Jamaicans sacrifice time and energy to attend job fair
A burning desire to care for her two children, ages two and 14, is what pushed Susanna McKenzie to leave her home in Ewarton, St Catherine, to attend yesterday's cruise ship job fair in St Andrew.
McKenzie, 32, said she arrived in Kingston at 6 a.m., to tender her application. An enthusiast of the food and beverage sector, she said it was an easy decision to make the trek.
"I used to work as a cashier and it was not enough to care for them. The big one is going to high school and I have to think about the subjects [external examinations] and the fees are going up. I have to think about their future, it's about their betterment. Mighty God me a tell you say me couldn't make this miss me because this will be a big opportunity for me. I am doing this for my kids," McKenzie related, her eyes welling up with tears.
McKenzie was among scores of Jamaicans who braved the sweltering heat, determined to attend the job fair which was hosted at the offices of the HEART College of Beauty Services on Hope Road. Like her, some travelled long distances and made tremendous sacrifices to have a chance to be selected. Akeem Johnson missed a day at work at one of the island's private hospitals where he is employed as a nurse to tender his application.
"I have been here since five this morning. This is an opportunity to widen my horizon so why not? Any young person would like to jump at this opportunity, why not take the chance? There is room for improvement and it is a step up in life. So everybody weh you see out here right now in the line, dem a jump at the opportunity because it presented itself," the 24-year-old shared with the news team.
And even though he is currently employed as a healthcare worker, he argued that he is eager to broaden his horizons by seeking greater opportunities outside the borders of Jamaica.
Johnson, like others who attended the job fair, is seeking to secure one of the coveted 10,000 jobs available in the global cruise industry.
Like Johnson, Matthew Samuels, who is employed in the public sector, was decked in his best professional garb, standing in queue outside the HEART offices. Samuels said he was pushed by members of his church and his mother to attend the job fair. He is optimistic that he will land a job as a head chef, having received formal training and level 1 certification as a chef from the Genesis Academy.
"I need to better myself, to be more independent and to help take care of my mother. I left my home in Red Hills at five this morning and when I came and saw the crowd, I was determined not to leave. Me say 'Me nah lef here till me get through'. My family wants to see me progress and getting this job, it will help me to give back to my country. If I do get the job, I want to open a homework centre," Samuels told THE WEEKEND STAR.