Career & Education

TEF spends $2m to finance TPDCo summer internship

Sunday, August 04, 2019

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The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) put up roughly $2 million for the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) to place hundreds of high school and college/university students in summer internships in public and private sector hospitality entities this year.

The engagement is branded 'Spruce Up Jamaica' Tourism Summer Internship Programme and runs for three weeks with a cohort of young people aged 16 to 25.

The programme's primary objectives are to expose students to various aspects of the tourism industry its role in the Jamaican economy, forge partnerships with private stakeholders, provide financial support for needy youngsters, and increase awareness of the linkages between tourism and other sectors.

Speaking at a forum for the interns at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston near the end of the three-week period, on Wednesday July 24, portfolio Minister Edmund Bartlett said the programme continues to create opportunities for the nation's youth, in keeping with its objectives.

“Tourism now employs, in the Caribbean, one in five of all workers. An here in Jamaica, last year we earned US$3.3 billion, which represented 53 per cent of the total foreign exchange earned by the country,” he said.

In this regard, Bartlett thanked members of the private sector who have been partnering with the Government on the programme's execution by facilitating the interns.

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Alando Terrelonge said the programme will help to reduce youth unemployment.

“The Government has taken youth unemployment from a high of 37 to 26 per cent between 2012 [and] 2015, and we have consistently seen a decline and youth unemployment in Jamaica, [which] now stands at 19.7 per cent,” he said.

One of the interns, Cleon Campbell, said the programme has helped him to be more responsible and improve his work ethic.

“This programme has provided many others with the means to gain financial independence, even if it's just for a short time. This programme has also provided much needed experience and professional skills that young individuals like myself need to gain,” he added.

Fellow intern, Monique Joseph, said the experience has exposed her to the various career choices available in tourism, and has helped her to network.

'Spruce Up Jamaica' Tourism Summer Internship Programme launched in 2008.

— JIS


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