Private Damien Barrow of the Barbados Defence Force (left in military attire) and several IGT ASA beneficiaries tune in to presenters on a screen ahead during an all-male virtual empowerment session hosted by IGT. Barrow had earlier addressed young male participants joining the session from Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago.
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua--Young men at Island Academy were called upon by male senior executives of International Game Technology (IGT) to become positive role models for their peers during a recent all-male virtual empowerment session hosted by IGT for beneficiaries of its After School Advantage (ASA) Programme, according to an IGT press release.
Also joining the young men from Island Academy in Antigua, were IGT executives and other young male beneficiaries of the IGT ASA Programme from Barbados, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago.
Dexter Thomas, Deputy Country Manager for IGT in Trinidad and Tobago, noted, “We have streamlined our IGT ASA initiatives to ensure that especially at this time, the young men in our IGT ASA centres across the region are celebrated and supported in ways that we believe will aid them at very crucial points in their development.”
Thomas further explained, “This year’s activities were carefully planned to ensure that there was a safe space for our young men to relax, express themselves and seek guidance for various issues that they might be dealing with and to also voice those concerns.” He added, “Our young males need responsible, grown male figures in their lives who they can emulate. It is our hope that this series of Men’s Day events will inspire our young men in the Caribbean to be the source of positive change for the generation of men to come.”
Participants from each country were engaged in a range of celebratory activities that included: painting, sports, board games and Big Brother 101 rap sessions, according to the release.
Call to harness the power of technology
The young men were called together for a virtual technology session under the theme, “Innovators ... Harnessing the Power of Technology for Good”.
Private Barrow D. (Damien Barrow), a regular volunteer and previous IGT ASA beneficiary from The Learning Centre in Barbados, shared his first-hand experience of the positive impact that the Centre’s past initiatives had on him, the release states.
“I found interest in the information technology (IT)-related activities that were hosted at The Learning Centre through the IGT ASA Programme,” he said. “I wanted to know more about the field and so I went on to pursue engineering courses. I currently use those skills today in the army as an electrician in the Barbados Defence Force.”
Private Barrow encouraged the youngsters to give back after achieving their goals. “The lesson that I would like to impart to you from my own experience is that knowing what you want to do is essential to your success and when you have figured it out, give it your best and remember to help others that will be following in your footsteps.”
No strangers to IGT ASA empowerment sessions, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education professionals, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Digital Jamaica Limited Kadia Francis and Dream Builders Academy’s Tanique Easy shared insightful gems with the young men on digital literacy and preparing for their careers, according to IGT.
Francis encouraged the participants to use the Internet to surf and earn responsibly. She emphasised the importance of seizing economic opportunities online and in the same breath, cautioned the young men about real-world consequences of nefarious online activities.
“The Internet provides a means by which you can generate multiple streams of income. To seize those opportunities, you need to seek knowledge about the technological skills gap in society and attempt to acquire those skills. Once acquired, you need to practise being visible, disciplined promoters of your skills and use the digital space to create an online brand for yourselves – this is where social media comes into play.”
She added, “As much as the Internet giveth, it also taketh away. Be mindful of plagiarism, creative theft, job scams and fake news. Ensure that you ascribe credit to authentic sources for data that you use, watermark your creative work to safeguard against theft, use authoritative sources to avoid fake news and consult reputable job boards to search for employment opportunities.”
Meanwhile, Easy discussed important processes of cultivating a career-ready mindset, gaining internships, volunteering and building personal professional brands.
“Preparation is key to success and to be prepared you must first be informed. In this era, there are some important career attributes that you need to be equipped with if you are to be seen as career-ready. Some of these include IT literacy, creativity, flexibility, leadership, productivity, the art of effective communication, critical thinking and collaboration.”
Easy encouraged the young men to dispel the commonly misinterpreted notion that curiosity kills the cat. “Curiosity does not kill the cat; it enlightens the cat. Cultivating a career-ready mindset is cantered on what you know. You have to know what drives you and nurture this authentic aspect of your being. You also need to know your academic, creative and professional strengths as well as where to seek development opportunities and you must know your audience so you can cater to them well.”
The Men’s Day presentation ended with a question-and-answer segment where the young men sought further career and tech guidance from the IGT executives and IGT partners, the release concludes.