JAM | Feb 11, 2024

Careers: Being an intern puts you on amber before the green light

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Working as an intern has always been a fantastic gateway to a career. It allows young people an entry into the world of work and allows them an opportunity to decide whether this is the path they desire to take.

The company or institution one joins always looks to identify and harness potential and many pay a modest salary or provide a stipend – after all you are at the very beginning of your journey, entering a field with no experience.


What the intern receives is invaluable experience, a launching pad that points one in the right direction.

An internship is not a career. There is no guarantee that after completing an internship, normally around six months to a year, it becomes mandatory that you will be hired.

No company makes that promise. You are constantly being assessed and evaluated. You have to put in the effort, demonstrate discipline and turn up in a professional fashion.

Amber Group CEO Dushyant Savadia delivering his remarks at the AC Marriot Hotel in New Kingston during the June 1 graduation ceremony of the first cohort of students at the Amber Heart Academy. Seated is Prime Minister Andrew Holness. (Photo contributed)

The Amber HEART Coding Academy provides training for students. Last week 88 students graduated after completing their one year course.

It is very disappointing to hear interns labouring under the misapprehension that they have landed full-time jobs and are therefore set for life. No, your journey has just begun. You are in a training incubator before you go out into the world of work.

Amber Group has no obligation to provide you with guaranteed employment.

One cannot expect to be employed if you use the time watching porn, turning up to work extremely late, refusing to follow instructions, failing to display a work ethic. Such behaviour will not endear you to the company you are interning at.

The Amber Group took on the first cohort of 25 students, and then a second cohort of 45 students. They were given internships for a year. Ten went to Digicel, and another ten to NCB. Amber paid its interns very well at around J$100,000.00 per month after tax. It provided health care and three weeks paid leave. It continued with funding, accommodation, meals, laptops and coding training at its own expense.

Amber HEART Academy 2021 graduate Camille Newman (centre) stands proudly beside Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) as she collects her job letter from CEO of the NCB Foundation, Nadeen Matthews Blair.

Not bad for youngsters between the age of 18 to 21. It cost the company around US$600,000 a year, no small sum for a company which is practically a start-up. Salaries form a large part of operating costs and with high inflation and interests rates characterising last year, companies looked to trim expenditure. The aim is to stay in business.

Some of these interns are now bad mouthing the Amber Group and its CEO Dushyant Savadia. Amber provided opportunities at great cost for interns to develop into software developers, but at no time did it promise guaranteed jobs. Many were given 30 days notice, which is standard practice.

Founder and CEO of Amber Connect Dushyant Savadia.

Interning is just the beginning.It doesn’t mean that’s where you will end up for the next forty years of your working life.

Some notable international professional personalities served internships and cite it as a critical part of their professional development.

Oprah Winfrey is cited as one of the few women media billionaires. She served an internship at WLAC-TV. Microsoft founder Bill Gates interned as a Congressional page. Elon Musk who owns X, formerly Twitter, spent time as an intern at BNS and Microsoft Canada.

The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, has cited useful time as an intern at computer company,Hewlett Packard. Film maker Spike Lee showed promise as an intern at Columbia Pictures with probably the world’s greatest film maker Steven Spielberg’s talent being identified while he interned at Universal Studios. CNN anchor man Anderson Cooper, aged just 19, worked as an intern at the CIA.

In each case, none of them continued their lengthy careers where they interned.


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