GraceKennedy (GK) has re-launched its internship programme, which provides employment opportunities to recent Jamaican university graduates, with no prior work experience.

Speaking at a meeting with the 2023 cohort of interns at GraceKennedy’s headquarters in downtown Kingston earlier this week, GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby explained, “We started this internship based on interactions with young people without work experience who spoke about having a difficult time finding a job. We wanted to give youth the opportunity to gain that experience in a meaningful way. The resumption of this programme therefore represents a win-win-win: a win for GraceKennedy, a win for our interns, and a win for Jamaica. This year’s cohort offers a variety of skillsets, and we are excited to see them show their talents and make their mark in their respective positions within the Group.”

Addressing the interns directly he added, “don’t be afraid to dream, if you work hard, the sky is the limit at GraceKennedy.”

This year’s interns include recent graduates from the University of West Indies (UWI) Mona and the University of Technology (UTech). The programme will run from January to December 2023 and will expose the interns to on-the-job learning, soft skills training and mentorship opportunities across various subsidiaries in the GK Group. At the end of the year, each intern will undergo a final assessment and could be offered fulltime employment with GK.

GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby (centre) shares the lens with four of the company’s 2023 interns cohort, from L-R: Omari Brown; Brianna McGregor, Deshawn Cooke and Melissa Griffiths.

Kaydene DeSilva, Senior HR Officer at Key Insurance and GK Capital Management, participated in the first GK internship programme in 2013 and was subsequently employed by GraceKennedy as an HR Associate. She explained, “Throughout my internship, I had the opportunity to interact with senior managers and learn from others not only in my HR department but across the Group. I encourage this year’s cohort of interns to be open to how they can learn and grow no matter how small the task is that you are given.  It is important to always put your best foot forward and execute at the highest levels, because you never know who will be observing you and how their support can make a difference in your career.”

Commenting on the success of the programme over the years, Chief HR Officer of GraceKennedy Limited, Naomi Holness said, “We are proud of our internship programme because it has produced outstanding employees. Since inception, we have retained every intern after their year was completed, many of whom are still employed with the Group today. We are happy to give our young people a chance to shine and look forward to seeing this year’s cohort do amazing things.”

This year’s interns are graduates in actuarial science, entrepreneurship, economics, management information systems and accounting respectively, and completed their degrees in 2022.

The Graduate Internship programme is part of a series of strategic employment initiatives for students and young graduates offered by GraceKennedy. In 2022, GraceKennedy Limited partnered with the GraceKennedy Foundation, and began offering internships, scholarships and employment opportunities for tertiary students studying data science, mobile software development, digital marketing, user interface design, customer research and graphic design. This Internship programme was designed to create a talent pipeline for our Digital Institute.