Hotelier urges peers to hire fresh grads
NEGRIL, Westmoreland – Hotelier Richard Wallace, who says he has hired inexperienced youngsters straight out of high school who have later become some of his best workers, is appealing to other business owners to give recent graduates a job. He believes it is one way to help curb crime.
“I have done it many times. Not just young men, we take young women as well fresh out of school with no training whatsoever. As long as they have the right attitude, we take them, train them, and give them hope and opportunity. And, as I said before, some of them turned out to be our best employees,” said Wallace.
He was speaking with the Jamaica Observer after a special security meeting held by the Negril Chamber of Commerce. Wallace is a former president of the chamber.
He noted that while certain professions such as chefs and front desk staff require specialised training, others can attain success through on-the-job learning.
“There are many who have benefited from it and have gone on to have steady jobs in the industry and have grown to become even supervisors and managers over time,” stated Wallace, who is the operator of Boardwalk Village. He emphasised that job seekers having the right attitude is crucial in his hiring process.
Wallace had earlier touted youth employment as a way to curb crime during the meeting held to discuss an uptick in robberies and other criminal activity in Westmoreland.
“It will help in the fighting of crime because it will create jobs and opportunities for some who otherwise don’t have it,” he argued.
The discussion comes at a time when there is a shortage of labour and suggestions that workers should be imported. Others have argued that the labour shortage is a result of inadequate compensation.
Operator of Lighthouse Inn II, Dalton Hill, told the Observer that while he is willing to hire youngsters, there is a hurdle.
“I would love to get some of these young people, but it is to find them so that I can train them. They are trainable, but when the elements get to them first, then it is impossible. But, we would like to get to them first,” said Hill.
Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Western Morland Wilson, who was at the meeting, said youngsters seeking employment have visited his office. He noted that they may lack a clear career path and require meaningful engagement. Wilson also disclosed that he had previously approached Wallace who employed one such promising aspirant.
For her part, president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Elaine Allen Bradley stressed that mentorship on the job is also important.