KINGSTON, Jamaica— Over 160 secondary and tertiary level students benefitted from the National Health Fund’s (NHF) eight-week summer employment programme that officially ended on Friday, August 19.
At a cost of over $10 million, this year’s summer programme saw the placement of summer workers at 67 locations island-wide to include hospitals, the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica, the four Regional Health Authorities, the Ministry of Health and Wellness as well as the NHF’s offices and Drug Serv pharmacies, the NHF said.
Chief Executive Officer, Everton Anderson believes the cost to cover the programme was a small price to pay when weighed against the intended outcome of the initiative.
“The NHF once again welcomed the opportunity to invest in the summer employment programme as a viable means of exposing students to the world of work, and to the healthcare field in particular. We were keen on ensuring that the students obtained meaningful experience and training that will be invaluable for their personal and professional development,” Anderson said.
Training and Development Manager (Acting), O’Shea Harris-Scott who had responsibility for the programme commented on its logistics.
“Based on their competencies and areas of study, students were placed in varying departments where they could learn from members of staff, as well as offer valuable support to the team”, Harris-Scott said.
The NHF stated that in addition to the employment programme, various engagement activities were carried out such as a meet and greet session with senior directors, professional and social etiquette training, the sharing of information on the fund’s products and services, as well as a Tik Tok challenge.
Lydia Davis, a student who was assigned to the Drug Serv Pharmacy at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, described the experience as an “enriching” one.
“The National Health Fund provided me with such an enriching opportunity. My supervisor, Ms Maxine Ximines, and all the employees of the Mandeville Drug Serv guided me with patience and kindness, making this an unforgettable memory for the best of reasons,” Davis stated.
Another student, Octavia DaCosta, who spent her time working in the Health Promotion and Public Relations Department at NHF Head Office gave an extensive testimonial of her experience.
“During my summer internship at the NHF I gained a new sense of professionalism and a clearer view of what it means to be in the world of work. I was able to build new relationships, and even learn more about myself. My interpersonal skills and confidence improved tremendously throughout the time with the support of experienced staff members,” DaCosta said.
In addition to summer internships, NHF said it also offers internships for pharmacy and pharmacy technician students as well as to other secondary and tertiary students upon requests and review, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.