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CIBC FirstCaribbean Debuts Innovative “Project ICE” Internship Program
By Serena Williams
Aug 12, 2019 - 2:00:15 PM

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Bahamas Debut - CIBC FirstCaribbean’s innovative “Project ICE” internship program debuted in The Bahamas this year after a successful pilot run at their Head Office in Barbados last summer. Pictured are the bank’s 12 Bahamas interns proudly showing off their certificates of completion that were awarded at the end of the four-week program. Back row, L to R: Julano Thurston, Shelethia Johnson, Eleanor Simmons, Keano Ramsey, Mercelas Wilkins. Front row, L to R: Kennedy Lightbourne, Jazmin Ageeb, Charlise Gaitor, Paige Cartwright, Kenia Carter, Alia Wilson, Danaee Farquharson.

Nassau, Bahamas – CIBC FirstCaribbean placed a special group of young Bahamians on “ice” this summer.

The bank recently launched its “Project ICE” internship program here in The Bahamas, the first country out of its 16 territories to debut the programme after the pilot was launched at its regional headquarters in Barbados last year.

“Project ICE” – Innovate, Create, Elevate – is a “strategic learning internship program” that hosts 12 college-level students to a four-week problem-solving workshop. The 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.

Team Simplification – First place winners from Team Simplification with their CIBC FirstCaribbean Team Leaders. L to R: Jeremy Gibbs, Manager, Operations System, CIBC FirstCaribbean; Shelethia Johnson; Kennedy Lightbourne; Jazmin Ageeb; Glenda Whylly, Senior Manager, Managing Director’s Office, CIBC FirstCaribbean; and Keano Ramsey.

CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Senior Manager of Talent Development Tyneesha Watson explained what makes “Project ICE” so distinctive.

“‘Project ICE’ is 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.

She said the key objective was to ensure that interns were not “stuck doing filing and whatnot – very routine, mundane tasks. So project-based internships like ‘Project ICE,’ where interns are given a specific problem to address, ensure they get a more meaningful work experience,” she explained.

First Day on the Job – CIBC FirstCaribbean “Project ICE” interns received welcoming remarks from the bank’s Managing Director (Bahamas & TCI) Marie Rodland-Allen (standing front, blue suit) on their first day before orientation commenced.

She added the “programme 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” launched in The Bahamas on July 1 and ended on July 26, when 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 Shelethia Johnson, Kennedy Lightbourne, Keano Ramsey, and Jazmin Ageeb.

Ms. Ageeb said, “Being able to carry out a task from inception to completion was a rewarding experience. 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 added the process “required organization, original thinking, a level of discernment and creativity, and especially, communication and planning skills. As a recent graduate of Saint Mary’s University with a BA in International Development Studies and Honours in Political Science, I plan to become involved in policymaking and implementation in my future career and these skills will be useful to my 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 - 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.

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