Pressing on in an Ever Changing World
By Jordon Hayles, CCREEE Energy Systems Intern (Supply Side)
Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said, “Change is the only constant in life.” While this may be philosophical truth, if applied to my interest in science it could be easily discredited. As a child I was very interested in science and to date that has not changed. This interest has inspired my professional aspirations – giving me motivation to earn a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Power Engineering with honours and to further both my career and education in the profession. I’ve also cared about the environment from a young age for many reasons: because of its beauty, because it is our home, and maybe because my mother scolded me if I thought to throw anything through the car window.
In my first year of university, I learned that while engineers cannot do what scientists do and scientists cannot do what engineers do, they have a working relationship. Scientists conduct research of regular phenomena to provide an explanation for how things work. Engineers provide solutions by applying knowledge from their studied discipline to manipulate the information supplied by scientists. I knew even more that I wanted to be an engineer – more specifically a planning and design engineer. My time at university helped me find my passion in renewable energy. I joined and later became the President of UWIGreen – UWI Mona’s Alternate Energy Club. I also took a renewable energy systems course that cemented my interest in alternate energy and opened my eyes further to how beneficial it will be to the Caribbean.
Then, I completed my degree. I was a COVID graduate. I had little engineering experience, and I was living in a world where people around me were losing their livelihoods. It’s already hard starting in industry when you lack experience but as a newbie in this time it’s even harder considering companies were releasing people from staff who already had the many years of experience they ask for. I desperately tried reaching out to energy companies in my country but after two months of trying without success I started questioning my value.
I applied to the REAP position advertised at the CCREEE though I wasn’t confident because of the experience in my home country. With a regional organization chances are slimmer because of the larger potential applicant pool. I applied anyway because in the large profession of engineering, CCREEE’s aim and my interests fell in the same niche. I was surprised and reinvigorated when I got an e-mail from Recruitment informing me that I was shortlisted. That alone helped to reaffirm that I had value and that I will be an asset to an organization – especially considering the odds.
The Caribbean is rich not only in history and culture, but also in renewable energy resources. I hope that we will not only become more self-sustaining in our electricity generation but that we would depend less on costly fossil fuels. In doing this we can save money that can be used for the development of the region, we will reduce our contribution to global climate change and we will motivate others to make more concerted efforts to do the same.
Even though my interest in science hasn’t changed, Heraclitus was correct; during our lifetimes change will occur. In our current world the change we see is often bad – climate change and the changes brought about by pandemic are only two of a very large list. CCREEE is an organization that works to bring about good and constant change for the Caribbean, and I am thrilled to have been chosen to be a part of that team of constant change makers.