Andrene Lewis-Longwe has declared that her new company will not only hire and deploy people who are carefully screened and properly trained, but will also ensure that they are paid better than minimum wage.
Her firm, Break Barriers Caring Hands (BBCH), is providing an alternative to nursing homes. It is caring for senior citizens and other clients in the comfort of their homes across Jamaica.
During the launch of BBCH in Kingston on December 10, Lewis-Longwe said: “We recognize that our staff are our most valuable assets, and so due diligence must be given to their well-being. It is my heart’s desire to do better than minimum wage, to invest, and to ensure their role comes with benefits and in line with any employment rule and regulation as outlined by the Government of Jamaica.”
Turning to the issue of screening, she told prospective clients: “We will ensure that the right staff with the right skill sets are placed in your homes… We will implement a similar system to the one we use in the UK to allow us to track our staff, monitor and support and deliver services in real time. We will ensure that all staff goes through various forms of check to identify and verify that their standing is good and reputable before employment. This has been and will always be our approach to care.”
Lewis-Longwe further disclosed that most of the recruitment will be done through the state-owned HEART Trust | National Training Agency.
Special Projects and Partnership Specialist at HEART, Tashia Johnson, during the BBCH launch, indicated that the training agency is mindful of the need for high standards.
She told the BBCH boss: “When we are looking at our candidates [for employment in your company], we have to screen them to fit your business. We will identify the trainees that meet your requirement. First, we will do an interview, then we will screen, shortlist and provide those candidates to you for you to do your own screening.”
Johnson said she is also mindful of BBCH’s thrust to ensure that its Jamaican operation reflects the high standards for which its parent company – Break Barriers – is revered in the United Kingdom (UK).
In the UK, the parent company has been placed in the highest of the three industry ranks, said Lewis-Longwe, who is also a graduate of HEART Trust | National Training Agency.
Lewis-Longwe, who was raised in the community of Christian Pen in Gregory Park, St. Catherine, migrated to the UK in 2002. She worked in the UK homecare services industry for years before starting her own operation.
Lewis-Longwe expressed hope that residents of her native community in particular will capitalize on the employment opportunities being created through BBCH.
One of her first employees in Jamaica, Shantenie Dwyer, who hails from Gregory Park, is excited about being a member of the BBCH family.
She said this is the first time she is hearing about a company that provides homecare services to people in the comfort of their homes, adding that she is accustomed to seeing people being brought to nursing homes ‘where most of them are uncomfortable’.
Dwyer further stated that the recruitment process for BBCH was ‘very smooth’.
“We are fully trained to deliver the services that we offer here at BBCH Jamaica… We know how to take care of our customers; we will never forget how to take care of our customers,” she further told the audience at the BBCH launch.
Dwyer also lauded the company’s clients for enabling it to provide employment opportunities for people on the island.
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