Success rate of NWDA in question

| 18/06/2015 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tara Rivers, Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs

(CNS): The employment minister has said the government’s National Workforce Development Agency is not a recruitment agency but still aims to help people find work. The ministry’s job centre was called into question Friday, when members of Finance Committee queried what the agency was doing, as it voted for over $1.5 million for this year’s budget. With more than 500 local workers registered and over 300 jobs a month coming in, MLAs questioned why it is placing so few people in work.

The minister said that the latest statistics from the agency indicated that in April alone 314 vacancies were posted with the agency but just 48 local people were placed in a job as a result of applying for those posts.

Employment Minister Tara Rivers told her committee colleagues that a lot of improvements had been made at the agency, which has seen its financial allocation for this financial year increase from just over $1m last year to more than $1.5 million this.

She said that the agency had cleaned up the database and that while those job seekers who accessed the full suite of support services were only referred to employers for jobs in their experience and skill range, a large number of people registered with the agency were applying for the vacancies posted on the site directly and they may not all be qualified.

Rivers explained that the goal of the NWDA was to identify the training needs of job seekers and help them address the barriers to work, but it also allows access to all its vacancies to anyone who registers. The agency does not function like a recruitment consultant where employers specifically ask the NWDA to find them candidates, she noted.

However, the minister said there was a need to look at all the reasons why locals were not getting work and “get to the crux” of why employers are not hiring suitably qualified Caymanians. She said the placement rate of 48 people, when the agency had received more than 300 jobs in one month, was an indication of mismatches in the system, but she also pointed to the challenges of finding work for unqualified and low skilled workers.

She said that there had been improvements in transparency and the ability to track what happens to applicants. The boards, she said, were now fully aware of who was available for work in a particular industry and which local workers, if any, had applied for the specific position they were being asked to consider work permits for.

“At least we are now able to see what attempts are being made … and we are moving in right direction,” the minister said.

Pointing to the e-government initiative, Rivers expected even more improvements in the system in future as the cooperation between the NWDA and the immigration boards continued to improve.

As the MLAs questioned the minister, East End MLA Arden McLean raised the issue of the conflicts that exist around the work permit system, impacting Caymanians from both sides. On the one hand, he said, local employers are prevented from getting work permits because the NWDA was sending unsuitable applicants for jobs and delaying permit grants, while job seekers are being squeezed out of the market by employers who tailor positions to fit existing permit holders.

He said in an ideal world someone from the NWDA should be sitting in on interviews to find out what is really going on, as he believed the NWDA and immigration are all taking the word of employers without checking what was really happening during the recruitment process.

McLean said he believed it was time for government to remove the work permit application process from immigration and leave them to police the borders and prevent undesirables from entering Cayman, leaving the employment department to deal directly with the approval for an employer to seek a permit when local workers can’t be found.

The idea of taking over the work permit system from immigration has been a longstanding talking point but no government has ever embarked on the process and each administration continues to reply on the immigration department to approve the recruitment of overseas labour.

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Category: Jobs, Local News

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why does she always make me think of Finding Nemo………

  2. Anonymous says:

    This agency is a waste of time as is the immigration department….absolutely no one is upholding the immigration laws….employers know they can tailor their ads so specifically a job seeker would have to pretty much DNA match with the work permit applicant. The government has shown it only cares about creating lower level positions and the immigration department has shown they will only uphold regulations if they have a personal connection to a Caymanian applicant.

  3. Anonymous says:

    NWDA is a dismal failure and Tara will ultimately be held responsible for this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This department has succeeded in employing one guy from New York and who ever else works there. A complete waste of our money.

  5. Christopher says:

    I signed up with the NWDA nearly four years ago, I was asked to bring in all kinds of documentation – a very long process – and then told that I should “keep my cell phone on” as if there would be all kinds of calls for me. I didn’t hear anything for a year- not even an email – nothing. And then I got a phone call asking me what I thought of the service. The only other interest in me came from someone who worked in the offices there and told me to come and see them about something that was their own private project, and which I contributed to – but it was never paid for. Since then their help for me has been less than minimal. I feel that they are geared up to making work for one another – they are not client centered at all. So far, I’d say, to be really fair, their “help” for me has been next to useless. I am still hopeful, though. I don’t feel they are serious about helping unemployed Caymanians at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      What, you allowed them to ignore you for a whole year? Might I respectfully suggest that you think about that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its the Cayman Islands. No government official EVER gets back to you.its up to you to keep reminding them.

    • Anonymous says:

      did you try and ring them regularly, in my experience to get any government employee to do anything you have to make it more painful to not deal with than it is to just sit around doing nothing.
      I’m sure that is why so many people have been applying by themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize that it is your responsibility to chase them not the other way around. They have jobs and are sitting pretty, it is YOU who needs to make it happen because they certainly will not.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I suspect not a lot actually happens at the NWDA, as with quite a few other government agencies. All they really need is a website where employers can post vacancies and application details for Caymanians, then they could use the other $1,499,000 doing something useful like hiring decent teachers to improve the general employability of the locals.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dropping the D would provide a accurate representation of this agency.

  8. jjingle Bells says:

    Anonymous…..hey you dickhea The young people soon take Cayman back from the elected idiots and engage in some ethnic cleansing to clearup the cloudy skies getting in our way! and while theyre at it cayman need to go independent from the UK like Scotland so we can get ahead in life, the UK is only holding Caymaians back with this old colonial stinking draconian worthless system taht enslaves her colonies and the inhabitants!

    • Anonymous says:

      Here is a tip for the future, don’t type posts when you are on crack.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are an example as to why your people cant get ahead ,You lack the mental ability to understand that you are not in the jungle anymore.
      You are a failure. If it weren’t for others trying to bring you forward you would still be eating bugs. By the way it was your fellow Caymanians whom elected your current masters

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh dear you just lost your argument with the racial undertones. Eating bugs is not a sign of being backward, but eating caged antibiotic riddled meat could be!

      • Anonymous says:

        That poster almost certainly hails from islands to the east. One of the former colonies who blame all their failures in the half century since independence on the British. The sentiments expressed are not those of true Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        Racist. Didn’t those responsible for your upbringing teach you to respect? Very uncivil and maybe why you can’t contribute anything positive to society?

  9. jjingle Bells says:

    The Agency don’t need improvement Tara its the people’s lives that need to be improved starting with Caymanians first in their own homeland. How about stopping the work permit sales and give our people a chance at life, all you elected officials will one day have to come back to the private sector when we kick you all out

    . Be careful who you meet on your way up you may meet them on your way down and have to ask them for a job! life is funny and has a habit of coming back to bite you!Don’t be a one term Minister Tara, association with Alden will cost you a tab of One term if you allow Alden’s lax attitude toward labor issues rub off on you. I see the UDP in a landslide victory in 2017, its getting easier and easier with this poor PPM performance!

    • Anonymous says:

      You cant move forward because you are not able too
      It has nothing to do with getting a fair chance Look at Obama he became president on merit not the fact he was from Kenya or black.
      Work permits fill the jobs you cant and are not qualified for I am sure if you were willing to start at the bottom you could be a CEO if you have the ability. If not stop blaming those that are better than you.
      Also why are you posting when you should be at work?
      Perhaps you are at work and stealing your employers time

    • Anonymous says:

      The youth wing of the UDP have started their online election campaign a little earlier than expected. This was posted by their most literate member.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There is no Caymanian unemployment problem.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Many months ago-not that long after the election – I posted here (massive thumbs down) that Tara and Winston (both very bright products of our public school system) -would quickly learn that the reason that there are all these “brilliant unemployed Caymanians” being kept out of work, according to Ezzard, is that …er…there are NOT a bunch of brilliant Caymanians out of work, just stumblebums with poor or fake qualifications or those with mental issues or those with dreadful work attendance history ( a MASSIVE problem in Cayman, sorry Ezzard). Bring on the thumbs again but it will not change anything.

    • Tis The Season says:


    • Anonymous says:

      That is like a white person posting that there is no such thing as racism only black people who like to complain. Pure ignorance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fake qualifications, you say. As an expat, you shouldn’t even go there!

      • Anonymous says:

        Generalise much?

      • Anonymous says:

        You are an expat 12:59? You should be ashamed of yourself for using fake qualifications but thankfully it is exceedingly rare since the qualifications of foreigners (normally coming from obviously valid and verifiable institutions) are scrutinized very carefully while those of SOME born Caymanians have the birth certificate looked at first and then the sometimes, NOT ALWAYS, Mickey Mouse University of the Universal Holy Bible looked at next.

        • Anonymous says:

          Who needs to attend MMUUHB when a Caymanian passport is the only qualification needed for many many professions?

  12. Rp says:

    Recently out of 80 applicants for the prison job only 4 were shortlisted. That’s about 3 percent. The reasons given were no show to interview and inability to pass employment tests. For NWDA 48 out of 500 translates to almost 10 percent which spells success in relative terms. Could the reasons identified during the prison job drive be same reasons NWDA is accepting such low employment rate?

    What is the definition of unemployment? Jobless, capable and willing to take employment! If no show to interviews then those unemployed demonstrate they are not willing and as such they should be placed on welfare lists rather than unemployment list. If not able to pass the tests then they may be reaching for unsuitable positions. NWDA should demand that they seek appropriate positions for their qualifications and accept them when offered.

    So how many of the 500 can prove that they are seeking employment daily and doing all they can to obtain employment? In Canada you must submit weekly firms showing how many resumes you sent, to which company and to whom before you can pick up your unemployment check. No proof of actively seeking employment for one week and benefits are cut off and welfare kicks in at lower pay.

    What is NDWA’s definition of unemployed vs welfare recipient?
    How does NWDA ensure that all listed meet the definition?

    Our unemployment rate may be a lot lower but our welfare rate may be a lot higher.

    • Anonymous says:

      You try doing what is done in Canada to show who is capable of working or a welfare recipient and no politicians would get re-voted in. Due to these career politicians on Cayman almost everything government touches is quasie.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hear, hear!

      Tara believes there is a conspiracy among employers to not employ Caymanians and that is what all her actions and policies are designed to tackle. The facts are irrelevant to her.

      Never mind that employers employ 90% of the Caymanian workforce and that many Caymanians don’t show up for scheduled job interviews and won’t even apply for unskilled jobs even though they have no skills or that an employer would have to be not merely prejudiced but clinically insane to want to go the hassle and expense of applying for a work permit if a remotely suitable Caymanian presented him or herself.

      Conspiracy I tells ya!

      What she fails to realize is that one cannot solve a problem that does not exist, no matter how hard one tries.

      By doing so one is simply dooming oneself to failure.

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