Six graduates from the country’s leading universities are now seeking to maximise the opportunities for professional development while contributing to the Jamaican society under the National Water Commission’s Engineering Internship Programme.
The programme is facilitated through a partnership between the Commission and local universities, allowing graduates and students to receive on-the-job training in engineering.
As part of its mandate, the NWC seeks to respond to the growing demand for potable water and sewerage services. These services have become more critical in recent times given the growth of the industrial sector and the addition of new residential communities.
Based on the internship, the six interns (four females and two males) are now undergoing training as part of the year one component of the programme. Depending on their performance during the training, they could remain with the company for another year.
For the interns, the programme not only provides an opportunity to improve their skillset, but it is also an opportunity to contribute to national development.
An example of this sentiment was expressed by Jhanelle Crawford, who has a civil engineering degree from the University of the West Indies (UWI). She said that after completing the internship, she intends to use the experience and skillset for the betterment of Jamaica “because it does not make sense for us as young people to gain all this knowledge and skill and not to give back to the country.”
Daneel Wint, another intern who is practising civil engineering, sees the internship programme as a great opportunity. Wint said that in addition to being the largest water company, the NWC “has many different engineering aspects, and I don’t see any other company that is as diverse in engineering.”
It is a view that is shared by Justina Gayle, who sees the internship with the Commission as an opportunity to apply technical knowledge and learn from mentors.
There is now a growing acknowledgement that engineers play a crucial role in economic development, as well as the modernisation of various industrial practices. As a means of recruiting more young people to join the profession, Yoshimah Bartley, who pursued civil engineering at the University of Technology (UTech), wants companies to go into high schools and universities, target students and give them opportunities to learn and earn.
Wayne Haye, who pursued industrial engineering studies at the UTech, agrees. He is also advocating for more research to be done to improve the quality of engineering in Jamaica. He believes an area of exceptional opportunity is electrical and computer engineering.
Another intern, Jashaun Bourne, wants national attention to be placed on this area. He believes that given the rapid growth of technology and automation, Jamaica should develop ways and means to incentivise young people to go into engineering.
Through the internship programme, engineering graduates inject into the Commission diversity and different perspectives while contributing new, innovative and fresh ideas to the company’s overall operations.