WINNERS’ ROW: UTC’s Executive Director, Nigel Edwards (left) and VP Marketing and Operations, Natasha Davis (right) stand with winner Sydney St Clair Douglas (second from left), second place Toni Boucaud (second from right) and Troy Roberts at Internovate Competition, held at UTC’s Head Office in Port of Spain. (Image courtesy UTC)

The Unit Trust Corporation recently wrapped up its 23rd year of hosting its internship programme for young leaders between the ages of 18 and 25 years with a special closing event that tested the youngsters’ creative ability and business insight in the form of an innovation competition.

The suspense was broken when 22-year-old UWI Mona graduate student, Sydney St Clair Douglas, emerged the winner at this, the Unit Trust Corporation’s inaugural Internship Competition, held on October 8th at UTC’s Head Office on Independence Square. For her ingenuity, she was awarded a six-month contract and $2,000 in Gift of Units.

Known as “Internovate”—a playful combination of internship and innovation—the competition saw the UTC interns going through a rigorous two-week process of submitting ideas spanning a youth podcast, enhancing UTC’s digital engagement among millennials and boosting customer service channels.

With six creative ideas presented by Alicia Humphrey, Jeriel Lezama, Tamika Chacon, Toni Boucaud, Troy Roberts and Sydney St. Clair Douglas, it came down to four interns for the Finals.

In the end, Sydney wowed the judges.  As part of the winning prize, she will work with a cross-functional team for six months to execute a youth entrepreneurial podcast designed to engage this group.

INNOVATION CHAMPION: UTC’s Internovate Winner Sydney St Clair Douglas (center), gives a “thumbs up” as she poses in this photo with UTC’s Executive Director, Nigel Edwards and VP Marketing and Operations, Natasha Davis at UTC’s Head Office, Port-of-Spain. (Image courtesy UTC)

The panel of judges included: UTC Executive Director Nigel Edwards, Vice President Marketing and Operations Natasha Davis, Chief Information Officer Nicholas Nanton, Chief Risk Officer Crystal Rodriguez-Greaves, Assistant Vice President, Advisory Services, Linda Mano and Digital Strategy Manager Akil Edwards.

“The interns were a source of inspiration for us, and this competition allowed us to see the UTC from the minds of our young leaders,” said Edwards, at the interns’ virtual graduation ceremony, adding that the next phase is implementation of the winning idea.

He said UTC encourages innovation across the organisation, with many ideas being implemented with great success but tapping into the interns’ energy and passion was something special.

Edwards inspired the interns towards individual success.

“I hope that your time spent with us was a journey of personal discovery and personal growth,” he encouraged them.

The genesis for the competition began when an intern requested a meeting with the Executive Director, to discuss innovative measures that could be utilized by the Corporation as part of its strategic direction. He listened, and suggested that if other interns were like-minded, then he wanted to know what their ideas were. From there, it mushroomed into a competition that gave life to “Internovate”.

At the graduation ceremony, the cohort of interns from both Trinidad, and Tobago, expressed how much they learnt during their internship, showcasing their talents through poetry, skits and TikTok videos.

“This is a great opportunity to work with a leading company, and I am delighted that I can work with a team to bring my idea to life,” Sydney said, adding, “I am really excited and looking forward to its potential impact.” — (UTC)