Kemar Richards: From UWI, Mona to the world of work
KEMAR Richards, 22, is proof of the opportunities that await a male graduate of the University of the West Indies.
In less than a year after leaving the university with his Bachelor of Science degree in actuarial science, Richards has been able to secure a position as a financial analyst in the regulatory division of the Bank of Jamaica — a feat of which he is most proud.
The Campion College old boy recalls having deliberately set out to attend the tertiary institution with a view to entering his chosen career field.
"Upon entering university, I wanted to pursue something that I had a passion for and more importantly, an area that would have challenged my mind. I was also apprised by [knowledgeable] sources that the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences would be a perfect fit for me," said the youth, who professes an abiding love for physics, mathematics, economics and science, told Career & Education.
Now three years on, he admits that study at the university — where he was at one time a faculty representative — was no 'walk in the park', particularly given his area of study.
"Actuarial science is argued by many to be the most challenging course offered at the undergraduate level by UWI, Mona, so rigor, aptitude and dedicated effort is sine qua non [essential] for success," he said.
Now that he has entered the world of work, he is happier for having successfully met the challenge of successfully completing his first degree.
"I'll be pretty blunt in stating that we have a frail labour economy, which needs critical attention at this time. I would hasten to say that it was based upon merit that I have been able to secure this opportunity," he told Career & Education.
And his efforts continue.
Richards is to undergo further study to receive his chartered financial analyst and chartered enterprise risk analyst designations, in addition to pursing graduate research work.
Given his strides to date, Richards has encouraged other youths to follow his example. His advice to other young men interested in pursuing tertiary studies, but who are daunted by the cost and/or inadequate academic qualifications to date is to remember that "rejection starts with the mind".
"I am a glass half full kind of person, so I wouldn't have harboured those thoughts," he added.
Meanwhile, he has welcomed news that there is a growth — however small — in the number of males enrolling at the UWI.
According to UWI registration data, there has been a two per cent increase in the enrolment of males for 2010/2011 academic year compared to 2008/2009. The Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences is among those that have in recent years seen a growth in the number of males registering. In 2009/2010, for example, some 1,109 males were enrolled, up from 988 in 2008/2009.
"I am pleasantly surprised at this statistic actually. I have much confidence in the leadership and quality of the faculty," Richards told Career & Education. "I would [suggest] that this increase indicates a greater awareness of science application antithetical to the misconception that science is purely an academic pursuit."