16 UTT / ECIAF Diploma in Agriculture students, intern at MALF for 3 weeks!
July 30, 2020:- Education is never a one-way street and just as mentors are able to impart their own knowledge on those whom they facilitate, so too can they learn from the life experiences of their understudies. Such was the reciprocal impact of learning which the Permanent Secretary (Ag.) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF), Ms. Susan Shurland, highlighted in her address to sixteen (16) second-year students of the Diploma in Agriculture Programme at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) / Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) on Tuesday 28th July, 2020, at the Sugarcane Feeds Centre in Longdenville. There, the students participated in a sensitization and interactive feedback session as part of their three (3)-week internship at MALF, where they observed and participated in the work of agricultural extension officers.
Ms. Shurland told the interns that as the beneficiaries of this training programme, they now had a competitive edge in the labour market and would be better able to explore and focus on a set, career path whilst being able to develop and refine those theoretical skills honed in the classroom through practical, hands-on experience from professionals in the field.
Co-ordinator of the Internship Programme and ECIAF Lecturer, Ms. Nelleen Harripaul said that the field training category of the Diploma, was borne out of a necessity to enhance the career opportunities for young graduates by entrusting them with a “real sense” of the job so as to make their academic training much more relateable. According to her, by the end of the Programme, trainees should be able to better understand: the organizational structure of the Ministry and its respective counties; the administrative work involved in extension services and the extent of work performed by the extension officer; the many services that MALF offers to farmers and by extension, the wider public; the relationship between extension officers and farmers as well as the impact of extension services on the farming community.
Ms. Harripaul explained too, that while the Ministry’s involvement in the students’ practicum took effect at the end of their second year of studies, the Internship Programme had two (2) components, with the former of these taking place at “any private farm or agricultural-related enterprise” at the end of year one, for a similar period of three (3) weeks. She added that the thinking behind this was to equip the trainee / student to be either self-employed or employable in the private sector by facilitating “an understanding and appreciation of the function and activities of a privately owned, business enterprise.”
Also addressing attendees at the event were the: Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary (MALF), Ms. Ramdai Sookdeo and Acting Director, Regional Administration North (MALF), Ms. Teresa Rosemond.
The internship at MALF, which commenced on Monday 13th July, 2020, comes to an end on Friday 31st July, 2020.