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JPS summer programme employs 80 students

Nicholas Martin Observer writer nicholasm@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 03, 2014    

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Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) continues to provide employment opportunities for young people through the power company's annual summer employment programme.

Chief Executive Officer of JPS Kelly Tomblin told the Jamaica Observer that although the number of participants in the summer programme has decreased it is important that the company continues to provide this opportunity.

"So while it may look as if we're doing it for a benevolent reason, we're really doing it because right now we're in such a critical part of our re-establishment with customer service and innovation that we really need new thinking," Tomblin said.

JPS has over the years recognised the need for students to gain work experience and have earning opportunities that help meet their financial obligations. In keeping with this concept, the company has this year facilitated the programme, despite the ongoing financial crisis. The company has engaged a total of 80 students from secondary and tertiary level education for the programme which runs from June 30 to August 15.

Human Resources Manager in charge of business services at JPS Silina Patterson said the objective of the programme is to provide students with an opportunity to work in a sector that corresponds with their field of study or to their personal goals.

She further explained that although the programme does not have an age limit, the average ages of participants ranges from 17-25. The programme has been ongoing since 1992 and the number of employees varies.

"We have selected as high as 150 students to a low of 20, as seen last year where we employed about 20," explained Patterson.

The company said it receives just over 2,000 applicants, making the selection process very hard since the vast majority were eligible.

"Our ability to employ as much as we'd love to is impacted by the financial dilemma, so we don't get to select as much as we'd love to, but despite that we have to ensure that people are meaningfully engaged, its not a matter of just placing persons because we have some money to throw around", Patterson said.

The selection process is made easy through the assistance of community-based organisations, which Patterson refers to as "our partnering agencies".

"We are so grateful because without their assistance and partnership we would not have been able to place all the persons that we did."

The employee's in the summer programme were recently briefed on safety regulations in an orientation exercise at the companies head office in New Kingston. Patterson pointed out that safety is important.

"Safety is paramount at JPS from you walk through those doors, so at our orientation we made sure that everyone was fully sensitised on our safety regulations and practices."

University of the West Indies student Debra-Kay Green, who was selected to participate in the programme, expressed appreciation for teh opportunity.

"I intend to garner some experince from this programme, learning the different departments within the company, and also impart my knowlegde from previous experiences."

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