Secondary school students with an interest in technology will soon have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the industry courtesy the NextGen Coding Education Camp, which takes place in north and south Trinidad from August 3-12, 2019.
An initiative of BP Trinidad and Tobago (BPTT), in partnership with Tech Beach, NextGen aims to narrow the skills gap that currently exists within the local technology landscape. This will be the first of a series of camps.
The NextGen Tech Education programme is a part of BPTT’s wider suite of education initiatives. The company’s investments in education range from early childhood all the way to the vocational and tertiary level, as it seeks to create a pool of globally competitive talent in Trinidad and Tobago.
Tech Beach is a regional Tech Convening Platform with international reach. Its co-founders, Kyle Maloney, a Trinidadian, and Kirk-Anthony Hamilton of Jamaica, share a steadfast mission to be catalysts for innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise within the Caribbean technology landscape. Through their annual conference, Tech Beach Retreat, they serve as connectors, granting Caribbean startups unencumbered access to global leaders in tech, including partnerships with Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. Now, through this partnership with BPTT, they are taking their mission beyond the conference room and into the classroom to spark the curiosity of what could potentially be the next generation of tech engineers, programmers and visionaries.
Ronda Francis, Manager, Corporate Responsibility at BPTT said, “The NextGen Tech camps represent a bold new step into the tech education space in Trinidad. As an energy company, BP is currently involved in a modernisation and transformation process that is changing the way we work, equipping our staff with new skills and increasing our competitiveness in this new technological age. Our corporate responsibility programmes must do the same and the NextGen Tech camps will help us to accomplish this for the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.”
A multi-layered plan comprising several stages, this first phase of NextGen Tech involves two week-long sessions. The first will take place in Port of Spain from Aug 3-7 and the second will be held in BPTT’s host community of Mayaro from Aug 8-12. A total of 60 students between the ages of 13 - 18 are set to participate. Participants will be selected through an open application process that begins on Tuesday, July 23 and ends on Wednesday, July 31. Application forms can be completed and submitted online at www.NextGenCoding.net.
The camp will be facilitated by a range of homegrown tech professionals who have been through Trinidad & Tobago’s education system and now work at some of the biggest tech companies in the world. Participants will receive direct input from top industry personnel including Dion Paul, Google Program Manager; Kwame Johnson, Google Product Manager; and Learie Hercules, VP of Product at Global Traffic Technologies - just to name a few.
Tech Beach co-founder Kyle Maloney said, “The camp seeks to foster innovative thinking from a young age. This camp is meant to expose the youth to career fields in tech that they may not be aware of, or have access to, through their schooling. We want to empower the youth with a vision of where their skills can take them by introducing them to successful nationals who are now doing amazing things in tech, regionally and internationally.”
With a curriculum designed to uncover untapped creativity, NextGen promises to acquaint students with a wide range of skills that exist within the tech space. By the end of the intensive course, participants would have gained first-hand experience in building a website and starting their own web-based business. The exercise aims to tap into and develop competencies in the areas of project management, design and data. As they progress through the programme, the expectation is that students will cultivate and hone these proficiencies with the support and guidance of the programme facilitators, who will serve as mentors well into the future.
“Through the NextGen camp, we hope to provide a vision of what is possible,” Maloney said. ” "This is the first of many camps that we hope will further catalyse their curiosity and provide the framework to help them start thinking about careers in Tech."