Spending three weeks immersed in technology innovation and content creation sounds like a corporate development programme for a mid-level professional. For 15 youngsters, however, this was exactly their experience at BrightPath Foundation’s TT.TechCamp, which came to a formal close last week in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
The initiative was the brainchild of BrightPath’s founder and executive director, Bevil Wooding. His Trinidad-based non-profit foundation provides a range of technology education programs targeting youth, seniors, schools, community groups and governments.
“The TT.Tech Camp was designed to give participants an understanding of tech innovation, software programming and local content development. However, our real objective goes beyond that. We seek to showcase the talent, creativity and promise that we believe exists in the minds and hearts of our people,” Wooding shared.
The TT.TechCamp was hosted at the Executive Training Centre of KR Consulting Ltd. Kyle Rudden, KR’s owner and managing director, was impressed with the levels of camaraderie and collaboration and how quickly participants embraced their responsibility to create local solutions.
Rudden, whose 13-year-old son Sebastian was one of the TechCamp attendees, said “The participants really connected with the camp’s theme “Identity powering technology”. I believe the ideas they presented have real social and economic value that needs to be further nurtured.”
The TechCamp far exceeded the expectation of Kevin Khelawan, Chief Operating Officer at Teleios, a Trinidad-based software firm, and one of the event sponsors.
“TechCamp provided an excellent model for introducing youth to technology and to their social responsibility. Interestingly, our Teleios staff who facilitated several of the sessions, were as impacted by the experience as the participants themselves.”
One parent, Dale Wilson, whose 10-year-old daughter was one of the youngest participants, said, “The excitement, enthusiasm and energy of learning how to build innovative solutions was obvious from the get-go. The kids particularly loved being able to visit real tech and content creation facilities.”
In addition to teaching about local content, software development and innovation, the BrightPath TechCamp featured visits to Flow Trinidad, Gayelle the Channel, Damian Luk Pat Photography Studio, Microsoft T&T and the South Academy for the Performing Arts. These businesses allowed participants a behind the scenes look at how they function and gave the youth an opportunity to interact with industry professionals in their work environment.
Nigel Edwards, the TechCamp director explained, “Participants got to interact with industry practitioners and real-world innovators to gain practical insights that we believe will impact both their career choices and their outlook on life.”
15-year-old attendee, Michael Winter of Arima, said, “We got to play with cool gadgets and we got to see how software, photography, music, videos and other local content are really produced. This is definitely not what I expected. It was really fun! I’ve have learnt so much and have made many new friends.”
The Trinidad TechCamp received support from local private sector firms including Teleios Systems, Columbus Communications, TSG Consulting, ArkiTechs, KR Consulting, Double X Workshop and Relate Studios. TechCamp participants were drawn from the Caribbean, United States and the UK.
Mrs. Rhea Yaw Ching of Columbus Communications facilitated a session on local content. She described the collaboration between BrightPath and local technology experts and practitioners as “a truly rewarding experience for everyone involved.”
“I am totally blown away by the positive impact this event has had on the participants. This was much more than a technology camp. This was a life changer,” Yaw Ching said.