Charlestown, Nevis, February 21, 2018 (DBSKN) — The Gingerland Secondary School in Nevis works hard to ensure that students going through the institution are adequately prepared to be well-rounded individuals who would be fully prepared to face the world after they leave school.
Apart from the on-campus activities (academic and non-academic), the students are introduced to workplace experience and the school’s recent partnership with the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) is being hailed as being a fruitful one.
“Every year we do career development with the children as part of counselling and over the years we would have had persons coming in and talk to them about the workplace,” said Ms Shirley Wilkes, Guidance Counsellor at the Gingerland Secondary School. She noted that the day is observed as Career Day at the school.
“Last year the students decided they wanted a day at the workplace and so they went out, and this year we continued with the same. The idea was for them to get first-hand experience what life is like in the workplace, while they get first-hand experience they could be able to understand what is happening in the workplace.
Two fifth form students, Ms Sharicia Merchant and Master Jelani Manners, had a memorable day on Tuesday February 13 as they spent the 8:00 to 4:00 pm hours at the Nevis Branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis where they were exposed to the finer details of a financial institution’s operations from behind the counter – they were there as part of the staff.
While the school missed an opportunity to contact the Development Bank last year, the bank came on board this year after the Assistant Principal, Mr Kayno David, contacted its Nevis branch manager Ms Hyacinth Pemberton. When asked if the bank could take at least a student for a one-day job attachment for the Career Day, the bank accepted to take two students.
“We are happy that Development Bank is partnering with us this year, and we are hoping it will continue on,” said Guidance Counsellor Ms Wilkes. “This is important because at the end of the whole exercise, the students are supposed to report on what they learnt in the workplace.”
Before students are sent out to the workplace, the school asks them their preferences, and they state the areas they would wish to work when they leave school. While some would proceed on to the Sixth Form after writing their exams, others opt to go into the workplace, and that is where the experience they gained during the job attachment comes in handy.
“In the case of Master Jelani Manners, he wants to become a professional athlete but at the same time he is still interested in banking, so that is why he was sent to the Development Bank,” noted Ms Wilkes. “Miss Sharicia Merchant wants to become an actor and she wasn’t so sure where she wanted to go. However, when she looked down the list she said, ‘Okay, I think I will be comfortable at the bank’ and so that is how she ended up at the bank.”
Ms Hazeldine Lewis, Credit Risk Officer, hosted them at the Nevis Branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN). She taught them the aspects of customer service skills, including telephone ethics, meeting and greeting customers and directing them to various offices, filing, they did some typing, and also leant a bit about the teller function.
The students were introduced to all members of the staff, and they spent some fifteen minutes with each of them as the bank officials updated them on their (staff) roles in the bank.
“They were responding very well and were willing to learn and try to understand what we are doing,” observed Ms Lewis. “You do not get it in one day but I think they went away with a good wealth of knowledge. I did at times allow them to deal with clients directly, after I would have given them instructions on what to do and I gave them the opportunity to meet the clients.”
Miss Sharicia Merchant said that she learnt the office phone etiquette while there and how to deal with clients who come to the bank and on how to direct them.
“I learnt a lot and I was happy with everything,” said Miss Merchant. “I was treated well and I would love to go back there. Everything went well and I was happy. I learnt about student loans, and when and if I consider going for further education I will certainly go there.”
An elated Master Jelani Manners stated: “I went to the Development Bank to get a feeling how it is to be in a business and workplace. I learnt how to behave in the workplace and I learnt how to interact with persons. In school you really do not have to meet new people that often like you do at the workplace.”
In his conclusion Master Manners said: “I was quite happy with what I learnt, I would like to work for the bank if given the opportunity. I learnt that it deals with loans and it is the best place to go if you want a student loan.”