Saturday, 20 February 2016

WORK & CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Youngsters get life-changing counsel at National Career Dev. Expo

SHOW AND TELL: Emprezz Golding (pictured here with Nationwide's Miss Kitty at the expo) spoke about having 'an open mind' when it came to her career game plan.

“A lot of students are leaving school with no plan. Non-traditional careers are taking over, so what are the skills that will help you survive 10, 20 years from now? I’ve lived long enough to share my experiences with you.” So said keynote speaker and entrepreneur Gail Hudson, as she launched into a lively motivational talk that served as one of the highlights at Friday’s National Career Development Expo.

High-schoolers from in and around the Corporate Area turned out in their numbers at the Knutsford Court Hotel to partake of the freebies and life-changing information on offer at the event, now in its sixth year, thanks to a brilliant collaboration between the HEART Trust/NTA and the Ministry of Education.

Given the rapid ongoing evolution of the working world, the constant refrain that echoed throughout the hotel’s Blue Mountain Suite on Friday had to do with mapping out a career game plan that will stand the test of time. “A lot of the jobs are now mobile, but preparation and the right mental attitude will make you successful,” Hudson advised the students. “Make a list of at least ten things you’re interested in and plan how you’re going to do these things.”

But the expo’s strongest asset was the wide-ranging and informative booth displays, with over a dozen local entities on show. Among them: the Jamaica Library Service, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, the Registrar General’s Department, World Skills Jamaica, NCTVET, and the Jamaica Tourist Board. In addition to sound advice and career counselling sessions, the students and their chaperones were treated to massages and manicures that came as part of a demonstration package.

“Since 2011, we’ve been observing National Career Development Awareness Week to promote a culture of career development in Jamaica,” noted Erica Williams, who brought greetings on behalf of the HEART Trust. “Our main aim is to encourage more Jamaicans to think career and use labour-market information to their advantage. You have to know where the jobs are and where they will be. New jobs are coming in and old careers are going out of style.” 
For her part, when it came to motivating the youngsters in attendance, emcee Emprezz Golding shared her trajectory that has seen her developing and diversifying a brand that now includes a hit TV show (Talk Up Yout’), fashion (the Stanley & Emprezz boutique), cuisine (CafĂ© Africa) and, most recently, animation (the puppet show Ackee Walk). “I’ve always had 6, 7 jobs at one time,” Emprezz told her audience. “I didn’t come from anything, but I had love and an open mind.” 

Career counsellor Dr. Marcia Rowe-Amonde says an event like the annual expo remains crucial for motivating the country’s next generation of leaders. “Young people need to be inspired in planning their careers, so this kind of event has to be endorsed. It’s a way for them to get to know about the new and emerging careers and plan accordingly,” she tells TALLAWAH. “So we provide the kind of information that will help prepare them for what’s coming.”

'New and emerging careers - and how to get them - was a hot topic at Friday's expo.'

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