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Stabroek News

College interns thrilled at summer job experience
published: Thursday | August 28, 2008

Tendai Franklyn-Brown, Staff reporter

Interns at Digicel (left to right), Dorane Sudeene, Benton McTaggart, Meashia-Gay Chin, Carey Patterson, Karmena McArthur, pose in the meeting room at the Digicel's head office in New Kingston. - Kyle Macpherson/ Freelance Photographer

With more university graduates leaving institutions with honours degrees, work experience is fast becoming the defining factor to set students seeking permanent employment apart from their peers.

Digicel aimed to bridge this gap when it officially rolled out a partnership between local and regional universities this summer.

The programme facilitated several work placements for students who attend the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of Technology (UTech), University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and Northern Caribbean University to ensure they are prepared for the world of work.

The Gleaner spoke to five persons who interned on the programme, which will end this week.


Karmena McArthur, a final-year undergraduate at UTech, is studying intranet development. McArthur, who was assigned to the group customer department, told The Gleaner she found the experience invaluable.

"What I learned in the last three months is basically what I'm going to learn in the next eight months at school, so this has given me a head start," she said.

Dorane Sudeene, currently studying human resource management at UCC, interned in the finance department. Although Sudeene was placed outside of her area of study, she stressed that the experience equipped her with transferable skills.

Computer technology student at UTech, Carey Patterson, has interned at Digicel for the last three summers. Patterson attributed his tenure to hard work, having acquired technical skills and knowledge that have enhanced his social-networking abilities.

"If you are not an outgoing person, you may gain self-esteem," he said. "You can widen your network and contacts, which will make it easier to operate when you leave school."


Benton McTaggart, a marketing and Spanish undergraduate at UWI, was placed in the marketing department and was set to task from day one. McTaggart spoke highly of the experience, which was far from the nightmare of serving tea and coffee.

"I worked with PR, so I got to plan a lot of events, press conferences, press releases, organise interviews, so I basically do everything the PR manager does and work closely with her," he said.

Corporate Jamaica has often voiced concerns regarding the applicability of some university courses, with students sharing similar concerns regarding employment opportunities after university.

Measha-Gay Chin, final-year human resource student at UTech, implored the private sector to create internship programmes to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

"It's a quality experience. More companies should partner with universities and train students," Chin declared. "It's fun because you get some free stuff as well."

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