Black Immigrant Daily News
Couva Chamber president Mukesh Ramsingh and UTT president professor Prakash Persad sign a memorandum of understanding to grant UTT students scholarships and internships with member companies of the chamber. Photo by Yvonne Webb
PRESIDENT of the Couva Point Lisas Chamber Mukesh Ramsingh is advising nationals to take jobs for which they are overqualified.
“Whether you study for ten or 15 years, my personal opinion is, go out there and get a job. Get your experience. Being paid $20 an hour is much better than getting $0 an hour,” he said. “Go out there, get a job and work your way up. Nothing worthwhile in this world comes without sacrifice and hard work.”
Ramsingh made the comments as he signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of TT (UTT) to facilitate internships and scholarships for UTT students.
UTT president Prof Prakash Persad signed on behalf of the university at the Chamber’s Couva headquarters on Wednesday.
Noting the difficulty students facing in transitioning to the workplace on finishing their academic studies, Ramsingh said they want to break that mould.
From his observation, he said, there are a lot of employment opportunities in Trindad and Tobago, and especially in the Couva district.
The drawback, he said, is that most of the nationals who need jobs at the moment are overqualified for those that are available and filled by non-nationals.
Persad said the board and management hope to spread the programme to other chambers for the benefit of his students.
Couva Chamber secretary Amanda Ramsingh, second vice president of the chamber Patrick Smith, chamber president Mukesh Ramsingh, UTT president professor Prakash Persad, treasurer of the chamber Amit Dass and instructor Ronnie Bickramdass. Photo by Yvonne Webb
“UTT was set up as a catalyst for economic diversification of TT. For that to happen, clearly we must work with chambers and industries, which also forms part of the plan.
Initially, he said, the pilot project will target engineering students and later on include the mechanical, manufacturing and entrepreneurship departments.
“At UTT, we believe in combined research and working together.”
Initially, he said, only one student will benefit from the scholarship. Criteria for selection will be established by both UTT and the company which will accommodate the student.
“It’s free to the company, but it is a win-win situation, as the student will get real-life experience in solving real problems in a real business place or industry.”
On the other hand, he said, the industry would have an opportunity to assess the student to determine if he or she would make a good employee worthy of full-time employment.
Persad said the model they are using is one which was started in 2006 in collaboration with Cambridge University for manufacturing.
“They work heavily in that area in the UK, and we are following a similar example, and to date it has been very successful.”
Persad said through the industry project UTT students have to do for completion of their final degree, they have been working, successfully, with over 100 companies.
“We did a lot of work for the Port of Port of Spain, improving the efficiency, and will continue with that process. We want to expand it, actually.”
Ramsingh regretted the initiative can only assist one student at this time.
“But this is a building block. This is what we can afford to start with, and hopefully in the following years we can increase it.”
To ensure the expansion of the project, the chamber and board have arranged for part proceeds of all fund-raising activities to be funneled into an education fund and soon into sports, to help young people transition into their career paths.