GraceKennedy Limited has announced plans to launch a formal internship programme. The programme is an initiative of Group Chief Executive Officer Don Wehby and will begin in January 2013.
Speaking at the launch of the new Mona School of Business and Management recently, Wehby noted the plight of young graduates to gain experience in the work world in their bid to get jobs. "Too often I have heard criticism that the University of the West Indies turns out graduates who are theoretically sound, but deficient in practical experience," Wehby said.
He later noted that he had seen many jobs being advertised, with experience as a criterion for application. "This would disqualify so many bright, talented and promising young graduates. GraceKennedy wants to change that by giving them the opportunity to get some useful experience," Wehby said.
The programme will be open to a maximum of 15 students with exceptionally good first degrees but no working experience. Participants will be rotated for a year in all the areas in which GraceKennedy operates, including food processing and distribution, banking and finance, insurance and remittance services, and building materials retailing.
They will be paid a basic salary, and will be assessed at the end of that year, with the possibility of gaining full-time employment within the organisation should they perform outstandingly.
GraceKennedy's group chief human resource officer will have oversight for the programme. Once all details have been worked out, the programme will be advertised and applicants interviewed to fill the spaces.
Wehby is calling on corporate Jamaica to launch similar programmes, and to see the possibilities that can exist by honing the skills of bright young talent. He noted that these individuals can become tremendous assets to organisations across Jamaica.
As such, the Group CEO is encouraging corporate players who are not already doing so, to play their part. "Let's not see hiring young graduates as an added cost. Let's see it as an investment in our own companies and, ultimately, in Jamaica."