneur, Stefan Justin Sealy.

Revaldo Rampersad, who entered Form Three at Rio Claro West Secondary, also attended the LEAP workshops in 2019 and had this to say about the online business training: “The LEAP workshops were really transformative and helped me a lot. In terms of the entrepreneurship training, it reinforced some things I already knew and introduced me to a lot of new concepts and skills, especially as it relates to owning and managing a business. I am still deciding on a career, but I have interest in real estate and agriculture. The work covered in the ‘Raising a CEO’ course is helping me in class and also fits well with my goals of operating my own business. This workshop was a tremendous opportunity for me to improve.” 

Started by bpTT in 2003, the Brighter Prospects programme provides financial assistance to students from Mayaro and environs who gain access to advanced level studies and tertiary education. The programme has provided grants to more than 700 A-Level and 600tertiary level students since inception. Additional support is also provided including academic guidance, motivational sessions and even internship placements.

The only requisite of Brighter Prospects is that recipients must volunteer towards the development of Mayaro. It was with this in mind that second year medical student and recipient of the Jerome Alexander Brighter Prospects medical scholarship, Dana Persad, conceptualised the two-week ‘Introduction to Spanish and French’ workshop that targeted mainly post-SEA students.

“Because of the pandemic, we have had limited opportunities to volunteer and this is an important responsibility because it is up to us to uplift our community even as we improve ourselves. I suggested a foreign language workshop and received overwhelming support to make it a reality from bpTT, community leaders, educators and other Brighter Prospects students. Overall, it was a fulfilling and rewarding experience and the students showed enthusiasm and a desire to learn that will take them far when they enter secondary school,” Dana explained.

Ending on August 25th, the response to the virtual language camp was tremendous and 116 students enrolled. Because of the number of volunteers, there were enough tutors to form smaller study groups that gave the students more focused and individual attention. Participants learnt about local Spanish and French influences and derived a basic introduction to the languages.

Haley Stewart, who passed for St. Stephen’s College, was given an advantage by language camp, “I really learnt a lot and the tutors made each session fun and exciting. It was very interactive and I learnt topics like the Spanish and French alphabets and numbers. We are studying Spanish in Form One, and I am ahead in class and I am also sharing the knowledge that I got from this workshop. I’m really grateful to bpTT and I will work hard so that one day I will get a Brighter Prospects scholarship as well.”