The Region’s Energy Future in Good Hands

As an important component of TAPSEC’s commitment to regional capacity development, the Regional Energy Apprenticeship Programme (REAP) provided young professionals with opportunities to gain valuable technical expertise in various areas of CARICOM’s sustainable energy sector. The Programme was conceptualised by the CARICOM Secretariat Energy Unit (CCS) and implemented by TAPSEC in collaboration with the regional institutions at which the internships were provided. It was targeted at recent graduates and university students who were close to completing their studies in the areas of Renewable Energy, Natural or Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Development Studies, Economics and other sustainable energy-related programmes. 

The 2020/2021 cohort consisted of ten REAP Associates from across the Caribbean who partnered with mentors at pioneering regional sustainable energy institutions, such as the CCS, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC), the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) and the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF). For the duration of their three to 12-month internships, they worked in a number of different fields related to sustainable energy, including energy systems development, energy diplomacy, knowledge management and communications, programme management and policy and regulatory affairs. 

Equipped with the invaluable experience of participating in this programme, the REAP participants are prepared to take active roles in the ongoing transformation of the regional sustainable energy sector. With what they have learned, they are ready to help chart the way towards a bright clean energy future for the Caribbean.

The Future of Energy, in Their Own Words

“The Regional Energy Apprenticeship Programme offers me the opportunity to gain work experience as an Energy Policy Associate and apply my research skills in a meaningful and impactful way. I hope to improve my understanding of the regional energy sector and serve as an asset in the regional energy transformation towards a stronger, more sustainable, and more resilient Caribbean community. Through this experience, I am excited to play an instrumental role in framing the regional energy policy 2025 – 2040.” 

– Azell Francis, Energy Policy Associate, CCS (Trinidad and Tobago)

“My internship at the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency has provided a path for me to gain much knowledge and I have had the opportunity to apply what I learned in school from various courses. I enjoy being a part of the energy solution for the region through various means such as the Integrated Resource and Resilience Plans (IRRPs).” 

– Dana Lawrence, Energy Systems Engineer Associate – Demand Side, CCREEE (Jamaica)

“I am so excited to participate in the REAP as it is my hope to gain a greater exposure to and understanding of various aspects of the regional energy sector through this programme. It has also been a pleasure to meet other interns in the programme and it is hoped that, through our shared experiences, we can all contribute to a positive change in the region.” 

– Kathryn Siriram, Regional Project Development Associate, CDF (Trinidad and Tobago)

“From this experience, I look forward to working with and receiving training and mentorship from the experts at the CCREEE. I am excited to build my skill set in the various modelling and optimization software and grateful for this opportunity to get exposure to techno-economic analysis and resource optimization and whatever else I can get involved in to increase my exposure and professional development.” 

– Jordon Hayles, Energy Systems Engineer Associate – Supply Side, CCREEE (Jamaica)

“At the end of my internship, I expect to have gained more insights and on-hand experience regarding energy policy, solutions, and decisions and to have acquired a wealth of knowledge and training in renewable energy and energy efficiency, electricity and sustainable strategies and methodologies for Latin America and the Caribbean. Additionally, I hope that I would have honed my skills further in preparation to tackle higher levels of responsibilities in the Caribbean’s energy sector.” 

– Elizabeth Bullock, Energy Solutions Assistant, CARILEC (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)

“During this internship, I have gained invaluable regional experience.  Working alongside and interacting with experts from across the region has been simply invigorating. Being able to build my network, connect with and engage different industry practitioners has helped to build my confidence and hone my communication and project management skills. I am confident that as I develop my career, the experience I have gained through the REAP will definitely influence the contributions I will make to the region’s development.” 

– Diakia A Straker, Project Associate, CROSQ (Jamaica)

“I am always most excited to engage with new people. For me, this is very important in my field of work. Whilst the apprenticeship provides an opportunity to broaden my professional horizon, field experience really serves to humanise the work that I do.  I think especially in policy and planning, it is very easy to become buried in the data, models and general intent in order to establish a high-level outlook of the issue. It is only via engaging with individuals of various backgrounds and sectors that the work remains grounded through a diversity of insight, and that policy can prove to be a satisfactory representation of people’s realities.” 

– Khadija Usher, Energy Policy Associate, CCS (Belize)

“I would like to do whatever I can, within my own sphere of influence, to create a sustainable environment. As such, it is an honour to work with the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) via the Renewable Energy Apprenticeship Programme. My vision for a resilient Caribbean is one where we must no longer rely on non-renewable energy sources, our populace can practice good energy management and we can believe in the efficacy of renewables.” 

– Kwasi Worrell, Credit Risk Abatement Facility Associate, CDF (Trinidad and Tobago)

“I am particularly looking forward to being a part of evaluating and supporting sustainable energy projects from the private and public sector. I look forward to contributing to sustainable energy advancement in the Caribbean community moving forward.” 

– Sapphire Vital, Project Development Associate, CCREEE (The Commonwealth of Dominica)

“Coming from physics into renewable energy, I have always been interested in the technologies themselves. However, I have since been keen to learn more about the identification of potential renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that can be prepared to fill the gaps within our region. I believe that a group of bright young minds, with a common goal and varied perspectives, is what the region needs to support its drive toward a sustainable energy future.”

– Sheldon Marshall, Energy Solutions Associate, CDB (Barbados)