Five youths are now the holders of certification in Artificial Intelligence Competency Engineering, having successfully completed a three-month paid apprenticeship programme with Version 75 Solutions and Clinc Inc.
The Artificial Intelligence Competency Engineering Apprenticeship Programme was a collaborative effort between Clinc Inc., an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform engineering company located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and Version75 Solutions (V75), a local tech company.
While funding was provided by the former, the programme was executed by V75 developers, both of whom received initial training from Clinc Inc.
The three-month programme focused on designing, training and developing conversational AI experiences for enterprise, using a cloud-based development platform. The software produced is comparable to Apple Inc.’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant, however, they are said to be more advanced.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of V75 Eldon Marks, described their apprenticeship programme as having exceeded all expectations.
He explained that they received over 70 applications from persons who were interested, however, with a three-phase selection process, they were able to bring that number down to five persons.
The selected interns were Jay Carter, Vanisha Munroe, Sean Singh, Deenauth Mohabir and Candace Nelson.
According to Marks, the interns were first tasked with mock exercises, however, Clinc, which was already impressed with the talents of the youth, selected one of the interns to work on one of their active projects for a major client in the US, just one week after the programme began.
“They were very impressed with their work ethic and their attention to detail, how they picked up on the concept so much so that they were pulled in to work on one of their active projects with a major client,” the CEO said.
He noted, too, that a second intern was selected to work on the same project; the selection, he said, was also based on their availability as the other three interns are students of the Computer Science Department of the University of Guyana.
The others however, worked on exercises sent from CLINC and were evaluated by the trainers here. They were also given real world experience working with Standard Operating Procedures that are common in large scale software firms and were allowed the opportunity to work on a Quick-service Restaurants project.
“It was a very packed three months that offered a lot of experience and exposure,” Marks told the Sunday Stabroek.
Not only does the performance of the participants during the internship add to their own personal achievements, but it also guarantees future installments of the programmes for others.
The success of the internship has already earned V75 commendations from Clinc, which has signaled its intent to use them as a benchmark for comparing potential partners, which according to Marks, says a lot about their work since Clinc has worldwide partners.
The apprenticeship programme was led by trainers Asa Brouet and Shemar Lindie, both of whom had undergone competency engineering training on Clinc’s AI platform during a visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan earlier this year.
Brouet, speaking with the Sunday Stabroek, stated that he was pleased to say that the interns showed dedication and commitment not only to the projects they worked on but also towards building themselves during the past three months.
Commenting on the improvement of their skills during the course of the programme, Brouet said that there were a few who were not overly exposed to problem solving, thus, there was room for improvement in that aspect, which they achieved by encouraging them to think outside of the box and ask questions.
From then to now, the lead trainer says he has seen great improvement in their critical thinking and problem solving abilities.
“We all grew together throughout the three months and now I can say that they are at a level where they are able to deliver for any given client at any given time as a result of what was gained during the three-month stint,” Brouet shared.
Meanwhile, the interns, in sharing their thoughts on the programme, collectively agreed that the work environment in which they were a part of was different from what was already known to them.
According to Mohabir, though his decision to move from his old job to take up the internship was a difficult one, he does not have regrets since the three months of work with V75 Solutions did not seem like work to him.
“It hasn’t felt like three months of work, it felt like I’m on a school project and I’m enjoying it with buddies and it’s really organic… I think the last three months have been completely amazing and I really enjoyed myself,” he said.
“When I first thought of the programme, I thought we would learn about the technical side but when we came it was a whole different experience,” Singh, another intern, shared.
Together, the group also noted that they were comfortable with the knowledge that they gained during the programme, with a few even expressing interest in exploring a bit more.