JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Kemar Rose, a final year student at the University of the West Indies (UWI) is looking towards an exciting future in events and production management, thanks to the valuable training and work experience being gained at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).
  • He is among a group of 50 youngsters, ages 17 to 24 years, who are employed as events production assistants at the culture agency.
  • As a result of his exposure and involvement in the promotion of services and products of the JCDC, Kemar says he will be pursuing a degree in marketing after completing his studies in journalism at UWI.

Kemar Rose is a happy and grateful young man today.

The final year student at the University of the West Indies (UWI) is looking towards an exciting future in events and production management, thanks to the valuable training and work experience being gained at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).

He is among a group of 50 youngsters, ages 17 to 24 years, who are employed as events production assistants at the culture agency.

They have been assisting in the execution of JCDC programmes, including national, celebratory and commemorative events across the island.

As a result of his exposure and involvement in the promotion of services and products of the JCDC, Kemar says he will be pursuing a degree in marketing after completing his studies in journalism at UWI.

“For me, I have become so much engrossed in marketing and I have decided that after I finish my journalism degree, I am going to do another in marketing,” he tells JIS News.

The initiative is part of a collaborative effort between the JCDC and the National Youth Service (NYS), agencies of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, to equip young people with skills in events production and management, to pursue jobs in the field or to start their own business.

In March this year, the group benefitted from a one-week training course at the Kendal Camp and Conference Centre in Manchester. Topics included were: Events Planning, Events Budget Preparation and Monitoring, Customer Relations, Elements of Production, Basic Décor, Set Design and Construction, First Aid and Fire Safety, and Basic Protocol.

They were then placed at the 13 JCDC offices across the island for a period of six months and given the mandate to assist with programmes and activities for the recent Emancipation and Independence celebrations, which began in June. They will also assist with activities for the upcoming Heritage Week celebrations in October.

Kemar, who is assigned to the JCDC’s head office in Kingston, tells JIS News he is glad he accepted the invitation to be part of the six-month project.

“I was a bit hesitant at first as to whether or not I should go, because I was not sure if it was something I wanted to get into. And then, I was convinced; I went in and I loved every single bit of it,” he gushes.

He says the training programme has enlightened him about the rules and implications of events planning.

Kemar is proud of his contribution to the successful staging of the recent activities for Festival 2014. He says that he and the other production assistants worked “very hard”

“When we saw how really meaningful our contribution was, I was ecstatic, even though we worked long hours into the night, leaving after everybody (the patrons) had gone. It was really rewarding to see the excitement of the crowds and the joy of the participants. It made us feel very great,” he tells JIS News.

Kemar says that working with the culture agency has also caused him to be more respectful of and knowledgeable about Jamaica’s culture.   “We learnt more about the maypole, the quadrille dance and all the different facets of our culture,” he notes.

Despite the busy work schedule, Kemar says he has made many friends.  “Right now, I have a large network of friends across the island at offices that I can call at any time for advice and that in itself, is really fantastic,” he says with a smile.

He is expressing gratitude to the management and staff of the JCDC, noting that the agency “is an amazing place to work. You have great people there; people, who teach you and try to bring you along a specific path and give you words of encouragement. You can only learn more and get better as time goes along.”

Executive Director of the NYS, Melvin Smith, tells JIS News that the experience being gained by the participants is “meaningful” and forms part of the Ministry’s thrust to encourage youth entrepreneurship.

“We see events planners, events assistants as being potential business owners. Jamaicans love events, love parties, love activities and if we are going to put them on, we need to do them well. So, it was about providing the skills to these persons, who want to be events assistants, managers and coordinators,” he explains.

“They now understand how to plan an event. What are the rules? What are the implications of planning an event? Who are the agencies you must go to get permission? How do you fund events? How do you get sponsorship? How do you promote an event?  What about security? So the whole gamut of running a successful event was taught to them,” he continues.

“So, it is a very meaningful experience that they are being given under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, through JCDC and we are very proud and pleased that we could partner with JCDC to do that,” he says, adding that the project will also “drive and help with community development.”

The Executive Director tells JIS News that an evaluation of the project will be done in order to determine the way forward and whether “we and JCDC will do it again next year.”

“We are open to doing it once there are interested persons, and that it works well, and we can see the benefits,” he says.

Executive Director of the JCDC, Delroy Gordon, is also optimistic that the project will last.

“We hope that it will continue and from all indications, we are pleased with the results, and I think the NYS is pleased as well, and so we are hoping that we can do this on an annual basis,” he says.

Mr. Gordon says that events management has grown rapidly over the years and has become an important element in the conceptualization, planning and execution of successful events.

“It provides employment for young people. It provides additional training for them. When they leave us they are so well trained and experienced in events management – given the fact that the creative and cultural industry is what is leading now as one of the economic drivers internationally – that they should be able to find gainful employment with the private sector, hotels or establish their own businesses,” he points out.