Jamaican News

Tourism Ministry Hosts Summer Internship Programme

The Ministry of Tourism has, this year, once again afforded hundreds of youth the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience within the hospitality sector, through the ‘Spruce Up Jamaica’ Tourism Summer Internship Programme.

The initiative, which started in 2008, is being spearheaded this year by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).

Some $25 million has been provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) for the engagement, which commenced on July 8.

It entailed the placement of high-school and tertiary students, aged 16 to 25, in employment within private sector tourism entities, and government ministries, departments and agencies for three weeks.

The programme’s primary objectives are to expose young academics to various aspects of the tourism industry and the role it plays in the society, forge partnerships with private stakeholders, provide financial support for needy youngsters, and increase awareness of the linkages between tourism and other sectors.

Speaking at a rally for interns at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (July 24), portfolio Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the programme continues to create opportunities within the sector for the nation’s youth, in keeping with its objectives.

“Tourism now employs, in the Caribbean, one in five of all workers, and here, in Jamaica last year, we earned US$3.3 billion, which represented 53 per cent of the total foreign exchange earned by the country,” he said.

In this regard, Mr. Bartlett thanked members of the private sector who have been partnering with the Government on the programme’s execution by facilitating and enabling interns to gain work experience.

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Alando Terrelonge, who also spoke at the rally, endorsed the programme, noting that it will help to reduce youth unemployment.

“The Government has taken youth unemployment from a high of 37 to 26 per cent between 2012 [and] 2015, and we have consistently seen a decline and youth unemployment in Jamaica now stands at 19.7 per cent,” he said.

One of the interns, Cleon Campbell, said the programme has helped him to be more responsible and develop better work ethics.

“This programme has provided many others with the means to gain financial independence, even if it’s just for a short time. This programme has also provided much needed experience and professional skills that young individuals like myself need to gain,” he added.

Fellow intern, Monique Joseph, said the experience has shown her the different career choices available in tourism and helped her to network.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *