NCB Foundation launches first cohort of scholars focused on digital careersWednesday, October 13, 2021
THE NCB Foundation has answered the call to help alleviate the financial uncertainty of this 2021/2022 academic year for hundreds of students, who will benefit from $100 million in scholarships and grants courtesy of the foundation.
With students across the island, from the primary to tertiary level, still adapting to the challenges of online learning brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic, NCB Foundation continues to lend its support through its annual Scholarship and Grant programme in an effort to invest in students through education. The foundation has also placed keen focus on students pursuing digital careers that will enable them to adapt to the ever-changing educational landscape while still continuing their studies, pursuing their dreams, and increasing Jamaica's pool of digital producers.
Through this year's application process, which was made fully digital as a result of the pandemic, NCB Foundation selected 15 scholars for the 2021 academic year — 12 parish champions, two national champions and one recipient of the Dr Rickert Allen Scholarship — as well as over 200 other primary, secondary and tertiary-level students to benefit from this year's investment. Parish champions will be granted annual scholarships of $300,000 for the duration of their studies, national champions will be granted annual scholarships of $600,000, and the recipient of the Dr Rickert Allen Scholarship will receive a scholarship valued at $600,000. Over 100 tertiary grants of $150,000 each were also awarded to other tertiary students, while over 100 primary and secondary book grants were awarded to students via Kingston Bookshop and Sangster's Bookstore.
Nadeen Matthews-Blair, NCB Foundation CEO,shared “Jamaica has no shortage of the raw talent and ingenuity required to make Jamaica a digital hub and to export our own digital products to the world. We see digitally transforming our society as a pathway to economic independence and vibrancy and as such, we are prioritising investments in education that will expand the pool of digital producers in our country.”
Level Up Grant
Part of this year's overall programme is the Level Up Grant, a foundation initiative in partnership with iCreate Institute Incorporated and Internet Income Jamaica. The programme gives 3000 Jamaicans the opportunity and training to upskill or reskill to improve their economic situation, especially at a time like this amidst the numerous personal and financial challenges brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 inaugural cohort was able to earn over US$100,000 despite the pandemic, and the foundation and its partners have high hopes for even more success for this second cohort, with graduates already earning from their online businesses.
“A lot of the students that came into our programme had lost their jobs due to the pandemic. They were struggling to make ends meet, they couldn't feed their families. Within 6 weeks they were able to create a new start for themselves. They became their own bosses, making their own money, making US dollars,” shared Alicia Lyttle, CEO of Internet Income JA. “The pandemic forced us all into a digital space —whether we were ready for it or not — which is why digital upskilling is so critical in today's world. Jamaica is now on the map as a country where you can source highly skilled digital professionals, and we are proud to partner with NCB Foundation to help uplift and empower so many young people to create opportunities for themselves. Students of the Level Up programme will be in high demand with their new skill set and will help to bolster Jamaica's digital transformation. Imagine where Jamaica will be as a nation in 5 or 10 years from now as we continue this impactful programme.”