Digicel, Amber partner to kick-start careers for graduates | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Jamaica’s next generation of digital leaders and innovators were part of the first cohort of 27 students who graduated from the Amber HEART Academy on June 1, 2022, at the AC Hotel in New Kingston.

The event also manifested immediate job opportunities for all of the graduates, five of whom will be taking up internships at digital operator, Digicel.

They are the first of 20 graduates of the coding programme who will be appointed to roles at Digicel.

As a strategic partner to Digicel, Amber has also been working with other digitally focused private sector firms, including the National Commercial Bank (NCB), throughout the pilot phase of the programme, to ensure that 100 per cent of the graduates receive job placements at all three entities.

“This programme represents alignment between education and industry. This is revolutionary, in that, we’re putting the needs of the industry first,” said Prime Minister Andrew Holness as he delivered the keynote address.

A constant campaigner for job creation in the emerging digital economy, Holness expressed his appreciation for the stakeholders who quickly mobilised to develop the coding programme during the pandemic and ensured that each graduate was placed in a job.

“This is proof of the concept that we can get things done; we can get them done, quickly, we can get them done efficiently, and we can get them done meaningfully because the most important thing here is what these graduates feel – they feel accomplished,” he said.

As the first 27 graduates look forward to the world of work, Amber is already preparing for the next phase of its partnership with HEART. This involves the establishment of the Amber HEART Institute of Coding – the first of its kind in the Caribbean. The Institute will provide training and certification in digital skills to hundreds of students within its first year.

“Jamaica has leveraged the sun, sea and land for decades, it’s time now to focus on human capital,” said Dushyant Savadia, who charged other employers to join Amber, Digicel and NCB in employing future graduates from the skill-based training institute. “Times have changed; the world has changed. The time has come for us to embark on the journey to employ persons because they are skilful and not deter them for their ambition.”

Each member of the graduating class has received a level three NCTVET certification from HEART – the second-highest certification available locally.

The Digicel five! From left: Akinyene Thompson, Javoniel Trowers, Latoya Jackson, Saneika Lewis, and Kevorn Callumwill are set to begin internships at Digicel following the Amber Heart Academy graduation.

A confident Amber HEART Academy graduate turned Digicel intern, Shaneika Lewis, said, “I do believe that youth across Jamaica really need to take the initiative to learn a skill like coding because it can be life-changing. My life has been changed.”

She will join four other Digicel interns who are slated to begin their placements later this year.

“I’m excited for my internship at Digicel,” Lewis beamed. “Hearing in my interview about the impact Digicel has made globally was interesting, and I love that they try to incorporate everybody, like persons with disabilities.”

Amber has also partnered with the Digicel Foundation for the National Coding in Schools programme to promote digital literacy and exposure to coding for students in grades one to 13. All students who successfully complete the programme at the grade 13 level will qualify for placement in the newly established Amber Heart Institute of Coding, driving digital transformation and making Jamaica’s youth ready for the evolving job market.

CEO of Digicel Jamaica, Jabbor Kayumov, commented: “As Jamaica’s digital operator, we are focused on attracting and retaining persons with the right digital skills that can enable us to introduce new, exciting innovations to our customers.

“I am especially excited about the fact that two of the five coders joining us are women because this is a big part of how we achieve gender diversity and more inclusion in our workplace,” he added.