Top household workers find jobs fulfilling
Ingrid Grant-Smith could not hold back tears as excerpts from the essay submitted by her employer for the GraceKennedy-Heather Little-White Household Worker of the Year award were being read yesterday.
“To God be the glory, great things He has done!” were the first words uttered by the overwhelmed 2019 Female Household Worker of the Year.
“You don’t understand what you have done for me today and for my family ... . My son over there is my last son, Will Smith, and he has graduated from the Marcus Garvey Technical High and he was supposed to go in sixth form and I couldn’t even afford to send him.”
Grant-Smith was unemployed for some time after being the caregiver for an elderly shut-in.
With no income and six children to care for, “things were very bad” – and so she prayed.
“I said, ‘Lord, I need a job, and whatever I get to do, I will do it to the best of my ability,” she recounted.
Her prayer would be answered when she learnt that Evelyn Spence, a retired social worker, was seeking a household helper.
The St Ann native, unlike many other household workers who work in another parish, is privileged to remain close to her family.
And while she has been a household worker for 13 years, she has had to deal with her fair share of challenges.
“I lost one of my sons. He drowned when he was 12 and that was a very difficult time for me because it was very traumatising,” she said.
This loss came within the first year of her employment and after she had completed the first year of nursing school – her lifelong goal.
Aside from the tasks she is employed to do, she relishes every opportunity she gets to pray with her employer.
“To know that we can come together and have a prayer, even before you start the day’s work, it really starts off the day well,” she shared.
MAN OF THE HOUSE
Becoming a household worker was a plan orchestrated by Tremane Cunningham.
“I actually loved housekeeping from a tender age. My mom is a person who normally cleans the house on a daily basis, and cleaning is something I really love to do,” he told The Gleaner.
The 37-year-old is certified in housekeeping by the HEART Trust/NTA and has been working for just over a year with Michelle Gordon-Sobers.
“When I started working with her, I felt more appreciated and trusted,” he said, adding that his employer gives him the liberty to carry out given tasks the way he was trained.
Cunningham said that while being a household worker is not a job many men would take up, he prides himself on excellence and dedication.
“It’s my home away from home. I do everything that I would do at my home,” he said.
Cunningham added that he only works on weekdays as he dedicates his weekends to his six-year-old daughter, who is his main dependent.
Gordon-Sobers said her employee is most deserving of the accolade.
“He has been an excellent worker, very invaluable to our family. He makes things go smoothly at home and he goes above and beyond. He has a great work ethic and I just had to nominate him,” she said.
Both winners each walked away with a main prize of $500,000 and $200,000 towards their own education or their children’s.