CHAIRMAN OF GraceKennedy Limited and philanthropist Douglas Orane has encouraged Jamaican students to prepare themselves and look beyond the country's shores for opportunities.
Addressing the Area 4 Police Civic Committee scholarship recipients, at a ceremony held last Friday at the Police Officers' Club, St Andrew, Orane said it was imperative that Jamaican students begin to see themselves as global citizens.
Using his own upbringing as an example, Orane noted that students today have far more opportunities and access to information outside the country than he did in the 1960s and '70s.
"You have a huge advantage today you do not need to leave the shores of Jamaica to learn about the experiences of others. You have access to an incredible amount of information on the Internet, where you can learn about any topic in the greatest of detail," Orane said.
He implored students to use the Internet to their advantage, as it is the greatest invention of the last 30 years.
Orane is also of the view that Jamaican students need to become more open-minded when considering their careers. He said countries with low unemployment rates generally have more students choosing non-traditional career paths.
Citing Germany's low youth unemployment figures, he encouraged the students to "open your mind to possibilities beyond the traditional professions".
"In 2012, I visited Germany, which has the lowest youth unemployment in Western Europe at seven per cent. What is the reason for this? Six out of 10 young Germans, on leaving school, do not go to university, but instead they become apprentices in a wide cross section of businesses."
Orane said his first job after leaving school was an unpaid internship at Bernard Lodge Sugar Factory. He recommended that more students consider this route in an effort to get to their ultimate career goals.
"Consider my observation over the years, I have never encountered a competent plumber or electrician with business acumen, who is unemployed or poverty stricken," Orane added.
In addition to this, Orane told the gathering that it is becoming increasingly difficult for persons to conduct business across the globe without a foreign language.
"I have noticed a tendency with us, Jamaicans, to be reticent about learning foreign languages. But think about this, we are surrounded by countries that speak other languages other than our own - Spanish, French, Dutch right here in the Caribbean Basin. As English speakers, we are in the minority in our own region," Orane noted.