Two past participants in LNG producer Atlantic’s long-running youth leadership development programme have taken the programme’s lessons to heart and turned the pandemic into an opportunity to help and inspire others.
The Point Fortin’s Finest Leadership Development Programme was established by Atlantic in 2000, and Shemeon Williams, now 32, was a member of the inaugural cohort and Tarran Phagoo, now 29, a member of the 2003 cohort. The Point Fortin’s Finest programme not only helped finance their secondary and tertiary level education, but also imparted to them many life principles via special vacation camps that focussed on life skills development and leadership training.
Phagoo, a medical doctor at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, has been lending his skills to help combat COVID-19.
“I am proud to serve my country in this light, especially now as a frontline worker during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Phagoo said. “I always strive to help others in making our country a better place.”
Williams, an entrepreneur in technical engineering and videography/photography services, recently spoke at the National Training Agency’s E-Convention on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Williams shared his own entrepreneurship journey and spoke about the entrepreneurship opportunities of TVET, especially during this time.
“Getting a chance to contribute by imparting to others lessons learnt during my journey, was especially gratifying as they too recognised the importance of entrepreneurship in bolstering our economy,” Williams said.
Atlantic has remained steadfast in its commitment to develop future leaders for its home community of Point Fortin and the nation at large, despite the unique challenges presented during these times. The company has been pursuing ways to further innovate the Point Fortin’s Finest programme and others, to allow for the continued support of young people.
For students across the nation who continue to progress their studies virtually during this period, Williams and Phagoo advised that they use their time wisely to not only further their studies, but also to explore their interests.
“Many persons after a lifetime of education are still uncertain of where they want to be in the future,” Williams said. “We are each given a talent and it’s our duty to find it. When we find it, it’s so much easier to unlock our purpose and direction. Take this time to find what you love.”
Phagoo added that this period is a critical opportunity to practice self-discipline. “This is a good time for reflection into where you currently stand and to set goals and work towards them,” Phagoo said. “As you climb academically, learning becomes more and more self-directed. So it is crucial to harness the will to study at home, manage your time wisely and use the resources available to you via the Internet and e-learning platforms. Time is ever-changing and you can be part of shaping the new normal.”
Atlantic’s longest running Sustainability programme, the Point Fortin’s Finest Leadership Development Programme rewards students of Point Fortin and environs for stellar performance in the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) Examinations through financial support for seven years of secondary school and through university grants for three years of tertiary level education. Since its inception, the Programme has inducted more than 200 students. The most recent cohort was welcomed into the programme last October, and a new cohort will be inducted later this year.