Some secondary school students interested in a career in the financial and technology fields received a further boost to their knowledge bank on Tuesday when they took part in the Bitt Career Day. The inaugural event kicked off this morning with officials hoping to make it an annual one.
Over three days, the Wildey, St Michael financial technology (fintech) firm attracted scores of students from 11 public and private secondary schools across the island.
The first two days saw students from Daryll Jordan Secondary, The Lester Vaughan School, The St Michael School, The St George Secondary, Harrison College, Queen’s College and The Alleyne School attending.
They had the opportunity to learn more about the operations of the popular Barbados-based company, and some of the ins and outs of digital technology and finance.
Giving the eager and attentive students somewhat of a crash course as he welcomed them, Chief Executive Officer of Bitt, Rawdon Adams, indicated that while most transactions were still carried out using cash in Barbados and the region, there was an increase in digital forms of transactions.
He said that by having the career days, Bitt was hoping to expose the students more to technology and what the “home-grown” firm was doing to help drive greater use of digital payments in the Caribbean.
“What I was saying to them is that it would be nice for us to have a clique of technologists, who don’t only consume technology, but also produce it and do so with a view to solving tangible issues and developmental problems in the country. This is what Bitt is trying to do, to reduce the cost of payments,” he said.
Adams said he was satisfied that Bitt was doing the best it could to help attract more young people to new and exciting technologies. He said he was hoping that the students would better understand the various structures in such a technology firm and get ideas on how they could help to diversify the local economy.
“We are exposing them not just to the technology but what it means to have a structure behind a business and what we need to have in the business… I think often you see the technology, and it is attractive, but the organisation behind that, to be able to propagate it in the economic system, is not so obvious,” he explained. “We are exposing them to what is possible and opening up their minds to non-traditional ways of being successful in the Caribbean,” said Adams.
Adams has simple advice for school leavers across Barbados – do a lot of research and establish if there is a demand for what you want to get involved in and acquire the right skills to achieve it.
The students had an opportunity to interact with some of the more than 50 full-time staff members from more than seven departments.
Lower-sixth form student at The St Michael School, Kwanita Ward, told Barbados TODAY she got more insight into the operations of Bitt, and she found it to be “very exciting”.
“There are a lot of new things that I am learning,” said Ward, who pointed out that she was interested in pursuing a career in finance. “This will help guide me in what I want to be. One of the persons I spoke with is a chief financial officer, so he would help guide me in the direction I want to go,” she added.
Her colleague, Kai Allman, said he also gained a lot more information that should help him along his career path.
“The career day allowed me to see what is really out there,” said Allman. “I want to go specifically into [actuarial science]. That is dealing with statistics and finance as well. Statistics is in everything. So when I come and see what is really going on here, I understand what [area] of actuarial science I want to go in,” he said.
Meanwhile, Head Girl of The St George Secondary School, Destany Arthur, said she first learned about Bitt while watching a video online and since then she has been eager to learn more about the company and the career options it offered.
“It is really exciting,” she told Barbados TODAY, adding that she was very much interested in technology and was happy for the opportunity to visit the firm.
“There are many students out there who are actually interested in these fields but they don’t know how to get in contact with people who are involved in it. So I think this is a very good opportunity for secondary school children,” said the upper-fifth form student.
A version of this article ‘FinTech in Focus: Bitt’s Career Day Showcases Industry to Students’, written by Journalist – Marlon Madden, first appeared in Barbados Today on June 26th, 2019.