11,000 students get summer work through TEF

TOURISM Minister Edmund Bartlett says the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) Summer Internship Programme has “reached a new high” which he says is an offshoot of the economic growth spurt being experienced by the country, which has seen eight consecutive quarters of fiscal growth.

Speaking during a media briefing to share critical insights into the successes of this year’s staging of the programme in the Corporate Area on Thursday, Bartlett said out of the total 14,000 young people who signed up for the programme, more than 11,100 were employed in 136 areas across Jamaica.

In 2022, more than 800 students were selected to participate in the programme of which successful candidates were selected from a pool of more than 7,000 applicants then.

“The summer internship programme that the TEF has been managing has reached a new high in 2023…and it is correct that this year should be the highest level of enrolment and involvement that the programme has had,” the tourism minister said.

The TEF Summer Programme, started in April 2007, aims to provide transitioning high school and university students with valuable work experience across various sectors. Under the guidance of the Jamaica Centre for Tourism Innovation (JCTI), the programme partners with organisations in all 14 parishes. Participants gain real-world experience over six weeks while receiving mentoring from professionals in the field. All interns can earn the Certified Guest Service Professional designation from the esteemed American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) as part of their development. Fifth form students received $14,500 per week, sixth formers $16,500 per week, first and second-year college students $18,000 per week and third-year students and those up to the masters level $20,500 weekly.

Bartlett, in emphasising that the jobs were not “high paying”, told students Thursday that the remuneration was not a reflection of their “value” but more a reflection of what can be afforded at this time.