Statement to the House of Assembly

Department of E-Commerce – Technology Leadership Forum Internship Programme 2011

By The Hon. Patrice Minors, JP, MP
Minister of Business Development and Tourism

 

Mr. Speaker,
I rise before this House to inform the Honourable Members about a continuing initiative that aids in the development of youth into digital citizens of the future. Through the Technology Leadership Forum (TLF), a leadership initiative designed by the Department of E-Commerce, in partnership with private sector technology industry companies, the next generations of ICT professionals are being prepared.

Mr. Speaker,
The TLF was founded because of an identified need for qualified local ICT talent in Bermuda. This group, made up of key influencers and leaders in the technology industry in Bermuda, came together with the objectives to encourage dialogue, address issues, propose action steps, and to be a networking group amongst peers. The Technology Leadership Forum is designed to be the voice of the ICT industry representing both large local and international businesses, in partnership with the Department of E-Commerce and other government partners, to assess and strategize about addressing the shortage of qualified individuals in the IT sector. Their goal is to contribute to advancing the agenda of creating a sustainable, qualified and professional ICT leadership pool of resources in Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker,
The TLF embodies the ideals of good corporate citizenship in Bermuda. Participation in the forum shows an organization’s commitment in attracting and recruiting Bermudian ICT students, mentoring and networking with these talented individuals and providing the educational training that will make them invaluable in the ICT community.

Mr. Speaker,
The TLF coordinates the TLF Internship Programme, an initiative to effectively cultivate student interest in technology to address the talent shortfall frustrating the Island’s businesses through a unified approach and philosophy to ICT career development. The intention is to develop world-class talent into world-class IT leadership. In order to do this, we must expose them to educational and experience requirements to enhance their potential for employment in the future.

Mr. Speaker,
As the demand for talented IT resources continues to be a keen need in Bermuda’s public and private sectors, the TLF in 2009 developed an idea into an educational internship program that gives IT students a well rounded and in-depth understanding of the ICT industry in Bermuda over 12 weeks during the summer. The 2009 programme had 10 participants, which grew to 12 students in 2010. The students acquire experience in the ICT industry through classroom learning, team projects, examinations and fieldwork as members of staff at the participating companies. At the end of the internship program, students receive a certificate of excellence, which allows industry partners to know the level of expertise the student brings to the table, after their selection and participation in the TLF program.

Mr. Speaker,
Upon selection of the TLF Interns, they are then assigned to internship positions. The participating companies endeavour to provide a broad ranging experience for the interns but in some cases, the companies require specific skills from a potential intern. Additional, an effort is made to match soon to be graduating interns with companies who are looking to hire entry level IT professionals. Organisations that participated in the 2010 programme included: BELCO, RenaissanceRe, Bermuda Hospitals Board, the Department of E-Government, the Department of E-Commerce, North Rock Communications, the Bermuda College, Capital G Limited, Colonial Insurance, Gateway Systems Limited, QuoVadis, Logic Communications, Independent Consulting Solutions, First Atlantic Commerce, the Department of Labour and Training, Nova Limited, and Ignition.

Mr. Speaker,
The internship component of the TLF internship programme is perhaps initially the most exciting component of the programme when students put in their applications because they crave exposure to what IT is within an organization. Once accepted and placed with a company, they often find that they are exposed to numerous areas of IT and are able to interact with and learn new skills from many IT professionals. This taste of the real world is very important and many of the 2010 interns believed that they were able to see more of what IT is within a company than the average student in their respective IT programmes at school. In combination with the three weeks of workshop instruction, there was often a desire for more – whether it be hands on work within their respective internship placements, interactions with IT professionals or exposure to diverse IT environments within companies – to allow them to ultimately prepare them for their future careers. The consistent feedback received from the 2009 and 2010 interns was that the TLF offers the only internship that exposes students interested in IT careers to the various aspects of the discipline and giving them both practical and theoretical experience.

Mr. Speaker,
The 2010 interns realized that the internship programme provided them with value experience for their respective futures and is a vital stepping stone to becoming an IT professional. When asked about the important lessons learned during the summer, consistent themes included problem solving, exposure to the many facets of IT in an organization, teamwork, exposure to real life pressures and preparation for life after school. In the end, many of the interns believed that in combination with the student projects, the internship placements made them work as a part of a team and taught them that they had to develop their professionalism. Additionally, they were exposed to environments that made them think about what they need to do to be successful in a business environment.

Mr. Speaker,
The TLF is about to begin their recruiting process for the 2011 Internship Programme. On Monday, December 20th from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, IT students will be given the chance to meet leaders and key influencers in the IT industry and learn about the 2011 TLF Internship Programme. The TLF IT Student Networking Event is also an opportunity for IT Professionals to provide these students with advice on what they should be pursuing in school, industry trends and information about their respective organizations. IT Scholarship Programmes are also invited to provide information on their scholarship requirements to students actively pursuing degrees and certifications in this area. We hope to see many applications resulting from this event, word-of-mouth and recommendations from past TLF Interns. I encourage everyone to visit www.tlf.bm for more information.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Posted in TLF

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