Workforce Opportunities & Residency Cayman (WORC) is currently offering 10 scholarships for Caymanian job seekers to participate in certification courses in the three key areas of Construction, Watersports, and Heavy Equipment Operation.
Offered under the Build Your Future Cayman (BYF) banner, established in 2020 to offer scholarships for internationally accredited Technical Vocational Educational Training (TVET) courses offered by Inspire Cayman Training Centre (ICT), these career development opportunities are also available to Caymanians who are seeking a career change.
Commenting on the scholarships, Deputy Premier and Minister for Labour, Chris Saunders said:
We have analysed the gaps in the job market where there are roles available, but we are without enough trained Caymanians to fill them. We have partnered with Inspire Cayman in these specific areas to provide relevant training courses. While the number of spaces in this cohort is limited, we are hopeful that we will have a high success rate and be able to expand the programme moving forward.
Specific courses include PADI Training, International Yacht Training, Introduction to Craft Skills, and Heavy Equipment Training. Further areas of training include Entrepreneurship, Retail, Customer Service, Management & Leadership, Personal Finance Management, and Career Development.
Participants will receive certificates of their qualifications from accredited training institutions including PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research), among others.
Successful applicants will not only receive a scholarship for the three-month course of their choice but will also be placed in mentored apprenticeships and paid a monthly stipend while gaining skills for advancement.
The monthly stipend amount will be the same that we are currently paying displaced tourism workers, which is CI$1,500 per month. This will assist those undergoing the three-month training to support themselves and their families while also gaining vital career skills that will allow them to advance in their chosen field. For the past two years, we have been paying people a stipend to stay at home. I would like to shift that to paying people a wage to learn and grow. Not receiving a salary is often a real barrier for people when it comes to taking up and completing training courses. By removing that barrier, we are increasing opportunities while also offering trainees some real-world experience plus mentoring and counselling support.
Parliamentary Secretary for Education Katherine Ebanks-Wilks is spearheading the project at the Deputy Premier’s request, as the programme is seen as a lifelong learning opportunity.
PS Ebanks-Wilks said:
I am very pleased to be involved in this programme, as the topic of lifelong learning is one that is close to my heart. I have spoken with so many constituents in my district who missed out on education and training in their youth and are now facing loss of employment and the need to make a career change. This programme provides opportunities to people ages 16 to 55, proving that we can always keep learning and developing at any stage of our lives. I am very happy to be involved in offering this chance to those who are seeking new and better prospects in their working lives.
WORC Deputy Director, Sian Pairaudeau also commented on the importance of the programme.
Mrs Pairaudeau said:
We understand how important it is for local businesses to ensure that vacant positions within their companies are filled as quickly as possible. However, it is our mission to ensure that we are providing Caymanians with every possible means of filling those positions. Pragmatically, we are aware that they may not immediately possess the required skills for available roles. We are seeking to bridge the gap within the market by supplying the demand for qualified Caymanians through upskilling.
Michael Myles established ICT, an internationally accredited TVET centre licensed by the Education Council, in February 2019 to help Caymanians develop careers in the trade and technical industries.
Over 380 individuals have received professional development training and employment placements since ICT opened its doors.
The upcoming BYF training contingent will be the second group going through the programme. ICT first partnered with WORC in March 2021 to provide career development training to 10 young Caymanians seeking employment opportunities. All of those participants successfully completed the three-month career training programme.
Mr. Myles has confirmed that a year later, over 80 percent of the first group of trainees have maintained long-term employment. He also told several success stories of the initial participants, including:
Abigail Turner, whose dream and passion to start her own company was realised when she started Cayman Boba, which sells bubble tea online and fulfills orders through delivery;Janilee Dixon, who landed employment with the Security Centre and now provides security services for the Government Administration Building;Claudina Morgan, who is now a Patient Care Specialist who prides herself in delivering friendly customer service and patient care;Vanessa Moore, who is employed at the Westin in the PBX Department and is currently pursuing further training at the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI);Tatiana Ow, who is employed at Corporate Electric as an Apprentice Technician, and will continue to seek further qualifications as she advances her career at the company;Marjorie Rodrigues, who completed her two-year degree at UCCI in Social Sciences and is determined to complete a four-year degree.
Mr. Myles also noted that graduates of ICT have successfully found employment and are building long-term careers in organisations including the Department of Commerce and Investment; the Department of Planning; Island Waste Carriers (IWC); Rubis; McAlpine; Polar Bear; the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman; Tony’s Toys; Go Pro; CML, Walkers; the Cayman Islands Fire Service; Martlet Design; Blackbeard’s; and Grand Old House, among others.
In addition to providing specific technical/vocational certification, we also offer beneficial soft-skills training to our clients and further supplement this training with appropriate job placement and apprenticeships. Our goal is to ensure that these job seekers are provided with every opportunity to obtain the necessary skills to be successful in the labour market. Through mentoring and counselling, participants are also encouraged to address any identified self-perpetuating barriers to employment or career advancement.
Participants are also the subjects of six-month and one-year check-in reports following the end of the training programme to determine if they are fulfilling their goals or if they need any further support.
The application period is currently underway for the upcoming BYF cohort and closes at 5pm on April 22, 2022. The courses will start on Monday, May 9, 2022, and continue for 12 to 15 weeks.
Applicants must be Caymanian or Permanent Resident; between the ages of 16 and 55 years old; computer literate; and have transportation to attend training at least four days per week.
All applicants will be required to register with WORC to be considered for the scholarship opportunities. There are ten available spots to access these courses.
Application forms may be downloaded at www.buildyourfuturecayman.com and returned to [email protected]. Only completed applications will be considered.
For more information, email [email protected] or [email protected]