This month, the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine (UWI) and the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (IFC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to solidify the strategic alliance between the two entities. The MoU was signed on July 5 at the campus principal’s office at the UWI.
According to the organizations, this agreement “secures the future of the financial sector by facilitating an important mandate of the Trinidad and Tobago IFC: to ensure the local labor supply meets the requirements of global finance and accounting (F&A) business process outsourcing (BPO) businesses being attracted to this country, specifically in professional soft skills.”
With a goal to help diversify the economy, Trinidad and Tobago IFC sees the signing of this MoU as a major part of its strategy to prepare the workforce and generate high-value employment. Richard P. Young, chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago IFC, views the collaboration as more than a partnership between the two entities. Instead, he identifies it as one that impacts the fabric of this society.
Initially, graduates from the school’s department of management studies will the beneficiaries of the new program, which will provide professional training for those entering the job market. Subsequently, the training will be available to students in other departments within the university (once approved by their respective faculty and officials).
“Employers have often lamented the fact that young professionals are technically competent, but they lack the people skills to effectively and successfully navigate in the workplace or to self-reflect and improve in order to retain their jobs,” said Aliyah Jaggassar, who spearheads the development of the local F&A BPO sector as the vice president of BPO and shared services development at the Trinidad and Tobago IFC.
Speaking at the signing, Brian Copeland, campus principal and pro-vice chancellor, restated his vision for the university’s “Triple-A’ strategy to create greater alignment between what is taught at the UWI and how it engages with business and commerce in the country.
Dr. Acolla Lewis-Cameron, head of the department of management studies at the UWI, under whose department the MoU is piloted, spoke of plans to engage CEOs from the corporate sector more meaningfully and have these captains of industry share their journeys with students. That activity will be captured in the department initiative “Conversations with CEOs.”
In addition to Copeland, Young, Jaggassar, and Lewis-Cameron, attendees at the signing included Sharan Singh, Debra Coryat-Patton, Shiraz Mohammed, and Dr. Marlene Attzs, who all represented the UWI. Rachael Mason, manager of business process outsourcing and shared services development, and Rudolph Hanamji, manager or marketing and communications, also attended the signing on behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago IFC.