CIBC FirstCaribbean placed a special group of young Bahamians on “ice” this summer with the launch of its “Project ICE” (Innovate, Create, Elevate) internship program, a strategic learning internship that hosts 12 college-level students to a four-week problem-solving workshop.
Students were divided into three teams, each one focused on solving an internal issue related to one of the bank’s four strategic pillars – client relationships, simplification, modern digital banking and people.
The Bahamas was the first country out of its 16 territories to debut the program after the pilot was launched at its regional headquarters in Barbados last year. The key objective was to ensure that interns were not stuck doing filing and routine, mundane tasks. In project-based internships like “Project Ice”, interns are given a specific problem to address and ensure they get a meaningful work experience.
Tyneesha Watson, CIBC FirstCaribbean senior manager of talent development, said “Project ICE” was mutually beneficial to the interns and bank alike and is a program CIBC FirstCaribbean wants to expand further into other territories.
“We would also like to increase the number of interns we take each year. My hope is that our Bahamas program can take the lead and become a flagship program that’ll be adopted by other organizations in the future,” she said.
“The program was piloted last year at our head office in Barbados and was extremely successful, so we decided when we launched it officially this year we wanted to expand it to our other Caribbean territories.”
“Project ICE” ran July 1-26 in The Bahamas. The teams of interns presented their solutions to the problems they’d been given at the beginning of the four-week period. A panel of judges comprising team leaders from within the bank allotted first, second and third placement based on creativity, feasibility, ease of implementation, return on investment and other factors.
The winners, Team Simplification, comprised of Shelethia Johnson, Kennedy Lightbourne, Keano Ramsey and Jazmin Ageeb.
“Being able to carry out a task from inception to completion was a rewarding experience,” said Ageeb. “My team was able to materialize a solution we’d imagined in our minds just a few weeks ago into a final physical product. Weeks of planning, having meetings and discussions, conducting research, trying new ideas and throwing away old ones produced results we’re proud of.”
She said the process required organization, original thinking, a level of discernment and creativity, as well as communication and planning skills.
A recent graduate of Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in international development studies and honors in political science, Ageeb said she plans to become involved in policymaking and implementation in her future career and the skills learnt would be useful to her field.
The judges were amazed and very impressed with the quantity and quality of the work done in the limited time assigned, and said the results showed that the interns spent time understanding the banking environment and processes.
Second place went to Team Modern Banking, comprised of Julano Thurston, Alia Wilson, Kenia Carter and Danaee Farquharson; and third place was awarded to Team Client Relationships – Eleanor Simmons, Charlise Gaitor, Paige Cartwright and Mercelas Wilkins.