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Konnexx extends lifeline to skilled, jobless Jamaicans

Petre Williams-Raynor
Sunday, July 15, 2012

OUT-OF-WORK Jamaicans trained by the HEART Trust/NTA in skills such as electrical installation and maintenance, plumbing or welding may soon be able to wave goodbye to unemployment.

This as the telecoms engineering firm Konnexx Services opens the door to a new aspect of its operations — the Technical Support Centre (TSC), set up largely as part of its outreach efforts.

Konnexx managing director Dean Nevers said TSC, which has as its tag line "creating jobs, stabilising the future", is intended to not only provide new employment opportunities and job placements, but also provide "quality, warranted" repair services to commercial as well as residential customers.

The centre, operated out of Konnexx's offices at Red Hills Road in Kingston and for which there is shortly to be a soft opening, is to have an online database of persons in the various skilled areas, notably AC/refridgeration, mobile auto servicing, interior design, carpentry, drywall, painting, masonry, and tiling.

To that end, Nevers has invited all persons, trained primarily by the HEART Trust/NTA, to send in their applications, after which they will be interviewed and a decision made as to whether to include them on the database.

Already Konnexx has available a list of individuals in electrical installation, plumbing, AC/refrigeration, welding, mobile auto servicing and interior design. The other areas will follow shortly.

According to Nevers, customers need not worry about the persons sent to their home to offer the various services since they would already have been vetted by Konnexx.

"Sometimes, [as someone in need of a particular service], you don't know who to call and yet you have hundreds of skilled workers out there doing nothing, pretty much. So by having our database online, [customers will have ready access to these skilled individuals]," he said. "And we have done the background checks, the security checks. So if you have a project to do, we will provide the service."

Those skilled persons who make the cut will be on call — paid as per the jobs for which their services are utilised.

"We are not guaranteeing you a job, but we guarantee that we will invest in you to make the public know that 'John Brown' is certified and available for work," Nevers said.

At the same time, he urged customers to give young people with little experience the opportunity to do the work.

"What we are looking at is the current economic climate we are in; this is one initiative that Konnexx is using funds for a new business to create new jobs," he told Career & Education. "But persons have to be willing to give younger, inexperienced individuals a chance."

The establishment of TSC is costing Konnexx an estimated $2 million, including the cost of equipment and machinery bought to allow the skilled persons to do their work once their services are retained by customers.

Konnexx opened its doors in August 2005, after Nevers was laid off from his job at Cable and Wireless (now LIME) where he worked as a junior executive in the Network Fraud Control, Corporate Security, Risk Management, and Fleet Management departments.

With an initial investment of some $5 million, the company has made it its business to build and maintain the network of utility companies in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Their specific offerings include fibre optic engineering, telecoms engineering, computer network design, structured cabling, and security systems design.

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