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JPS bleeding talent as engineers opt for more lucrative jobs overseas

Published:Sunday | August 28, 2016 | 12:00 AMAndre Poyser
JPS workmen The company says residents in upscale communities also steal electricity but use creative measures.

While she was adamant that the islandwide power outage that left many Jamaicans in darkness for several hours on Saturday evening was not caused by a lack of engineering skill, Jamaica Public Service (JPS) chief executive officer Kelly Tomblin has revealed that the company has been haemorrhaging in terms of its stock of engineers as many have opted for more lucrative jobs overseas.

"We have been working very hard at growing our engineering talent, but we certainly have a challenge keeping people in Jamaica because our resources do get trained and then move, particularly our protection engineers," she said in an interview with The Gleaner.

Tomblin explained that since last year, she has been on a drive to beef up the engineering capacity by attracting new talent to the JPS.

Through the establishment of a Chief Technology Office and the appointment of an executive to spearhead modernisation and upgrading of JPS's talent pool, the electricity provider has been engaged in ongoing training while taking on interns and new talent, but according to Tomblin, the company generally does not enjoy the benefit of its investment in this regard as persons generally migrate after a period.

"We are always in the process of improving our engineering skills. Earlier this year, I created a Chief Technology Office and appointed a CTO. We have been bringing in interns and talent to JPS. We are always in the process, as we clearly are now, of improving our technical skills," she said.