The Financial Services Implementation Unit (FSIU) is partnering with the education community to identify ways for young people to be better prepared to capitalise on opportunities in the financial services industry.
The FSIU team met recently with representatives from the Ministry and Department of Education and Culture, the Elmore Stoutt High School and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College to discuss ways to accommodate greater financial services content into the education process. Similar meetings are being planned with private schools in the Territory.
The discussion is part of efforts by the FSIU to advance the BVI Forward initiative which seeks to build capability among BVIslanders, particularly those preparing for future careers.
FSIU Director, Mr. Kedrick Malone stressed the importance of enhancing the educational experience of students to better prepare them to take up roles in the industry.
Mr. Malone said, “As we reinvigorate and strengthen the financial services industry through the BVI Forward campaign, it is important that we also take definitive action to better enable BVIslanders to capitalise on opportunities in the industry, both as employees and entrepreneurs. A key starting point for any such effort is within the school system which is why we sought discussion with the relevant officials.”.
In fostering a partnership between FSIU and the education sector, the attendees identified potential areas of focus including industry assistance in delivering the financial services curriculum in the high school and providing adequate guidance counseling to ensure that students are aware of the variety of opportunities in the sector.
There was also discussion on the alignment of the scholarship programme to better meet the needs of the industry, reformatting the career fair to facilitate a broader offering for students and greater exposure to industry professionals on the job as well as hosting focus groups to prompt discussion on various aspects of the industry.
Education officials have welcomed the opportunity to partner with the FSIU and financial services industry professionals to bring practical and industry relevant experience to improve the delivery of the subject to students and increase awareness of opportunities in the industry.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture, Dr. Marcia Potter said, “The ministry welcomes this opportunity to give our students greater exposure to the industry and its practitioners as it fosters stronger connections to the industry, enabling them to make more informed career choices.”
Initiative Sponsor for Building BVIslander Capability, Mrs. Lorna smith, OBE commended education officials for the positive response to attempts to foster the integration of financial services into the education system.
Mrs. Smith said, “The education sector is critical to the success of the BVI Forward campaign. We are safe-guarding the future of the financial services industry. The students today represent the future workforce in the BVI. Therefore we need to start engaging them early to ensure that they can participate more meaningfully in the industry later on.”
Several action points were agreed and the FSIU will continue to engage the education officials on the subject of building BVIslander capability as part of BVI Forward. Through this ongoing interaction, the FSIU in collaboration with education officials will develop recommendations for the Initiative Working Team which will then propose action plans in keeping with the findings of the industry consultancy facilitated by McKinsey and Company. After considering the FSIU proposals, the Initiative Sponsor and chair of the team, Mrs. Smith, will make recommendations to the BVI Forward Steering Committee chaired by the Honourable Premier, which then considers them before making a submission to Cabinet for final decision.