It might surprise you, but many of the 15,000 team members currently employed directly in the tourism industry in Saint Lucia began their journey via internships. By definition, an internship is a professional learning experience that offers meaningful, practical work related to a student’s field of study or career interest. An internship gives a student the opportunity for career exploration and development, and a chance to learn new skills.

The fact that internships do not earn the intern any monetary compensation during their period of job training is enough to make many deem them unattractive. But Krishna Joseph saw the bigger picture after graduating from Corinth Secondary School (CSS) in 2015.  

After spending some time after that studying Information Technology at the Centre for Adolescent Renewal & Education (CARE), a friend told Joseph about the Jus’ Sail Youth Training Programme, and she signed up immediately.

Aside from offering charter guests the chance to relax and slip into the flow of a truly unique and laid-back Caribbean sailing experience, Jus’ Sail also offers training, certification and employment opportunities within the marine industry to disadvantaged local youth.

After she completed her training with Jus’ Sail, Joseph interned at Sea Spray Cruises Ltd., where she was able to gain on-the-job experience before returning to Jus’ Sail as a paid crew member. Two years later, she’s still with Jus’ Sail, but has since been promoted to the position of First Mate.

“Leaving school, I never thought I’d end up becoming a sailor,” 23-year-old Joseph said. “My goal back then – and now – is to become an international cricketer and play for the West Indies Women’s Cricket Team. I’ve played some regional cricket back in the day, so I’m still interested in the game.”

As First Mate, Joseph is second in command aboard the vessel and must be capable of assuming full command should the Captain become incapacitated. The Captain relies heavily on the First Mate to supervise and coordinate day-to-day activities of all members of the deck department, and to participate fully in those activities.

“Over the past two years, I’ve been enjoying the experience on the job while improving myself physically and mentally,” the Roseau resident explained. “I’ve developed a greater passion for my job, so much so that I’ve actually put my other dreams on hold to pursue sailing.” 

The other dreams to which Joseph refers are to become a Captain and sail around the Caribbean, and to become an international cricketer and play for the West Indies Women’s Team, having played regional cricket at school. 

While the pleasure cruises that form the basis of her job do have their perks, Joseph admits that the job is not always smooth sailing. The unpredictable nature of the weather and people she must confront on a daily basis are challenging, but also character-building.

“I take comfort in the fact that I will not be meeting the same set of people every day on the job,” she said. “Nevertheless, I have learned to make the necessary adjustments and be prepared for anything. Having an open mind also helps.”

Like many people who earn a living from being employed in the tourism sector, Joseph says the importance of the sector should never be downplayed, given the wide range of opportunities and possibilities that exist for the taking. 

“Tourism is one of Saint Lucia’s main sources of income. Therefore, the sector gives people like me opportunities to earn a living from the sector. So I’m really hoping that the sector continues to grow and get better,” the young sailor noted.

And as for the value of internships, Joseph believes that quite often people lose out on great opportunities due in part to never being willing to learn the ropes. While a paycheck is important, she says it must not be the only factor when an unpaid opportunity opens up to endless possibilities.   

“Never think of the money first when it comes to opportunities, especially internships,” Joseph advised. “Always try to think of what the possibilities can be five years ahead. If you’re not sure the internship is for you, then don’t waste it. There’s always someone else who might need it.”