North & East

Hundreds turn out for Annotto Bay job fair

Organisers pleased but say need for jobs greater than ability to provide

Observer staff reporter

Monday, October 01, 2018

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OVER 350 people turned out for a job fair held in Annotto Bay, St Mary, last Wednesday.

The event was held for residents from Annotto Bay and its environs, but scores came from Portland to St Theresa Catholic Church hoping to land a job.

The job fair was spearheaded by the Social Development Commission (SDC) and Heart Trust/NTA through the developmental area committee, Annotto Bay Integrated Development Enterprise (ABIDE).

Approximately 10 employers from various sectors, including tourism, security and small businesses, were present to conduct interviews.

Applicants who spoke with the Jamaica Observer North & East said they were happy for the opportunity because many had sent applications for months without getting any response.

“It was good. They actually told me that I got through,” Naomi Hall from Orange Bay said.

The young woman added that she applied for a job as a server and mixologist with Trident Castle in Portland.

Tameika Henry, from Highgate in the parish, said she was happy for the opportunity but disappointed she was only able to do one interview.

“It wasn't bad. I came with the intention of doing more than one, but because of the crowd I was only allowed one,” she said.

Sadeka Edwards, who said she had been applying for jobs before but had not received any response, also gave positive feedback on the job fair.

“It was pretty good because I got some positive feedback. This has narrowed down the job search for me a bit,” she said

SDC parish manager, Sharwin Reynolds said the concept for the job fair was born out of the community development group ABIDE, which sought the assistance of SDC to address the needs of the community.

“We were approached by the Annotto Bay Integrated Development Enterprise about what we can do about the developmental challenges in this side of the parish,” Reynolds said.

He stated that ABIDE engaged the SDC to write their project proposal. The SDC then approached the Heart Trust/NTA, after which a job fair was planned.

He said the turnout for the job fair was overwhelming and more than expected, however the organisers of the fair were happy that persons responded.

“The turnout today is good because what it says for us is that we are responding to a need that is in the Annotto Bay area, and that is jobs and skills training,” Michelle Garrick, employment and career services manager for the North East Region of the Heart Trust/NTA, said.

Garrick said Heart's role in the job fair was two-fold, as the group participated in an economic fair two weeks earlier by helping people to create their resumes and preparing them for the interview process.

She said the organisation was responding to a need for skills training, employment and entrepreneurial development in the area.

“It (job fair) was a preparatory platform for those people who are seeking jobs. One of the things that we had was a resume clinic which treated with people's interviewing skills, how to dress for an interview, certain tips they need to know in order to land that job,” Garrick explained.

“We also had an entrepreneurship workshop because one of our partners, ABIDE, is a local, economic initiative group here in Annotto Bay that looks at small and medium business operators. I want to thank the SDC team and the Heart Trust team which would have worked assiduously over the last few weeks in executing the events,” she added.

She said it is hoped that as a result of the job fair people will gain a skill or become gainfully employed, or be able to start or expand their own businesses.

Patricia White, chairman of ABIDE, said the community group was also happy with the large number of residents who attended the job fair.

“We were hoping to provide employment for people in the Annotto Bay environment, but what we realise today though is that we have people who are from as far as Port Maria and Portland,” White said.

She said that Annotto Bay is an area that does not have much to offer in terms of employment and so the community group has worked with the SDC and Heart to get employers from outside the community to see how best they can provide jobs .

“I really did not expect so many people and some really good qualifications are here. This is a really good opportunity for people,” she said.

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