Almost 1,000 applicants turn up for 16 jobs at new pharmacy in Jamaica

Fontana representatives speak to job applicants before their interview. (Photos: Naphtali Junior)

(Jamaica Observer) Close to 1,000 people have so far turned up to a job fair staged by Fontana Pharmacy to fill 16 positions at its new Waterloo Road location in St Andrew.

“I am pleased with the number of people who turned up so far,” Fontana Pharmacy’s Human Resources Manager Georgia Bonner told the Jamaica Observer.

The fair, which started on July 29 and is scheduled to end today, is being held at the Ministry of Labour on North Street in Kingston.

Bonner said that of the 16 positions only two — pharmacy technician and beauty consultant pharmacy — proved a bit of a problem finding qualified applicants.

All the applicants who either went to the ministry’s North Street office or applied on the ministry’s website are given tests in civics, math, English and comprehension. Those applicants who score well on the tests are invited to do an interview.

“Aside from the applicants being qualified educationally, we want them to be trained formally,” Bonner said. “The applicants who have gone through the HEART Trust/NTA Programme and the Ministry of Labour have proven to be more beneficial than others. Some people have on-the-job experience and no formal training, but unfortunately we require formal training.”

Most of the applicants said that they were drawn to Fontana’s reputation as a pharmacy, while others are just passionate about the positions they applied for.

“Fontana is a big establishment and it would allow me to expand my knowledge in the customer service field as I gain more experience,” said Deseree Buckley.

“I applied for warehousing and distribution because that is what I studied at the Caribbean Maritime University,” Buckley explained.

Another applicant, Nichola Stephens, said that she worked in a pharmacy before and she likes the environment.

The Ministry of Labour’s Component Coordinator Lindon Ford said that working with Fontana for an on-the-job training programme for a few years has fostered a partnership.

“The idea itself came from Fontana because its team wanted to give the ministry the opportunity to showcase what it does best, as the ministry tries its best to provide its employees with the skill set they are looking for,” he said.

The partnership has allowed the ministry to incorporate the use of its new Labour Market Information Service Mobile app.

Ford said that the mobile application allows people to apply for jobs that are posted on the ministry’s website and to develop their resumes.

“The ministry would love to partner with other companies. The use of the skills bank that has the skill profile of those people who are registered into the ministry’s database and the mobile application will allow us to provide for the employer’s needs,” he said.