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Fourth Cohort officially launched for NCB/UWI Agile Laboratory Project - Shaping the Next Generation of Digital Talent

Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and The Department of Computing, UWI, Mona in collaboration with the National Commercial Bank (NCB) officially launched the 4th cohort of the Agile Lab Project on May 28, 2021. Now in its fourth year, the programme will provide another cohort of 15 final year students (interns) of the UWI Department of Computing with the opportunity to receive customized digital training over a three month period which provides them with the opportunity to develop and apply their technical skills to fill key roles as software developers, customer experience and design experts, data scientists and quality assurance analysts at NCB. Designed as a 6 credit internship course, the programme is coordinated by Dr. Carl Beckford, Lecturer at the Department of Computing, UWI, who is also the scrum master.

Ms. Sandra Grey, Assistant General Manager, Human Resources and Facilities, NCB is the NCB project leader while the UWI project leaders are Dr. Maurice McNaughton, Director of the Centre for Innovation, MSBM and Dr. Gunjan Mansingh, Head of the Department of Computing, UWI, Mona.

While addressing the attendees at the virtual launch event, Dr. David McBean, Executive Director, MSBM expressed his gratitude for the partnerships; “NCB has been a very good partner to the university and also the Mona School of Business and Management and the Department of Computing.  He  also encouraged the interns to develop strategic partnerships ” It is very important that we have not just cross department collaboration, but also cross faculty because that prepares you in a sense for the real world wherever you go, whether you continue in academia or you go into the private or public sector”.

The project is an active, value-adding partnership between academia and industry and provides a unique opportunity to address the needs of industry in a creative and sustainable way. Dr. Maurice McNaughton, in addressing the attendees at the virtual launch event noted that “Not only is the programme and its content designed around agile principles, but the response to NCB’s request and the process we went through to design this programme itself is agile”. He added that it took approximately two (2) weeks to create the programme including the curriculum and its courses and merging the programme with the Department of Computing’s internship programme.

The members of the current cohort are very excited at the prospects of the programme and have formed three groups which consist of 5 members each namely Quality Assured, Code Titans and Agile Agents. Quality Assured group member, Nathaniel Bedassie, 3rd year Computer Science student indicated that he hopes to learn professional practices used in the computing industry so that he is brought closer to his goal of being a well-rounded software engineer and business professional. He stated “I have been enjoying the programme and the facilitators are very professional and the modules have been very insightful.” Agile Agents group member, Joanna Joy Gray, 3rd year Software Engineering student has found the programme to be a very interesting learning experience that teaches a variety of insightful topics which includes a design centered approach to user requirement. She further stated “I hope that at the end of this programme I will be able to use what I have learnt and apply it in real life, especially in an agile setting”. Code Titans group member, Kevoy Daley, 3rd year Computer Science student hopes that at the end of the programme, he will learn the impact that Information Technology has had on Jamaica, especially businesses and to use this new found knowledge in the workplace. He further noted that “The experience has been insightful and covers a lot that has not been taught in the classroom. It also provides us with valuable industry knowledge”.

The programme has three assessments which are the modular review, the internship portfolio presentation and the mentor evaluation which is done by the NCB team.

The current project started on March 29, 2021 and is expected to be completed in August 2021.

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