Leggo Career Jamaica!

Final year students at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Hakeem Bryan and Kirk Douglas trended on social media with their #LeggoCareer2016 hashtag last week that motivated other young Jamaicans to share their stories. After winning praise from the prime minister, national media and of course appreciative peers, they hope to convert their movement into a founding a creative agency business. This is the second post in a series for Youth Month 2016.

The opportunities for youth in Jamaica fall into two divisions: above the surface and beneath the surface. Above the surface opportunities are generally defined as an inherent physical talent such as athletics, football, music – specifically production and artistes. Below the surface opportunities include entrepreneurship, technology and agriculture.

The difference between above the surface opportunities and below the surface opportunities is the fact many gravitate towards above the surface because they are more sensational and the easy gratification they will receive from the country. They fail to understand the rigours that come with these opportunities; they also lack the focus and drive and most times the talent to excel in these fields.

Below the surface opportunities go below the radar in Jamaica as they are not sensationalised by the media and by many citizens. This is an unfortunate circumstance, as these opportunities are leading in profit-making and excelling in those fields almost guarantees the economic boost of Jamaica.

The hashtag #LeggoCareer2016 was created by me and Kirk Douglas, not only to empower youth but also to exert more positivity into the minds of the nation’s youth [editor’s note: leggo mean’s to let go in patois – as in to unleash your career potential]. Too many young Jamaicans have an unfavourable mentality. They tend to be lazy and miss golden opportunities that could further advance their lives. This greatly affects their productivity and vision. Thus, the hashtag was simply created to showcase to young Jamaicans that along with a positive mindset and hard work, many of their goals are attainable.

The reactions to #LeggoCareer2016 were very surprising to us. We expected it to gain substantial feedback and support but we were still quite taken aback as it exceeded our expectations. The far-reaching effects were realised when Prime Minister Andrew Holness responded to the hashtag by interacting with many young Jamaicans who used the hashtag and offered them words of encouragement and support. We’ve also been interviewed on Nationwide FM, in the Jamaica Observer and last night on RJR’s Beyond the Headlines!

Gordon Swaby, founder and CEO of Edufocal, reaching out to us via the hashtag to congratulate and give us advice was an immense gesture. Influential persons like that were a big plus, but it was even more exceptional to see the reactions of other young Jamaicans who otherwise might have believed that “their career won’t get leggoed”. #Leggocareer2016 gave them hope.

The reception to our hashtag showed to me and Kirk that young Jamaicans are indeed sure of themselves, they are sure of what they want and what it takes to attain it. It also showed us that the tribalist mentality of Jamaica hasn’t attached to many of our fellow young Jamaicans who freely offered advice to their peers. After realising that we had a special effect on the mentality of young Jamaicans, giving them a platform to express it influenced us extensively. It propelled us to achieve everything we have set out in this life for ourselves and for our country.

My plans are very simple; however, they are not laid in stone yet. I want to ensure that the company Kirk and I have started continues to exceed our expectations. If our influence continues to grow, hopefully we will climb the social and financial ladder so that we can continue reaching the audience of young Jamaicans, while also ensuring our commercial success. Another long-term goal of mine to establish myself as an influential person is to transcend Leggo Career Jamaica to Leggo Career International, giving Jamaica a voice on a global platform.

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