Parkinson Memorial School students benefit from GEL Summer Internships

Twenty-one Parkinson Memorial Secondary School students are now engaged in a Summer Internship Programme that has seen them stationed at nine businesses within the Goddard Enterprises Limited (GEL) group of companies.

Anthony Ali (right) talking with one of the interns and a parent.

Anthony Ali (right) talking with one of the interns and a parent.

The school’s Guidance Counsellor, Mrs Julia Edey expressed gratitude to the company noting that it was the programme’s second year and she urged the students to make full use of the opportunity which would be very beneficial to them. She said her comments were not only backed by the reputation of the Group but was based on the feedback from last year’s batch of 15 students and their difference in attitude on returning to school.

“They returned more motivated about their future; more focused on their academic work and more enthusiastic,” she added.

To illustrate the interest taken in the interns, Mrs Edey said that the company had worked out a special work-school programme for a student who returned to school to do a few subjects and therefore had a lot of free periods. This helped the student to gather enough work experience to enhance his chances of gaining entry to the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology.

Mentor Maurice Arthur, right, speaking with interns, Shakeel Gilkes, left, and Jamie Lawson, second from right. Jamie's mother, Jennifer Lawson is second from left while Shakeel's mother, Janice Holder is partially hidden.

Mentor Maurice Arthur, right, speaking with interns, Shakeel Gilkes, left, and Jamie Lawson, second from right. Jamie’s mother, Jennifer Lawson is second from left while Shakeel’s mother, Janice Holder is partially hidden.

Mrs. Edey was addressing an Orientation and Meet & Greet Session held at the school that was attended by the interns, their parents, School Principal Ian Holder, teachers, a team of GEL officials headed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Anthony Ali and including representatives from each of the businesses where the students are based.

She said that GEL had hosted female and male students during International Women’s Day 2018 and from that interaction sprung a relationship which not only included last year’s internship programme of a batch of 15 students, but a much wider involvement of the company with the school.

Principal, Mr Ian Holder thanked GEL for its involvement, saying it was one of his happiest moments as a Principal to welcome the relationship with GEL. He said that the students in the programme were eager to be involved especially after hearing the reports from the students in the first batch.

He also noted that in addition to the internship programme, GEL employees were involved in other areas and had painted part of the school and he said that what was notable was that the Group’s CEO was among those workers.

Attendees were also told that the relationship between the company and the school would have other branches beside internship. Group People Manager, Ms. Glenda Gilkes who spoke on employer expectations and the role of the mentor also touched on that relationship. She said members of staff had bought into the notion of assisting the school and had been donating part of their salary to the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School Fund. She also said they will be working with a local credit union to launch a student credit union which would be run by the students who will be trained and mentored to fulfil the required roles.

Overall each speaker encouraged the students to make the most of the opportunity which was not available to others years ago and CEO Anthony Ali used two personal stories to highlight how mentors can positively affect children’s lives.

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