The Human Employment and Resource Training Trust, National Training Agency known to most Jamaicans simply as ‘HEART’ is a key driver on Jamaica’s road to development. Formed in 1982 and restructured by the amended HEART Act in 1991, the Organisation focuses primarily on stimulating economic growth and job creation. This can only be achieved through the creation of a highly skilled, productive and competitive workforce.
The HEART Trust/NTA operates 27 Technical and Vocational Education and Training locations which focus on providing a variety of training options to ALL Jamaicans seeking to advance their career options. With programmes geared at transforming the lives of school leavers as well as employed persons who require training and certification, HEART Trust/NTA is active in engaging members of the society.
I was a HEART Trainee working for the SAGICOR. I remember the day that I was called and asked if I was interested in starting the programme, as they already had my resume in the system for a job that I applied for before but was not successful in the interview. I declined. As far as I was concerned, I have a degree, wah mi a do wid dat?
I declined and told the rep that I’ll pass on this opportunity. It was as if God was talking to me right after. All I could think of was yah eediat? You only have a degree showing academic qualification but you can only get call centre work? Getting this would make job applications a bit easier for you.
So Jermaine decided to call back and I got the details for the interview. This was the first time in which I prayed so much to God for something I want. As far as I was concerned, this is an opportunity I had to have and doing this could take me places.
On the day of the interview, while waiting to see the panel, I received another phone call from another company who wanted to do an interview for another call centre. The confidence I displayed during the phone call got me another one for the following week after the one I had that day. I was high for 10 minutes.
I walked into the interview at Sagicor and spoke with a level of confidence I tend to express alone in my room. They called me to start the next day……I cried.
My transition from a call centre to an office was and still is an interesting one. I had a culture shock where I was told it was OK if I had to leave to conduct business and go over my lunch hour (once i don’t abuse it). I’ll still get paid. I got the weekends off, I had my own desk and office items.
Then there was the negative side, not everyone was happy at my transition from one company to the next and the fact that I was a HEART trainee. As the stigma is still attached that you can’t do much with their certificate. Employees were shocked when I told them that I am involved in club activities, I write blogs and I was then the VP for my Optimist Club.
When I think about where I was before Sagicor and after I’m happy I made the decision to leave. Most of the persons I’ve met here started just like me and now hold permanent positions. So why can’t it be the same for me?
There are basics to administrative duties that I didn’t know where important. Through the Business Administration programme I also received on the job training and I am able to make my experience here a better one. Most importantly, if you want to move up you HAFFI work. The more you know and apply yourself, the better it is for you. This doesn’t mean I have forgotten my previous jobs, as they have helped shape who I am. They have helped me to move out of my comfort zone and work to improving myself while here at Sagicor.
This new job has been a humbling one for me, I have come to respect the HEART Trust NTA for what they have been doing over the years, to provide skills training to those who seek it.
It has taught me that I should not limit myself to learn, I have grown in more ways than one and have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people. Even if my contract was not renewed ( it has). I can be assured that the experience gained from working with Sagicor can take me places.