Wednesday 14 November, 2018

Diaspora students start Gracekennedy internship programme

GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme interns (from left) are Joshua Tulloch, Anastacia Davis, Kayla Green and Keenan Nembhard. Photo via GraceKennedy, Facebook.

GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme interns (from left) are Joshua Tulloch, Anastacia Davis, Kayla Green and Keenan Nembhard. Photo via GraceKennedy, Facebook.

Four university students living in the diaspora have been selected for participation in a five-week cultural and professional internship programme offered by GraceKennedy Limited.

They are Joshua Tulloch, a student at Oxford University in the United Kingdom; Keenan Nembhard, a student at Carleton University in Canada; Anastacia Davis, a student at Full Sail University in the United States; and Kayla Green from the University of Binghamton, also in the United States.

Aimed at highlighting all the aspects of Jamaican life, while at the same time furthering the career goals of the candidates, the GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme is targeted at second- and third-generation Jamaicans, who will be placed in selected areas of the company.

State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, commended GraceKennedy for “birthing this vision”, which began in 2004.

“It is an excellent platform for our young leaders and students in the diaspora to experience the professional environment through placement in your subsidiary companies,” he said.

Charles Jr., was speaking at the 2018 launch of the programme, held at GraceKennedy’s headquarters in downtown Kingston on July 2.

The State Minister encouraged GraceKennedy to expand the 14-year-old programme in a collaborative way with the Government under a Ministry initiative which facilitates engagement with the diaspora.

He likened GraceKennedy’s Jamaican Birthright Programme to the Government’s Technology Advancement Programme (TAP) out of the Science, Energy and Technology Ministry, which provides practical training to young people.

“The training is in information and communications technology (ICT) to 1,000 young people between 18 and 35 years over a 12-month period. It is anticipated that this programme will serve to empower young people, and will ultimately engender greater use of ICT in Jamaica,” he said.

For his part, Director of Tourism, Donovan White, congratulated GraceKennedy for this “meaningful programme”.

“The importance of the Jamaican Birthright Programme is pivotal to sustaining the vibrant culture, history and values of the island among the generations of diaspora communities around the world,” he said.

White said the investment by GraceKennedy is significant, because it gives the interns a “first-hand experience to touch, taste, feel and see the best of Jamaica, while forming invaluable social and professional bonds and building deeper connections to the place of your heritage”.

Meanwhile, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GraceKennedy Limited, Senator Don Wehby, noted that the Jamaican/Caribbean diaspora is important to its ambitious vision of becoming a global consumer group brand by the year 2022.

Wehby informed that since its inception, the programme has graduated more than 41 interns, a few of which have gone on to occupy important positions in society abroad.

One such intern is Sanchia Alasia from the United Kingdom, who participated in the 2004 programme and was recently appointed as Mayor to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Wehby encouraged the interns to “enjoy the work experience at GraceKennedy and enjoy Jamaica”.

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