TBY talks to Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick, Director, British Council Jamaica, on the sector.

Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick

What is the role of the British Council in Jamaica?

The British Council is the UK's international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We have been working with Jamaica since 1943, when we provided an annual grant to the Institute of Jamaica to fund specific projects, such as the extension and equipment of the Junior Section of the Institute of Jamaica and for the improvement and addition of stock to libraries and community centers. In return, the institute provided contacts and space for British Council activities.

Are your objectives here aligned with the potential in Jamaica and what the government seeks to promote?

In Jamaica, we have three main areas of work: arts and creative economy, with a focus on social transformation, creative economy, and downtown Kingston; basic education, with a focus on supporting and strengthening educational transformation and mainstreaming core (basic) skills in the primary, secondary, and TVET curriculums; and social enterprise and youth engagement, with a focus on improving access to youth employability skills and closing the school to work transition gap. We work with local and UK partners to deliver programs in these three areas that are sustainable, impact led, and mutually beneficial to the UK and Jamaica.