Students credit JN programme with setting them on career path

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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Some tertiary students are reporting that they only fine-tuned their career goals after being immersed in a marketing programme led by one of the island's leading commercial banks.

The youngsters were participants in the JN Wise Aspiring Youth (JN WAY) programme, run by JN Bank.

The ongoing initiative, which started in 2014, recently celebrated its fifth cohort of students during an awards ceremony and cocktails at Knutsford Court Hotel. More than 100 young people have participated since its inception.

“It has been a life-changing experience which has assisted me to discover my true calling,” said Tiffany Wiggan, JN WAY ambassador, who just completed a Bachelor of Science in accounting at The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Mona.

The 22-year-old said the programme helped to unearth her passion and talent for marketing and communications.

“To be honest, although I was doing a degree in accounting I had no real passion for that field. I did it because it was a safe degree and I'm good at it,” she confessed. “However, when I joined the JN Way programme in my second year of university I was introduced to the world of marketing. That's when I discovered what I really wanted to do with my life.”

The St Andrew High School for Girls graduate said that her discovery pushed her to explore the world of marketing and communications and to pursue a career in the field.

“But given that I was already more than halfway through my accounting programme, I decided I would go ahead and complete my degree and then apply for a job in marketing. And that's exactly what I did. I will graduate later this year with a BSc in Accounting; however, I will be working in marketing,” she said, informing that she has already secured employment, which she will start in a few weeks.

Wiggan believes she will be an excellent marketer based on the skills she gained and was able to hone through JN WAY.

“I've learned so much through this programme, including proposal writing, how to handle sponsorship, and promote a brand. It has also taught me how to think quickly and efficiently, work in a team, be a leader, and use my initiative,” she outlined.

Wiggan is the recipient of three JN WAY awards for the 2017/18 year. She was named Most Reliable Ambassador, Team Player of the Year, and received the Earl Jarrett award.

For Chavel Ford, a second-year student at The UWI, JN WAY also helped to pave the path towards career development.

The international relations major recently travelled to Harvard University, as part of The UWI delegation, to participate in the 2018 Harvard World Model United Nations Conference.

The event, held in Massachusetts, is part of the Model United Nations programme, which seeks to engage university students and encourage them to develop a deeper understanding about current world issues.

Ford said her involvement in JN WAY helped her to prepare, thrive and flourish in situations such as the UN conference.

“Our team from The UWI performed well at that conference, which was almost like a debating competition; we came away with two awards. But for me, it was also an opportunity to network, make new friends, and forge connections with people from around the world,” she related.

The 21-year-old said, although she wouldn't describe herself as shy, before JN WAY she could not easily and effectively start a conversation with strangers in a business or professional setting.

“Now, I can effortlessly walk up to people and engage them in a conversation,” she said. “Communication, networking and professional development are critical components of the JN Way programme — and I certainly benefited from all of those aspects.”

Ford, who is the recipient of the 2018 JN WAY Scholarship and the Most Improved Ambassador award, said she's looking forward to her second year in the programme.

Given the bank's outlook for the future of the programme, more stories like Wiggan's and Ford's will no doubt be written.

According to Leesa Kow, deputy managing director at JN Bank, there are plans to expand the JN WAY programme in the coming year.

“Our hope is to add even more rewards to this programme. We have already started by including internships and part-time jobs to allow participants to earn a salary and gain work experience,” she said.

“We will also conduct more financial empowerment sessions to assist young people to improve the management of their personal finances and to start thinking about their future in respect of how to access funds to finance a businesses, invest, manage debt, access mortgages, and establish a retirement plan,” Kow maintained.

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