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FirstCaribbean backs UWI


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The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, has received US$1.2 million from FirstCaribbean International Bank to date and stands to benefit from a further US$375 000 over the next three years.Last Thursday, the university and the financial institution signed a new Memorandum  of Understanding (MOU) that provides for the bank’s disbursement  of US$125 000 each year for three years. This is the third consecutive MOU between the institutions.The bank also pledged grants of US$45 000  to provide capital  to graduates of one  of Cave Hill’s newest programmes, SEED (Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development), to help them start businesses.According to executive chairman of the bank, Michael Monsoor, the new arrangement was designed to give support to students by encouraging and developing self-reliance.“Also, as part of this MOU, FirstCaribbean is pleased to take part in another new programme that supports students  of the university in their transition [from] academia to the work environment. “Over three years we will be establishing  a pilot graduate placement programme where students can benefit  from career development workshops and register for both long- and short-term job placements in their areas of specialisation . . .“We consider this new MOU bigger, better and more comprehensive –  not only because of the level of funding but more particularly because the net has been widened  to ensure that even more students benefit from all planned initiatives,”  said Monsoor.Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the university, Sir Hilary Beckles, said that over five years ago, UWI recognised that  no campus could survive without full support  of the private sector.“We reached out the best we could to urge our private sector stakeholders to participate in the development in our new funded model . . .  and to assist us. “FirstCaribbean Bank is one of the first institutions to come to our assistance to speak with us about how best  to achieve these targets for the institution,” he said.Beckles said the university had been able to develop some infrastructures at the campus. He reported that they now had the First Caribbean Suite, which was used for consultancies, training and teaching.The bank also provides scholarships to students. (MM)