My Internship with the CDF: The Beginning of a Career

Reforming our region’s energy sector is an initiative that I am very interested in. As a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago coming from a historically underserved region, I strongly believe that rural communities should not be left behind in any developmental effort. This was why I seized the opportunity to apply for an internship with the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF). The CDF’s mandate to address the inequalities in development throughout the Member States of the CARICOM aligned with my personal goals and I knew that this opportunity would guide my career in the right path.   

I joined the CDF team as the intern responsible for supporting the Credit Risk Abatement Facility (CRAF), a new initiative that incentivises lending from financial institutions to small and medium businesses interested in pursuing renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) projects. From the start, I was made aware that its pilot phase had to be nothing less of successful and that I would be expected to learn quickly. However, I have never been known to shy away from a challenge and I am confident that I will give nothing less than my best. 

Since the pilot phase of the CRAF officially starts in January 2021, I mainly spent my time being educated on the intricacies of the Facility. This includes learning about its objectives, the components necessary for CRAF to work and reading reports from the CRAF pilot countries which helped inform how the Facility would run.

Additionally, I assisted Camco Clean Energy, the consulting group responsible for assisting the CDF in developing the CRAF, in gathering information on other partial credit guarantees offered by financial institutions in the Caribbean. I also attended meetings with the financial institutions and energy service companies within the Caribbean desirous of partnering with the CRAF. Finally, I aided in the preparation of the Joint Launch Event of the CRAF and the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency’s (CCREEE) Project Preparation Facility (PPF). Here, I was responsible for inviting representatives of financial institutions, energy service providers, focal points, and ministerial personnel both regionally and internationally.

I would say that I am grateful for my meetings and interactions with the key persons from our regional institutions who are influential in RE and EE development. Even though I was nervous to join in these meetings, I gained a deeper appreciation for the role of finance and economics in the development of RE and EE projects. As an aspiring consultant, I believe that having some awareness in the non-technical aspects of RE development is an asset. Within this internship, I also hope to sharpen my skills in the discipline of project management and discern which projects are feasible as compared to those that are not. I also hope to form deeper professional relationships with persons from other CARICOM institutions and relevant ESCOs and FIs.

To the job seekers reading this article, there is no one solution in achieving a career goal. However, if you trust the process, you will eventually be successful. My advice?  Keep on learning about your chosen discipline. Work on developing your non-academic skills such as communication, leadership, and team building. Be vigilant for any opportunity you can use to show your knowledge. Engage your network. Finally, do not be discouraged if things go awry. You only need one opportunity to change your life.

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