CIG launches welfare to work project

| 04/02/2016 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service

Alden McLaughlin, Cayman Islands Premier

(CNS): A new government work placement initiative spearheaded by Premier Alden McLaughlin has been launched with the creation of a task force chaired by the premier and supermarket boss, Woody Foster. The Ready2Work KY project aims to encourage local employers to hire local unemployed people without risk to their bottom line. Government will subsidise the training of workers and cover the costs of health insurance, pensions and other expenses employers may incur and childcare costs for workers.

Officials said Ready2Work KY will bridge the gap between unemployed Caymanians and the labour market. A public-private sector initiative, the aim is to support employers while they take on locals that may require training to fit the criteria of a job, and support unemployed Caymanians as they train to fit a specific job in the workplace. The premier has described the programme as similar to a government-supported apprenticeship.

Although local unemployment fell from 9.4% in 2013 to 7.9% in 2014, it increased slightly to 8% in 2015, according to a half-yearly labour force survey in 2015. However, government sources say they anticipate the figure for the end of 2015 will be considerably lower.

The premier has said that, although his administration has focussed on local unemployment and creating “a stable environment for economic growth”, the numbers of locals unable to get work is high, given that there are more than 22,000 foreign workers in Cayman.

“There is a segment of our society for which more can be done to assist them in breaking through the barriers to meaningful full time employment. The Ready2Work KY initiative is the first of three approaches that government is undertaking in this regard,” the premier stated in a release about the launch of the welfare to work programme.

The task force, which officials said would “ensure meaningful dialogue” between the private sector and unemployed Caymanians, had their inaugural meeting this week and a website has been launched outlining some of the details. A spokesperson for the premier said more details would be revealed at a press briefing later this month.

Over the course of the next few weeks the Ready2Work KY Task Force will work with interested businesses to roll out the programme to ensure individuals moving into potential jobs have been properly vetted to better match employers to employees.

Despite its critics on both sides of the employment divide, officials said the National Workforce Development Agency is now in a position “to serve as a valued partner and facilitator in the training, development and employment of Caymanians” and will play a part in this placement programme. After the research and development of the programme, it was presented members of the business community and the premier said it has been welcomed with enthusiastic feedback from business leaders wanting to participate.

“As of today, we have several quality business leaders coming forward to work with government and to help lead the way with the Ready2Work KY programme,” McLaughlin said, without naming any of the potential employers.

Employment Minister Tara Rivers, who is also a member of the task force, said, “This employment and welfare to work initiative lets government address the issue of unemployment head on by matching private sector employers with unemployed Caymanians.”

The premier thanked Woody Foster for joining him as co-chair of the task force, as well as the private sector leaders who had stepped up to the plate to give advice and guidance on how to make the programme successful.

“Their input is greatly appreciated,” he said, thanking Rivers, Chief Officer Christen Suckoo, Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia and their team “for their hard work in putting the programme together”, as well as Community Affairs Minister Osbourne Bodden and his ministry, the National Workforce Development Agency and the Needs Assessment Unit “for their work in making this successful”.

Foster said he was excited to work on the initiative and give it “everything I have to assist in putting Caymanians to work in a sustainable way”.

Other members of the task force include Chamber President Paul Pearson, Mark Vandevelde, Garth Arch, Mark McIntyre and Betty Baraud, along with ex-officio members, the premier’s senior political advisor Roy Tatum and the Ready2Work KY Coordinator Tasha Ebanks-Garcia.

The initiative stemmed from a report completed last year by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Employment (IMCE) which has not been made public. CNS has requested a copy of the report.

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Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I got status just so I can be entitled to free education and cheap medical and be entitled to any job I am halfway qualified to

  2. Anonymous says:

    I will believe the politicians and private citizens when they make a stand themselves and fire their “foreign” helpers, employ in their business or homes only Caymanians and systematically take on school leavers. Will that happen, of course it won’t. The very people I hear denigrating the work permit system are the very ones who have foreigners only in their business.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As long as successive Governments continue to place major emphasis on the revenue earned by issuing work permits, and refuse to enforce current employment requirements, this Ready2Work KY initiative is just a lot of hot air.

    What about implementing apprenticeship programs requirements, which have been touted by “john public” for years? What about enforcing training programs to ensure that a local will have an opportunity to assume a role after the departure of a WP holder? What about improving the education system,? The latter will take longer to see results but the two other options already exist – just for Government to grow the cojones to seriously enforce them!

    Clearly the need for WP revenues and the ineptness of the relevant public sector departments to enforce existing regulations are two main factors in Caymanian unemployment!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Did everyone ever think that by actually enforcing the existing labor laws (as shitty and as antiquated they may be), it would actually avoid the import of all those indentured labor slaves and force certain companies to stop underbidding and undermining those companies who actually do pay and treat their employees as they should? In turn this would enable Caymanians to actually apply to certain “untraditional jobs” and sustain a living and not compete against those permit holders who are willing to shack up 10 in one room and sleep in shifts?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that children whose parents have suffered many hardships to afford their offspring a overseas university education can not find any decent jobs when returning to Island? Nobody wants to give someone a chance to get a entry level position. For years it was said that Caymanians do not have the right education, now they don’t have the education from the right place or not sufficient experience. When will the excuses stop?

    Why do Temp Agencies get the applications for people they bring on Island rubberstamped without anyone batting an eye lid? All their work permit applications are “temporary” applications which get extended time after time. Caymanians seem to be unable to get work these days without going through a temp agency where they get a shitty medical coverage, 10 days vacation at the most and someone else it taking a junk of their pay, all because companies on Island are allowed to hire through Temp Agencies without any restrictions, rather than employ someone directly. When is Government waking up to see that the lack of regulating temp agencies has created a huge issue in the job market?!?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr. Premier and the members of the committee. Please reinstate the overseas educational grant to CI $30,000.00 that was cut to CI $20,000 during the recession. Also, you can give local students the same CI $30,000 educational grant as your educational grant doesn’t take account that local students have to pay 29% tax on everything they consume.
    That way, local students don’t have to work and can focus on getting that 2.1 and 3.0 that is so strictly enforced.

    “why the PPM got to be so possessive” them and civil servants act like the tax they collect is theirs and doesn’t belong to the people. That is why I call them possessive! craven like a bunch of rats fighting over cheese

    You can also focus on the welfare to work programme but the students of this country are trying to get an education so that we don’t have to be on welfare or take jobs at Foster’s Food Fair.

    LASTLY, UNRELATED BUT VERY IMPORTANT! The duty on imports is the most backwards way and ineffective way of collecting revenue. Please….please…please just stop collecting import tax and bill each property in Cayman on their utility bill based on square footage of house and water consumption matrix an amount of tax. That would get rid of so much corruption and discretion in the tax system. Each and every day untold amounts of duty waivers and smuggling goes on and a whole office of customs officers treats customers rudely. If customs was a law enforcement branch only costs in this here cayman islands would go down very fast as business would have less hassle and more speed in collecting goods. This would be a major boost to the economy and create jobs by efficiency ….

    • Anonymous says:

      Rather than waste money on third rate institutions in Florida, encourage students to take advantage of UK passports and use the better and cheaper UK university system instead. If students want to be lazy and stay local they can pay for it, unless there is a specific identified need to study in the US.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stop this nonsense that everything in the UK is better. There are many prestigious universities in the USA, including in the Southern States. Also, if one has a UK passport they can go anywhere else within the EU – does not need to be the UK!

        • Anonymous says:

          But the UK offers much more cost effective education and if people want government handouts the money has to be better used. That the point. A year at the University of Tampa is twice the price of a year at the University of Oxford and the English schools have 3 year honor degrees.

      • Anonymous says:

        Perhaps you should speak from an informed position on this matter. Government demands that students complete at least their first two years at our university before going overseas to study.

    • Anonymous says:

      Complete fool

    • Anonymous says:

      Here is a novel idea. Let middle class Caymanians pay for their children’s third level education. For those with no funds let the CIG operate a loan scheme. Why should private enterprise pay for your child’s education when you are quite capable of paying for it yourself. Any money saved could then be spent where it is actually much needed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    There was I thinking that the whole CIG was a welfare system and understandably a means to employ mediocre Caymanians.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I can only think there’s a great deal of smoke and mirrors here. Tasha used to work on Passport2Success, which is, essentially, a retirement fund for the owner of the Wellness Centre and has had such a small impact that it’s hardly worth measuring.

    Ready to Worky, or whatever it’s called, will swallow up vast amounts of money, make very little difference.

    I have a lot of time for Woody Foster. He genuinely cares about Caymanian skills and employment and desperately wants to employ more Caymanians himself, but can’t risk the viability of his own business at this time by doing that.

    What’s needed is root and branch reform. Money needs to be pump primed into Education in a real and meaningful way, developing partnerships with the Private sector at this level. There need to be wider training opportunities for young people at age 16 and there needs to be a strategic plan that starts to taper Work Permits for roles that those young people can move into at entry level by the time they reach 18 and then a clear progression pathway for further training and development after that. Private Business will pay for all of that in a heartbeat, because they know that this kind of long term investment will benefit them.

    Put me in charge and I’ll sort it within a year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Premier, There is no initiative in the world will get you re-elected under the current or OMOV system this time around. You can take that to the bank. When that day come I will face you and remind you of this statement of mine. Please keep it in your mind.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great initiative. How about the jobs in the corporate world. Like administrators and secretaries. Why aren’t the firms willing to train Caymanians for these posts?

    • Anonymous says:

      Err, we only have Caymanians in those positions. And the good ones get promoted. Stop using generlisations

      • Anonymous says:

        And I (not the original poster) tell you that we only have expat Temps sitting in positions where Caymanian School leavers should be given a chance……..

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Ready2Work KY “? Really? I need people who can write and speak English- what kind of example is this? When the bar is set that low I don’t hold out much hope.

    • Anonymous says:

      The artist now known again as Prince drafted the title and came up with the idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe first they get paid to go back to school. Learn their abc’s and 123’s.that shouldn’t take very long…….

  11. Anonymous says:

    This appears to be a desperate act by a government that is very likely on the way out because they have not accomplished much. I doubt they actually have a plan as to how this is going to work.

    • Anonymous says:

      is immigration involved? how does one sustain a program over time?

    • Anonymous says:

      its a joke everyone on the committee has a personal interest of obtaining work permits! TBH when I look at the list the only one I believe wants to help with his heart is Woody! poor choices if you ask me.

      • Anonymous says:

        Woody foster really ? His supermarket has very few Caymanians employed If any. Kirks does a far better job at hiring locals.

  12. Anonymous says:

    wonderland stuff…..government is trying to turn the private sector into the civil service….

  13. Island Bundy says:

    What about job creation and attracting new industries and business to Cayman? Look at the SEZ they have attracted business to Cayman and over last four years business have left Cayman or cut back who are non Sez.
    I

    • Anonymous says:

      When politicians spout off about cancelling permits or restricting recruitment then inward investment and expansion tails off.

    • Anonymous says:

      yep and look what SEZ did create 200 jobs for expats and about 10 for Caymanians! now they pay $1000 for a work permit that use to cost $20K because they in a Zone! worst idea ever in which only Caymanians who benefited are the one that manage the Zone C. Kirconnel.

  14. Anonymous says:

    There is no local unemployment. There are simply those that do not want the many jobs that are available. Some do not want them because they prefer to be drunk or high. Some do not want them because they are apparently too good to work at those jobs. I suppose the convicted criminals many not fall into either category, but who wants to employ them?

    • Anonymous says:

      How i wish people with nothing to say would keep their mouths shut.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or you would rather the truth was not told because it is inconvenient and undermines the nationalists’ victim based polemic against employers.

        • Anonymous says:

          How i wish people with nothing to say would keep their mouths shut.

          • Anonymous says:

            Or you would rather the truth was not told because it is inconvenient and undermines the nationalists’ victim based polemic against employers. We can do this for a while if you like.

            • Anonymous says:

              That depends on how much of an A** you want to prove yourself to be.

              • Anonymous says:

                Do you have anything to say other than variations of “shut up” or name calling? I doubt it.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Shut up.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Oh come come, you can do a bit better than that. Unless you are an eight year old.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      There are drunks and drug adficts and convicted criminals in every country on the face of this earth, including yours and the poster’s countries. To use this fact to imply that there is no unemployment in Cayman or that this is the reason for unemployment here is very typical of know it all expatriates who ignorantly find it necessary to distort the truth to justify their existence in this country. It sheds a very negative light on Caymanians in general and is totally unnaceptable behaviour coming from people who have been granted the privelege to work here for whatever reason.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      What happens in other countries is not the point. The issue is what is the real number of genuinely unemployed Caymanians who are fit, willing and able to work. That is a tiny tiny number. Take away the junkies, the drunks and the criminals and you are talking about a few hundred people. Then ask why these limited numbers of people have not applied for the many many jobs advertised every year, particularly those in the tourism, hospitality and security sectors. The answer is these people do not want those jobs. Therefore many of these people are not truly unemployed as they are not willing to take work that is available. Countless stories of job fairs and programmes connected to the tourism industry are consistent with this. There is a very small number of employable and involuntarily unemployed in the local workforce, and that number is so small that it is fair to say local unemployment is a myth. Recruiting good local staff is very very difficult because the properly employable are all employed and when you do employ someone they often move quick when a better option comes along. People out of work need to take the work that is there until the work they want is available. Someone who pours out a sob story as to why they have been out of work for a long time while not taking jobs they could do in the interim might as well waive a red flag of why they should be rejected for any position they do apply for. I would much rather employ a graduate who has been working in Burger King or as a security guard than one that refuses to work because such things are beneath them.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      What happens in other countries is very much the point because people like you come here and expect the whole world to believe there is no place on earth like the slums you were happy to run from. The drunks and addicts and criminals in Cayman are.the result of expatriates coming here to slave.their backsides off and sleep ten in a room for three dollars an hour because that is a lot of money where they come from. That will NEVER be worth getting out of bed for to Caymanians. Send those folks back home and you will see how many unfit Caymanians go back to work when employers have no choice.but to pay them a decent wage.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      So the crackheads take crack because of the foreigners. I see.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Very seriously, you people need to stop coming to this country and spouting crap on a subject you very clearly know absolutely nothing about.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Thank you Lord for helping one cracked head to see.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Really you should be thinking about what causes the crackheads in your own country to take crack.

                • Anonymous says:

                  You should have thought about that when you were calling Caymanians drunkards and drug addicts with a superiority complex and convicted criminals.

                  • Anonymous says:

                    The poster did not say that and you know you are distorting what was said. The point was there are many jobs available but many of those allegedly unemployed do not want those jobs because they never apply for them. If you are denying that many of the problem individuals are not drunks, addicts or convicted criminals then you know nothing.

        • Anonymous says:

          You use fairly sophisticated English for a simpleton.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well lets see what mac and his welfare clan have to say about this.

  15. Driftwood says:

    Most companies may take on these people as there seems to be no risk. The placements are not impacting the bottom line of their business so it is essentially short term free labor or labor paid for by the public purse.

    This is like putting a band aid on a gun shot wound while the body bleeds out just to say at least ppm tried to do something in the run up to early elections.

    Here’s an idea:

    1. FIX the education system

    2. FIX immigration policies if you really want to help Caymanians.

  16. Campaign Mode says:

    Elections must be around the corner. Welcome to PPM vote buying program 2016

    What happens when the government funding runs out and there is no guarantee that the Caymanian apprentice is unable to secure full time employment?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Others may be willing to take on such risks, but I would not.

  18. Anonymous says:

    You had three years to fixed unemployment but u didn’t . Time to give the next government a chance. U had failed the caymanian people Mister.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Unemployed Caymanians should try to get elected to the LA. No experience or common sense necessary, no actual work required, massive pay and unlimited perks.

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