FORTY top performing SEA students participated in the Unit Trust Corporation’s Strategy for Success workshop and which helped prepare them to make the transition from primary to the rigours of secondary and tertiary life.
The workshop, administered by the Youth Education Department of Families-In-Action, forms part of the UTC’s SEA Scholarship Programme. Held in mid-August, it is one of the UTC Foundation’s flagship education initiatives.
The goal is to provide financial assistance to children who are gifted academically and who can benefit most from the financial support, said a media release. During the five-day workshop, students were exposed to practical life skills such as developing effective communication, building health and wellness, budgeting and financial literacy.
“This is an investment in their future and in our country’s future,” said Ken Ramdhan, the workshop’s facilitator.
His statement was strongly echoed by UTC’s executive director, Nigel Edwards when he addressed the students at the SEA scholar appreciation day held at Five Islands, Chaguaramas. Edwards, who drew parallels with his own experiences as a young student, encouraged the SEA group to not be intimidated by any of the experiences they would face in the coming years.
He stressed the importance of having a moral compass.
“Words like honesty, integrity, compassion, courage and humility, should hold a certain currency or value for you and let it drive your decisions,” he said. “The values that you learn will determine who you turn out to be. What you turn out to be – your profession, for example – is secondary.”
Edwards referenced past graduates of the SEA programme, adding that UTC felt a great sense of pride and privilege to have positively impacted the lives of young people. Secondary school can be a challenge, Edwards said, noting that while UTC will support the students’ financial needs, he stressed to the parents that they needed to take care of their children’s emotional well-being and development.
Ramdhan said, “Each year we’re impressed by the quality of the students in our programme, but we do need to prepare them for this next stage of their lives.”
While the children are strong academically, the intent is to help turn these young scholars into strong, confident adults and citizens.
“Our hope, is that we give you the best chance of success,” Edwards said.
Since 1996, the programme has helped some 300 students and provided support throughout their academic career from secondary to tertiary.