This summer, the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment has engaged nine interns as part of government’s student employment programme.
Three of the interns are helping the ministry’s information technology team prepare for the new school year.
Jeremy O’Sullivan, Olin Monteith and Shirley Rivers all have an interest in computers and, as such, have been furthering their education and experience in the field.
They’ve been working alongside Senior Systems Administrators Lance Barnes, Shanalyn Barnes, Drew Connolly and Richard Bodden to ensure that the education network is ready for the 2011-2012 school year.
Jeremy O’Sullivan, who enters his senior year at Michigan Technological University this September, has interned with the ministry for the past three summers. He said he has “learned a lot about the ethical side of a technicians work and about the trust and confidentiality issues which accompany some areas of the job.”
He said more importantly, he loved the consistent experience the opportunity has offered him.
“In this field you can have all the qualifications you need, but it’s experience that will get you that first job,” he said.
Olin Monteith, who recently completed his associate’s degree in information technology at the University College of the Cayman Islands, will be heading to Quincy University in Illinois next month to earn his bachelor’s degree.
He said the internship has helped him gain a better understanding of the technology field, but the opportunity to apply his theoretical knowledge in the real world was what he valued most.
The youngest in the group, Shirley Rivers, said the experience has taught him to think on his feet.
“There’s not always a script to solve the issues we face, so you really just have to take each challenge as it comes,” he said.
This is his second year as an IT intern with the ministry and he now awaits his Year 11 external examination results before he’ll know for sure what the school year holds.
According to Mr. Barnes, the Ministry of Education has the largest computer network in the Cayman Islands, with more than 2,000 personal computers connected to the system.
With limited permanent staff, the interns play an integral role in helping his unit prepare all personal computers for the new school year. Specifically, they are tasked with tagging computers that display operational problems, those that need replacing and troubleshooting other general IT problems.
They also install new software, most of which is purchased during the summer months, onto new and existing personal computers.
Overall, Mr. Barnes is optimistic the experience will help the interns when they begin their job search. He said, “Hopefully, we can hire some of the interns later on. But if not, we’ve at least given them a start with some experience.”