Growth & Jobs | New Website Launched For Jobseekers, Small Businesses

As the country navigates this period of unprecedented health and economic challenges, the JN Foundation has launched a new resource to offer support to Jamaicans – individuals and businesses – in need of support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new website, www.jnlisting.com, is targeted at more than 600,000 JN members and strives to bring together persons seeking jobs and employers and also provide a space for micro and small businesses to promote their products and services.

“As an organisation created to support people to navigate difficult times, we have designed this facility to assist Jamaicans, who have been particularly displaced, so that they can create their own opportunities and regain their independence,” general manager of the JN Foundation Onyka Barrett Scott said.

The site comes amid grim projections by the Bank of Jamaica, which revealed in August that the economy would contract between seven and 10 per cent this fiscal year, significantly above the four to seven per cent it had initially forecast.

Its predictions were supported weeks later by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, which forecast a decline of between eight and 10 per cent in output for the financial year as it acknowledged a devastating 18 per cent decline in output for the quarter ending June when compared to the same period in 2019.

INCREASED UNEMPLOYMENT

Unemployment is also predicted to increase to between 10 per cent and 12 per cent, up from the relative 7.5 per cent rate of 2019, the Bank of Jamaica said.

Making meaning of the data, a study released in September by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute found that 80 per cent of households had lost an average 46 per cent of their income since restrictions began in March.

“These are not ordinary times. There are many families and households which are experiencing severe challenges due to the fact that breadwinners are no longer earning. Some have lost their employment while many others have experienced significant reductions in their income, and our state agencies predict that the road ahead of us is going to be very difficult. Therefore, to rise again, we must support each other,” Barrett Scott said.

PHASED ROLL-OUT

She explained that JN Listing would be rolled out on a phased basis, initially targeting small and micro businesses.

“In the second phase, JN member companies and businesses which we serve will have the opportunity to post available jobs on the website. Job seekers will also be able to upload their résumés for potential employers to access,” she shared.

Persons will be able to search for opportunities on the website by parish or by category.

“The site is easy to navigate, and we believe that it will provide a wealth of valuable information and become a meaningful space for persons to find opportunities,” she pointed out.

Other resources on the website include information to assist users improve their financial literacy, calculators, and career materials.

“We are aiming to create a holistic space where persons can be empowered to manage their finances, and we will also be providing career resources to assist persons to become better informed professionals,” Barrett Scott affirmed.

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JN Foundation Calls for Application for Climate Innovators Pitch Competition

The JN Foundation, through Water Project Jamaica, is inviting entrepreneurs, climate change activists, women, young people and members of the wider public to enter the JN Climate Innovation Challenge Competition.

The competition will be held over a two-day period, in the context of a boot camp, October 26 to 27. Interested persons are encouraged to submit their application by Sunday, October 11. Subsequently, eight applicants will be shortlisted for the competition. The application form can be accessed via the Water Project Jamaica website at www.waterprojectja.com.

Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, said that the competition will identify suppliers and entrepreneurs who are providing solutions to climate related challenges, particularly solutions geared to residential and/or commercial industries and solutions addressing climate resilience generally, but with a special category focused on water adaptation.

“This challenge is designed to empower existing and aspiring entrepreneurs to ideate, plan for and develop lines of businesses that help to solve a climate related challenge; and overall, promote increased climate resiliency, particularly in the residential sector,” she explained.

She pointed out that the competition, will also provide specific avenues for women and youth-led climate resiliency businesses to participate.

Cornelia Walters-Jones, project manager, The Water Project Jamaica said the prizes are enticing, with a first prize of J$2 million; second prize, J$800,000; and third place, J$575,000. In addition, winners will be hosted for six months to a year, in an incubator or accelerator programmes at the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center in St Andrew.

The Water Project Jamaica is being administered by the JN Foundation. Its objectives are to facilitate the uptake of water adaptation measures in the housing sector across Jamaica. These include:  the use of rainwater harvesting systems; water efficient taps and showers; low-flush toilets; efficient irrigation systems; and grey water recycling facilities, as well as other appropriate efficiency measures.

Other objectives of the project are to increase climate resilient housing in Jamaica, through greater awareness about the business and financial cases involved in developing and building homes, with water efficient measures.

It is also aimed at promoting efficiency in the use of water by Jamaicans in their homes; improve the reliability of water supplies and thereby, enhance the country’s water security and climate resilience.

The competition is in line with the upcoming Climate Innovation Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Jamaica, March 2021.

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JN Foundation Offers Opportunity for Tertiary Scholarships

The JN Foundation is offering 15 one-year tertiary scholarships to attend universities and colleges in Jamaica.

The deadline for the submission of application is October 5, and perspective applicants are invited to access the application on the JN Foundation’s website at https://www.jnfoundation.com/jn-scholarships/.

To be eligible for the scholarships, applicants must be: Jamaican; must have completed one year at one of the eligible institutions; and applicants should have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0.

Other requirements are that applicants must have a relationship with a JN Group company for at least one year, either as: a member/customer or be a client of JN Bank, JN Fund Managers, JN General Insurance, JN Life Insurance, JN Small Business Loans, Jamaica Automobile Association or JN Money Services.

The applicant should be a student at any of the following institutions: The University of the West Indies; the Northern Caribbean University; the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts; the College of Agriculture, Science & Education; or, the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean and Teachers’ Colleges.

Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, said that one of the priority areas of the JN Foundation is education; and, that the Foundation welcomes the opportunity to contribute to molding young Jamaicans, to give them a chance to achieve their full potential.

“These scholarship offers are an investment in our future, because an educated population is the foundation of every community and the future of every economy,” she said.

These tertiary scholarships are the most recent education offering by the JN Foundation, which awarded 35 students with five-year scholarships in August, in recognition of their outstanding performance in this year’s Primary Exit Profile (PEP).

The PEP cohort consisted of one recipient from each parish and county, while 18 are children of employees of The Jamaica National Group

Concurrently, more than 100 other students, who are at various stages in their five-year scholarship award, had their scholarship renewed for the new school year.

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Green Island Primary Top Boy Awarded Scholarship

Twelve-year-old Jayheem Cole does not allow challenges to daunt him. In fact, he gets a thrill from undertaking tasks that require problem solving. It is, therefore, no surprise that he readily immerses himself in the mental rigours of mathematics and chess.  Understandably, he wants to become a scientist.

“Chess is all about strategy. It makes you think. I like working out things,” he said, while maintaining that, playing chess is a good exercise for the brain.

Come October, Jayheem will be among scores of new students at Ruseas High School, where he earned a space, as a result of achieving a 333.5 placement score in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP). In recognition of his excellent performance, he was awarded a five-year scholarship from the JN Foundation and named the JN Foundation Scholar for the parish of Hanover.

The scholarship award was a dream fulfilled for Jayheem, who is a consistent ‘straight A’ student and emerged as the top boy at Green Island Primary. He was also among the top five boys in PEP for the parish of Hanover.

“I felt good getting a scholarship, because I studied hard and did well,” he explained.

A resident of Green Pond in Hanover, Jayheem was among 35 top PEP performers across the country, who have been declared JN Foundation Scholars. The cohort consists of one recipient from each parish and county, while 18 are children of employees of The Jamaica National Group.  Concurrently, more than 100 other students, who are at various stages in their five-year scholarship award, will have their scholarship renewed for the new school year.

Jayheem attributes his success to his adult sister, Saleem Johnson, and his mother, Marsha Grant, for helping him to prepare for the PEP.  He asserts that other students will also excel, if their parents are actively involved in their education.

“Parents should help them to study by giving them quizzes. They should give their children a good breakfast so they can learn well,” he suggested.

Jayheem’s mother, a secretary at a high school in the parish, concurs.

“I wanted him to do well. I sent him to extra lesson [classes].  He did not miss school unless he was sick. I follow up with him, to ensure that he does his homework.  He spends long hours studying.  He is a child who will do his work even if I’m not around.”

Ms Grant, a single parent, pointed out that Jayheem’s father passed away when he was four years-old and that she was quite elated when he was awarded a scholarship, which will relieve her of some of the expenses associated with his education.

“I’m really happy. I was feeling hungry when I got the news.  After that, I did not want anything to eat,” she said with a chuckle. “I am so proud of him. From basic school, he has been doing well. He is a brilliant child.”

When not focusing on schoolwork, Jayheem enjoys playing cricket and surfing the internet.

Since the inception of the JN Scholarship Programme in 1983, hundreds of students at the secondary level have benefitted.

Close to 300 scholarship applications were received via the JN Foundation’s website this year. However, as part of the eligibility for the scholarship, the child or parent was required to be a member, customer, or client of the Jamaica National Group for at least a year. 

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JN Foundation Awards 35 PEP Scholarships

Jeffrey Campbell, better known as Agent Sasco, engages scholarship recipients in a motivational talk at the JN Foundation Scholarship Reception held last September.

Thirty-five students were awarded five-year scholarships by the JN Foundation, in recognition of their outstanding performance in this year’s Primary Exit Profile (PEP). The cohort consists of one recipient from each parish and county, while 18 are children of employees of The Jamaica National Group

Concurrently, more than 100 other students, who are at various stages in their five-year scholarship award, will have their scholarship renewed for the new school year.

Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager at the JN Foundation, pointed out that hundreds of students at the secondary level have been benefitting from the scholarship programme since its inception in 1983.

“Despite the various challenges that we are all experiencing right now, the JN Foundation is pleased to continue support for the education of our future generation and to celebrate their excellence,” said Barrett Scott.

“This year’s cohort is one of a kind, as they are facing a scenario for which none of us could have prepared them. The COVID-19 pandemic has created some amount of anxiety for the new school year; and this will certainly call for a lot focus on the part of our scholarship recipients,” she related. 

Marshalee Powell, a single parent of Barbary Hall in St. Elizabeth, and mother of 11-year-old Arriana Hewitt, who emerged the JN Foundation scholar for St. Elizabeth, welcomed the scholarship award.  A worker in the tourism industry, Powell was laid off in March due to slow business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Getting this scholarship is a big deal. I’m overjoyed,” she said, adding that she was optimistic that her daughter would have been awarded the scholarship due to her consistent high academic performance.

Arriana, a former student of Black River Primary and Infant School, achieved a placement score of 345 to earn a place at Hampton High School.  She is equally overjoyed about the scholarship award and vowed to continue her high academic performance at her new school.

Barrett Scott disclosed that more than 100 persons had applied for the scholarships via the JN Foundation website.  However, as part of the eligibility for the scholarship, the child or parent was required to be a member, customer, or client of the Jamaica National Group for at least a year.  

In addition to the PEP scholarship awards this year, 16 students at the tertiary level, attending The University of the West Indies, the University of Technology, Jamaica, the Northern Caribbean University, and the University College of the Commonwealth, will receive financial assistance to pursue their studies.

With the exemption of the scholarship award to the University College of the Commonwealth (UCC), which is reserved for a JN employee, The JN Foundation’s one-year tertiary scholarship can be accessed through the scholarship office at the respective universities mentioned.

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St. Elizabeth High Achiever Awarded JN Scholarship

Arriana Hewitt, JN Foundation Scholar for St. Elizabeth

When Arriana Hewitt placed second in the end-of-year academic results in Grade Four at the Black River Primary and Infant school, she cried. Since grade one, she has been at the top of the class and being unable to achieve her usual scholastic feat left her heartbroken.

Her persistence to maintain her high academic performance over the years has borne fruit, as she gained a placement score of 345 in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), which earned her a place at the Hampton School, the top school of her choice.  In recognition of her accomplishment, she emerged as the JN Foundation Scholar for the parish of St. Elizabeth and was awarded a five-year scholarship by the organisation.

“I was extremely glad, I was so overjoyed,” said eleven-year-old Arriana, a resident of Barbary Hall in the parish.

Despite doing extremely well in PEP, Arriana related that she felt doubtful that she would be awarded the scholarship, when her mother applied for it on the JN Foundation’s website.

“I believe that a lot of persons would apply for it,” she related.

Arriana, along with 34 other top PEP performers across the country, were recognised as JN Foundation 2020 scholars. The cohort consists of one recipient from each parish and county, while 18 are children of employees of The Jamaica National Group

The scholarship award was not a surprise to her grade six teacher, Nicolette Samuels McIntosh.

“Arriana has been a high achiever and a top student at our school, who doesn’t give up easily. Whatever she puts her mind to, she goes for it.  She is friendly and gets along well with her peers,” the educator pointed out.

Samuels McIntosh also disclosed that Arriana achieved perfect scores in the PEP Ability Test in grade six; and highly proficient rating in mathematics, science and social studies in PEP, while in grade five.

A prefect for the past three years, Arriana proved to be an all-rounder, who also did well in extra-curricular activities. She was captain of the schools’ challenge quiz team; a member of the debating team; and the math club. She also excelled in sports, as a member of the netball and the track and field teams.

“Don’t only focus on schoolwork; also pursue extra-curricular activities. When you focus only on schoolwork, you will get tired of it, and your brain will become lazy,” Arriana opined.

Outside of school-related activities, she enjoys reading; cooking her favourite meal of fried chicken and rice and peas; and playing dominoes, a game, she mastered by frequently observing her uncle and his friends play.

“I know how to ‘read’the game. I beat [won] my uncle twice,” she related.

Arriana, who is keen on becoming a nurse or paediatrician, is looking forward to attending her new school.  Already, her determined spirt is evident.

“I want to come first in class,” she said.

Like her peers, who are entering high school in October, the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is a concern.  However, she explained that, if her new school resorts to online classes, she will be able to cope.

“I had ZOOM classes in Grade Six,” she related. “I am also confident that I’ll be able to participate in online classes at Hampton. I don’t want anyone to catch it [the virus], because many people are dying from it.”

The scholarship awards marks the 37th year since the inception of the JN Scholarship Programme in which numerous students have benefitted from five-year scholarships. They are required to maintain at least a 70 per cent average for the renewal of their award, each year. 

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JN Circle Distribute Vouchers to Needy Affected by COVID-19

Troy Bygrave (right), business relationship and sales manager presents electronic hand sanitizer to a representative of the St Thomas Parish Library. Sanitizers were also presented to the Morant Bay and Yallahs Fire Stations and the Morant Bay Police Station.

The Jamaica National Group, through its JN Circle Chapters, distributed some $9 million to fund projects and deliver grocery vouchers, to provide assistance for persons at the community level, who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds were made available through a Member Welfare Fund, which was established in March 2020, to deliver relief to those in need; and provide support to persons and organisations assisting the vulnerable; as well as, persons on the frontline, helping to control and treat COVID-19.

Claudine Allen, member ombudsman of The Jamaica National Group; and lead of the JN Circle, stated that the Fund has assisted the organisation to reach more persons who are in need.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left the most vulnerable of our society in need. Therefore, this initiative was deliberately designed to assist those persons who have been affected,” Miss Allen informed.

She noted that the Fund was being administered by the JN Foundationand the JN Circle; to provide grant funding for initiatives, which seek to bolster the efforts of communities in the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

One beneficiary from the Fund was The Jamaica Constabulary Force in Christiana, Manchester, which was assisted to keep its team safe, while they were on the job.

The supplies included masks, hand sanitizers, detergents, and a snack counter for officers, working on the late shift. They were presented to the police, courtesy of the JN Circle Christiana.

“This gesture is timely. COVID-19 is being taken seriously by the police officers here; and, as part of the first responders to the pandemic, we are very exposed. I say a big thank you to JN Circle for this donation,” Inspector Simon McCormack, of the Christiana Police Station, said. 

Alethia Peart, business relationship and sales manager, at JN Bank Christiana, said that the police were identified for assistance, given their first responder role, in the fight against COVID-19.

The JN Circle Morant Bay made presentations of electronic hand sanitizers to the Morant Bay and Yallahs Fire Stations, Morant Bay Police Station and the St Thomas Parish Library on June 29.

All 16 JN Circles are currently identifying needs within their communities, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and are seeking ways to alleviate those issues through the JN Member Welfare Fund.

To date, through the fund, the JN Group has contributed $1.5 million to the Nurses Association of Jamaica, to assist the country’s nurses in their fight against the spread of COVID-19. The work of the National Council for Senior Citizens, the umbrella organisation what provides support to senior citizens, was also enhanced by a contribution of $1 million, through the Member Welfare Fund. The Police Federation and other communities across the country have also benefitted from the Fund.

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Growth & Jobs | Help Your Children To Become Financially Literate

Rose Miller, grants manager at the JN Foundation, is recommending that parents inculcate financial awareness in their children at an early age.

“It is essential for raising a child,” she insisted. “Teaching children how to become financially aware at an early age will help to develop in them good money-management skills and other habits which will help them throughout their lives”.

The JN grants manager, who has responsibility for the foundation’s BeWise financial empowerment programme, posits that from an early age, children should be exposed to financial literacy as it helps them to understand the value of money.

“It helps them to understand how to earn it and grow it, manage it, and generally how they can navigate the financial arena, which can be quite intimidating.

“Our young children are like sponges; and their creative minds are constantly picking up new traits. Therefore, it is the best time to inculcate excellent saving habits,” she pointed out.

Miller explained that these saving habits should be actionable. This requires parental involvement. Opening a savings account for their children is one way parents can kick-start their children’s journey to financial independence.

The JN Foundation grants manager said that the opening of a savings account is a demonstration of a commitment to the process and that the action will have positive, far-reaching implications for families in the future.

10-10-80 FORMULA
“Parents could start by purchasing a ‘saving pan’, or repurposing any suitable receptacle, such as a large plastic water bottle, where their children can deposit their spare change.

“As children get older they can be introduced to the 10-10-80 formula, which recommends that they save 10 per cent of any money they receive. This practice is a solid way to ensure financial security when they become adults,” she advised

She continued: “Teach your child the concept of disciplined saving by ensuring that they add to their savings regularly; teach them that in the long run, consistency will pay big dividends. They should also be encouraged to have a saving goal and to be committed to that goal and not dip into their savings prematurely. Move money from their savings pan to their bank account at intervals,” Miller advised.

She said children can also be taught the concept of delayed gratification by encouraging them to save towards achieving personal goals and objectives, such as expensive toys, gifts for friends/family, and entertainment outings.

“It is perfectly appropriate to add to your children’s savings effort, using the opportunity to teach them how interest on savings is calculated.”

KNOWLEDGE EXPANSION
Miller stated that parents can also help to expand their children’s knowledge base on finance by spending time watching educational videos about financial literacy with their children on websites and on YouTube.

“There are also many books which can be accessed free of cost on the Internet. Over time, children will become more financially savvy, and will naturally elevate their conversation from saving to investing as they become aware that investing is where real wealth is created,” she underscored.

The JN Foundation’s BeWise financial empowerment team leader also pointed out that along with financial literacy, it is important for parents to prepare financially for their children’s education.

“As you plan for their training, you should also make the necessary preparations for them to access tertiary education. If parents succeed in these two areas, they would have provided their children with a solid platform to not only enable their own financial security, but also by extension, the financial success of the country,” she explained.

Miller asserts that as the level of financial literacy increases, the level of financial inclusion in the society will increase, which will have a positive impact on the economy.

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More Protection For Children Along Holland Bamboo Avenue

Road-safety infrastructure installed at a section along Holland Bamboo Avenue, in St. Elizabeth, has been effective in better safeguarding the lives of residents living in the area.

In an interview with JIS News, Principal of Holland Primary School, Simone Doctor, said the amenities have been particularly beneficial to students at the institution.

“Anything that has to do with school development and the development of the children, I am always on board. So, all of the amenities and facilities that have been put in place, the children are utilising and they are keeping them safe all around,” Mrs. Doctor said.

The road-safety infrastructure includes a small bridge, sidewalks, laybys, and school-safety and speed-limit signs. They were installed as part of the 2019 Labour Day activities where Holland Primary School was among four institutions selected as national projects by the Labour Day Secretariat.

“The children are appreciative, because they know it is an exact location for them to stand. So, where the sidewalks are, that is where they stand to take vehicles,” Mrs. Doctor explained.

“The [speed] sign has been posted, and right now it is 30 km. Also, rumble strips have been installed on either side of the pedestrian crossing. So, those rumble strips would give the drivers warning to say that you are coming up on a pedestrian crossing, so slow down,” she added.

The Principal said that some sheds at the laybys would be welcome additions to further benefit the school and community.

One resident, Marsha Wilson, told JIS News that the community is grateful for the road-safety infrastructure.

“We feel very good because a long time we want it,” she said, noting that she also has a son and a niece attending Holland Primary School.

“Before, it was very chaotic because the children never had any sidewalk. So, we are glad we get the sidewalks,” she added.

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Chevannes Basic School Celebrates Christmas

Students and teachers at the Chavannes Basic School in Barbican were in a celebratory mood as the bathroom facility at the 43-year-old school was renovated and upgraded by the JN Bank Member Advisory Council.

“The bathroom was in a really bad condition,” said Caroline Brown, principal of the school. “Termites were eating away at the boards. Then JN came in and they assisted us as the facility became unsafe for the children.”

Brown said that the work involved removing the infected boards, spraying, replacing the bathroom vanity and toilet, as well as repairing the roof and improving the ventilation of the facility.

“The children are happy for it. Therefore, I extend our gratitude to JN Bank as we really appreciate the work which was done to improve the facility,” she said.

Christine Chambers said the Council decided to focus on early-childhood institutions for its project, and, as such, identified several of those institutions which needed assistance. Subsequently, Chevannes Basic School, which had greater needs, was selected.

“As we walked into the facility, my asthma triggered. It was an old trailer which was retrofitted. The inside lining of the bathroom was infected with termites. Therefore, to address it, we had to remove the entire lining of the bathroom and replace it,” she said.

“We are very happy that the Chevannes Basic School was selected, because those little children needed a bathroom facility which they could use in comfort,” she added.

Saniah Spencer, chief of marketing and product development, JN Bank, said that the Advisory Council was happy that they were able to assist the institution.

“The MAC (Member Advisory Council) tried to identify projects that would have an impact, and Chevannes Basic School is an institution which serves the communities of Stand Pipe, Papine, Gordon Town and as far as Portmore, St Catherine. Our children deserve the best and JN Bank was happy to be on board for the project,” she said.

The JN Bank’s MAC, formerly known as the Branch Advisory Councils, were established in 2006 to provide JN members with the opportunity to engage directly in the identification and selection of projects within their communities and positively

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