Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Carerras creates employment for inner-city communities

Published:Monday | July 13, 2015 | 12:00 AMJanelle Oswald
Marcus Steele

Carreras Limited has launched a new initiative that is creating employment for scores of people living in inner-city communities across the capital and, hopefully, islandwide in the near future.

Targeting motorcyclists who live and know rural communities around the island, managing director of Carreras Limited, Marcus Steele, tells The Gleaner: "Carreras is excited to be able to create employment opportunities for inner-city communities. These are exciting times and I am proud to be a part of the changing face of employment history in Jamaica."

The award-winning CEO said: "Carreras is always seeking new ways to serve our consumers and community, which is part of the company's cooperate social responsibility commitment." Market distributors of Craven "A", Matterhorn, Dunhill and Rothmans, the British American Tobacco subsidiary, which recently moved its headquarters to 13A Ripon Road in New Kingston, recently introduced a new employment programme, through which their brands are delivered into areas previously considered 'challenged'. "We needed to find a way to get smaller cases of cigarettes into the suburbs, so we came up with the Bike-Man Programme which started as a pilot project serving our customers who did not have the purchasing power to buy significant cartons or cases of cigarettes. Supplying this growing demand presented huge sales opportunities for the company, and it resulted in employment for people who could ride a motorcycle."

Hiring riders

"Initially, the company hired salesmen and ambitiously tried to teach them how to ride but that didn't work, so we stopped hiring salesmen and hired bikers. We needed employers to traverse the communities. Once we were happy with our riders, we taught them how to become salesmen," Steele explained.

"The programme is a grass-roots initiative focusing on people who have not necessarily completed high school or secondary education. Steele told The Gleaner, "We all deserve a chance in life and Carreras is offering motorcyclists from communities like Tivoli Gardens, Concrete Jungle or Greenwich Farm the chance to become a courier or salesman for their area. Someone from outside the area might not work or feel comfortable on the job. We need confident riders, male or female, he said."

Currently covering the downtown Kingston, Portmore and all of Spanish Town, Steele revealed, "The success rate of this programme has been great. In its genesis, it was very scary because giving cigarettes to somebody is like handing people cash, but it worked."

Admitting that there have been some robberies, Steele said: "Yes, we have had some issues with theft, however, the numbers are dropping. We no longer brand our bikes, so they cannot be distinguished on the road. We are now seeing growth of between six and eight per cent every quarter and because of this, Carreras is definitely going to expand this programme."

Open to everyone

There are no age limitations or sex preferences. In fact, Carreras has employed women who have proved to be excellent riders. "Female riders are more the aggressor so, they achieve better sales," Steele noted.

Confident that other companies will follow their lead, Steele states: "Many other companies will follow us because when you study your supply chain and observe the best ways to get your products to the consumers, you have to look at the 'route to market'."

He said old traditional ways have changed and trucks or vans formerly used for delivery will be replaced by more environmentally friendly modes of transport that will reach consumers faster.

Some 30 motorcyclists have been employed to date and Carreras is very proud that they are creating employment. "This number is not huge, but 30 employees now being productive for themselves and their families gives them a sense of pride, dignity and value because they are now earning and contributing to society."

For more about Carreras go to www.jamaica-gleaner.com, click on VIDEOS and watch 'Corporate Coffee Mornings' with Marcus Steele.

janelle.oswald@gleanerjm.com