BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — A cohort of 10 young men and women from around the Caribbean are being hailed by the CARICOM Energy Secretariat as “The Future of Energy” one year into their internship experience under the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency’s (CCREEE) Regional Energy Apprenticeship Programme (REAP).
REAP “provides young professionals with the opportunity to gain meaningful hands-on experience at a regional institution deploying sustainable energy technologies and applications across CARICOM”, according to the Secretariat.
It also noted that the current cohort is acquiring experience in providing “technical expertise in the spheres of energy systems development, energy diplomacy, knowledge management and communications, programme management, policy and regulatory affairs, among other areas” at several regional institutions.
One former REAP associate, Jordon Hayles, spoke to how invaluable such a programme is for individuals newly joining the workforce, especially as many Caribbean nations are facing challenging economic circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was a COVID graduate. I had little engineering experience and I was living in a world where people around me were losing their livelihoods,” Hayles said.
“It’s already hard starting in [an] industry when you lack experience but as a newbie in this time, it’s even harder considering companies were releasing people from staff who already had the many years of experience they ask for.
“I desperately tried reaching out to energy companies in my country but after two months of trying without success, I started questioning my value.”
Hayles described how becoming one of the selected participants, despite the odds and despite his own self-doubt, helped him realize his potential.
Another former REAP associate, Nalini Dookie, said her experience surpassed her expectations as well as it provided an opportunity to grow professionally and personally.
“The projects complemented my area of study. My project management skills, research and analytical skills were sharpened and refined. I formed new relationships with colleagues of diverse backgrounds. I learned a lot from team members who worked cohesively together,” she summarized.
Dookie expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work with regional experts and stakeholders in analyzing sustainable energy, noting that it helped her become immersed in the sector.
She said, “CCREEE is an organization that works to bring about good and constant change for the Caribbean, and I am thrilled to have been chosen to be a part of that team of constant changemakers.”
Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency — https://www.ccreee.org