Shawn Budram - Never giving up
In 2015, Shawn Budram was trying to figure out how to support a newborn baby on the meagre salary he was earning while still being enrolled in school.
At just 23 years old, still striving to gain a handle on life, he grew despondent. Always determined to make a meaningful contribution to society despite the stigma attached to the community he was raised in, his financial predicament was the push he needed to try harder.
"It was hard to make ends meet. There were things I wanted to buy for my kids that I couldn't buy. I paid part of my tuition fee and couldn't find the rest," explained Budram.
His breakthrough would come in the weeks following the Heineken acquisition of Red Stripe, as the company's production expansion plans began to take shape. Budram had sent his rÈsumÈ to the beer company two years before, and had never given up hope for an interview.
HEART SET ON RED STRIPE
"The truth is that I had applied to all the companies along Spanish Town Road, but my heart was set on Red Stripe. I grew up at 214 Spanish Town Road. All of my basic school sports days were held on the Oval, and as I got older, it was on that same field I watched my local football idol, Ian 'Pepe' Goodison, train with the Reggae Boyz," said Budram.
For the young Cockburn Gardens resident, Red Stripe represented endless possibilities and the central focus of his career aspirations. After a short stint in Manchester where he lived with his aunt, Budram returned to Kingston full of enthusiasm. Having studied welding and fabrication, and later on mechanical engineering at the National Tool and Engineering Institute, he was now a viable candidate for the role of quality monitor at the beer company.
That position and a slew of other jobs were created when Red Stripe took the decision to bring home production of beer for the United States market. Repatriation, as it came to be called, add 86 new employees to the brewery. The move also resulted in indirect employment on the ports and in other support service industries.
"The job was a badge of honour for me. I felt like I was wearing the red star on my chest. It was a dream come true," said Budram as he reminisced on the interview process and his ultimate recruitment. As quality monitor, Budram is the keen eye that ensures that every bottle of the great Jamaican beer passes every test and meets the highest global standards.
"Apart from the pride I feel in my work, the job has made a whole lot of difference in my life. I was able to finish paying for my tuition, move my family to a better environment, and improve my overall quality of life," explained Budram.
"I'm also looking forward to becoming a master brewer. I did the brewing exam, and that's my dream. On the personal side, I've always said I want to buy a house by the time I'm 30, and I'm on course to achieving that goal," said Budram proudly.