Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis – December 5, 2022 -- Male students from the Maude Cross Preparatory school were among several Caribbean youth who benefited from an all-male virtual empowerment session in which male Senior Executives of International Game Technology (IGT) and partners shared insights on personal and professional development.
The all-male virtual empowerment session which was hosted by IGT for its After School Advantage (ASA) Programme beneficiaries was well attended by youngsters from IGT ASA Centres in Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago.
Participants from each country were also engaged in a range of activities at their respective IGT ASA Centres prior to the virtual session. The activities included: joinery, barbering, home economics, painting, sports, board games and Big Brother 101 rap sessions.
Dexter Thomas, Deputy Country Manager for IGT in Trinidad and Tobago noted, “We have streamlined our IGT ASA initiatives to ensure that especially at this time, the young men in our IGT ASA Centres across the region are celebrated and supported in ways that we believe will aid them at very crucial points in their development.”
Thomas further explained, “This year’s activities were carefully planned to ensure that there was a safe space for our young men to relax, express themselves and seek guidance for various issues that they might be dealing with and to also voice those concerns.” He added, “Our young males need responsible grown male figures in their lives who they can emulate. It is our hope that this series of Men’s Day events will inspire our young men in the Caribbean to be the source of positive change for the generation of men to come.”
Call to Harness the Power of Technology
The young men were called together for a virtual technology session under the theme, “Innovators...Harnessing the Power of Technology for Good”.
Private Barrow D. (Damien Barrow), a regular volunteer and previous IGT ASA beneficiary from The Learning Centre in Barbados, shared his first-hand experience of the positive impact that the Centre’s past initiatives had on him.
“I found interest in the information technology (IT)-related activities that were hosted at The Learning Centre through the IGT ASA Programme,” he said. “I wanted to know more about the field and so I went on to pursue Engineering courses. I currently use those skills today in the army as an Electrician in the Barbados Defence Force.”
Private Barrow encouraged the youngsters to give back after achieving their goals. “The lesson that I would like to impart to you from my own experience is that knowing what you want to do is essential to your success and when you have figured it out, give it your best and remember to help others that will be following in your footsteps.”
No strangers to IGT ASA empowerment sessions, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and Education professionals Kadia Francis and Tanique Easy shared insightful gems with the young males on digital literacy and preparing for their careers.
Francis, Founder and CEO of Digital Jamaica Limited, encouraged the participants to use the internet to surf and earn responsibly. She emphasised the importance of seizing economic opportunities online and in the same breath, cautioned the young men about real-world consequences of nefarious online activities.
“The internet provides a means by which you can generate multiple streams of income. To seize those opportunities, you need to seek knowledge about the technological skills gap in society and attempt to acquire those skills. Once acquired, you need to practice being visible, disciplined promoters of your skills and use the digital space to create an online brand for yourselves – this is where social media comes into play.”
She added, “As much as the internet giveth, it also taketh away. Be mindful of plagiarism, creative theft, job scams and fake news. Ensure that you ascribe credit to authentic sources for data that you use, watermark your creative work to safeguard against theft, use authoritative sources to avoid fake news and consult reputable job boards to search for employment opportunities.”
In the meantime, Dream Builders Academy's Tanique Easy discussed important processes of cultivating a career-ready mindset, gaining internships, volunteering and building personal professional brands.
“Preparation is key to success and to be prepared you must first be informed. In this era, there are some important career attributes that you need to be equipped with if you are to be seen as career ready. Some of these include IT literacy, creativity, flexibility, leadership, productivity, the art of effective communication, critical thinking and collaboration.”
Easy encouraged the young men to dispel the commonly misinterpreted notion that curiosity kills the cat. “Curiosity does not kill the cat; it enlightens the cat. Cultivating a career-ready mindset is cantered on what you know. You have to know what drives you and nurture this authentic aspect of your being. You also need to know your academic, creative and professional strengths as well as where to seek development opportunities and you must know your audience so you can cater to them well.”
The Men’s Day presentation ended with a question-and-answer segment where the young men sought further career and tech guidance from the IGT Executives and IGT partners.
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