Rees Fletcher, President and CEO, ACE Bermuda, 1980 Scholar and, right, Kayla Johnson, Junior Reinsurance Analyst, Validus Reinsurance Ltd., 2010 Scholar. *Photo supplied
Rees Fletcher, President and CEO, ACE Bermuda, 1980 Scholar and, right, Kayla Johnson, Junior Reinsurance Analyst, Validus Reinsurance Ltd., 2010 Scholar. *Photo supplied

The Association of Bermuda International Companies (ABIC) celebrated the success of its 35+ year scholarship programme by highlighting some of its past awardees.

ACE Bermuda President and CEO, Mr. Rees Fletcher, was a 1980’s scholar and had this to say about the Award:

“As a past recipient of an ABIC Education Award, I know firsthand how helpful it is to have the financial support for college. ABIC also helped me first get my foot in the door of international business as a student. Now, years later as an employer in Bermuda, we at ACE continue to support scholarships and programs such as the ABIC Education Awards because they are vital to prepare young Bermudians for careers in international business.”

Today’s industry leaders are among the 531 Bermudians who have benefited from the scholarships since the first ones were awarded in 1977, in the early days of the insurance/reinsurance business in Bermuda. ABIC Alumni are employed in various fields such as accounting, law, insurance, reinsurance, financial services, information technology and media. Roy Fellowes, ABICEA Chairman said, “The awards program has played a key role in developing Bermuda’s talent pool for careers in international business. We’re proud of our alumni and look forward to sponsoring many more students for university studies in the future.”

2003 Scholar, Mrs. Jasmine Desilva, CPCU, Assistant Vice President, Excess Casualty, Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd., had this to say:

“Ensuring that financial aid is available to those wishing to pursue a higher education is vital. Being able to concentrate solely on your studies without being overwhelmed by the expense of it all is pivotal and the ABIC Awards provide the additional relief that is needed. Furthermore, ABIC can be monumental in providing a student their first glimpse into the world of International Business. Being awarded the ABIC Education Award as well as the Michelle Outerbridge Award opened up doors to internships and relationships that I may have otherwise not been given the opportunity to pursue. It served as a highlight to the hard work and discipline that I had to my studies. I would encourage all young Bermudians that have a desire to pursue a career in the International Business sector to take full advantage of this excellent opportunity.”

The awards are supported by more than 50 companies in Bermuda looking to encourage young Bermudians to join the sector. In the past decade, the programme has given over $5 million to approximately 240 Bermudian students pursuing full undergraduate or post-graduate degrees in accredited colleges or universities abroad.

• Scholarships are awarded on the basis of financial need, academic ability and field of study.

• Some 50-60 applications are received from Bermudian students each year and, each year, 16-20 students are awarded $30,000 over a two-year period.

• In 2009, ABIC introduced a Post Graduate scholarship aimed at those with at least two consecutive years’ experience in the workforce, which is valued at $20,000 for one year.

• In 2010 ABIC partnered with several other scholarship providers to launch a comprehensive online scholarship resource, which allows students the ability to search for available scholarships and apply directly online. www.bermudascholarships.com

• On our 35th anniversary, ABIC announced a new scholarship, The Shernelle Outerbridge Memorial Award sponsored by Zurich, for an additional $15,000 in undergraduate business and finance studies.

• For the past 2 years PwC has provided the shortlisted students with an interview training session prior to their interviews and the students found the session to be invaluable.

Junior Reinsurance Analyst of Validus Reinsurance Ltd., Ms. Kayla Johnson, is a more recent recipient from the 2010 programme. Kayla shared the following remark:

“The financial support from ABIC has been a tremendous contribution to my education, allowing me to have pursued my degree at the University of my choice. My gratitude however extends beyond this, as I was able to gain a summer internship with my sponsor company Validus, and as a result I received full time employment as a Junior Reinsurance Analyst after graduating. Undoubtedly, this award has greatly enhanced my academic path, my profession in the Reinsurance Industry and above all, who I am as an individual. I encourage the youth of Bermuda to take advantage of this award and to grasp this incredible chance for success. “

The scholarship deadline was in April and the committee, consisting of 20 volunteers from our donor companies and colleagues in the business, HR and academic community, are presently conducting extensive interviews for the shortlisted applicants. The 2014 awards will be presented to the successful candidates at an Awards luncheon on July 23rd.

For queries regarding the ABIC Education Awards please contact Velina Wheatley-King at vwheatley@bcc.bm.