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Nine students from the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies, (UWI) Mona, will gain valuable work experience through a partnership between the university and the Government of Jamaica.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed today (June 3) at Jamaica House between the UWI and the Cabinet Office for the Public Sector Management Internship Programme.
The students participating in the pilot began their internships on June 1 and will work for six weeks within four Government Ministries. The participating Ministries, this year are Health; Transport and Works; Justice; and Youth, Culture and Sports. The programme is expected to provide a balance between the theory and practice of public sector management.
Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Douglas Saunders, said that the programme will be beneficial in “enhancing the job readiness skills of potential public service entrants.” He added that the students, who will be provided with the opportunity for exposure to the inner workings of the public service, will be in a position to “hit the ground running”, once they enter the working world.
Ambassador Saunders further congratulated the interns selected for the first installment of the project and thanked the participating Ministries for accommodating the programme.
Two of the interns, who were present at the signing ceremony, also expressed gratitude for the opportunity for on-the-job training. Second-year student, Mellissa Newman, said it is “a pleasure” to be participating in the programme and that she believed it will be successful.
“We learn about the theory in school, but now it’s the practical aspect. We get to do hands-on things, to do research, those kinds of things,” stated her colleague, Shana-Kaye Taylor, in pointing to the benefits of the internship.
Principal of the UWI, Mona, Professor Gordon Shirley, stated that the programme satisfied the need of the university to have its students experience practical application of their lessons.
“We, at the University of the West Indies, are very keen to develop a variety of internship programmes, which will facilitate in a structured way, students obtaining insights on effective strategies for managing what people often refer to as ‘the real world’,” he shared.
He added that he hoped the number of interns accepted into the programme will increase in the future, noting that the small number of students involved in the pilot will allow for proper monitoring and evaluation, which will guide future expansion plans.