Workforce agency boss quits post early

| 05/07/2016 | 37 Comments
Cayman News Service

Brian Holland

(CNS): Brian Holland, the US expert recruited to expand and improve the National Workforce Development Agency, has quit the post after less than two years in the job “due to personal reasons”, officials from the employment ministry said Tuesday. Recruitment for the vacancy will begin shortly, the ministry stated, but in the meantime Lois Kellyman, the manager of employment services at the agency, will act as director. The NWDA is designed to help the unemployed find and retain work but it has come in for some significant criticism.

During the recent Finance Committee hearings, the employment minister and senior ministry staff came under fire as they were quizzed about the role of the NWDA and what it has actually achieved. The agency’s budget for 2016/17, which includes the administration of scholarships, was just over $2.4 million, which, according to the appropriation document, will see the agency help up to 1,600 job seekers and process as many as 5,000 jobs.

While the goal of the employment minster is to see the NWDA become the central clearing house for all vacancies in Cayman, at present the department is focused on helping the chronically unemployed who were described as the least ready for the workplace and unable to secure employment without assistance.

The ministry has heralded the agency’s greatest achievement as the interface it has created between its job listings and the work permit boards. However, despite the direct access that has been created between the two organisations, the agency has faced significant criticism for still not being able to help locals find work while the immigration boards continue to grant permits.

The release Tuesday announcing Holland’s departure from the ministry contained no details abiut his sudden departure just as the agency embarks on the much heralded ‘Ready2work KY’ initiative.

The ministry’s chief officer, Christen Suckoo, thanked him for his service since he took up the director’s position and wished him well for the future but said nothing about what he had achieved while in office or why he was leaving before his contract had expired.

Holland came to Cayman in September 2014. At the time he was heralded as the man to expand and develop the agency as he had more than 20 years of workforce development experience working in both the public and private sector.

He had been expected to help government engage the private sector in initiatives such as the National Apprenticeship Programme and other public-private partnerships aimed at addressing the human capital development needs of the country.

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Category: Local News

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    hearing he was pushed out!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately we never heard from Mr. Holland and every time he tried to speak Dr Tasha spoke for him which was unfortunate. I don’t even know what he sounds like….. at any meeting or on the radio or tv he could not get a word in at all. During his two years I would like to know what exactly has he really accomplished for the Dept as I don’t really see much difference in how it was operating before.

  3. Marathon says:

    I suspect he is to be applauded for trying to run that show for two years – most would have been demotivated to the point of quitting much earlier. What’s the point if you have the cure but no one around you wants to swallow the medicine?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hear, hear. The successful solutions and process have all been laid out, but implementation is impossible. The NWDA has poor leadership, no accountability, and until the “Business Staffing Board” stops rubber-stamping big business work permits, the problem will never be solved.

      Voters, please wake up and realize that your politicians do NOT want to solve the unemployment problem. Your party politicians WANT you to rely on them and social services to keep your vote. The Govt would rather grant 20,000 permits (for $$) than get 2,000 locals decent jobs. Alas, education palys a large part and we can easily see our politicians do not want to solve the FUTURE problem either.

      When we DO wake up and stop allowing cheap labor, we will then promote local jobs, better education, succession planning and immigration enforcement: period.

      To do this: A simple working wage of CI* per hour would allow $2,600 monthly per 2-person working household and STOP the need for social services…..but my friends, if we stop the need, the party politicians stop their votes so the cycle continues.

      Votes should demand better education and dissolve the staffing board.
      Enforcement is the only answer to a corrupt system so terribly reliant on work permit fees.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Our unemployment situation will never be resolved our improved until we accept and acknowledge the reality of many expats outrightly rejecting Caymanian candidates and preferring to import one of their own.

    Also our reliance on imported slave labour from countries like Great Britain, Canada, the Philippines, India, Honduras and Jamaica is also a major piece of the problematic puzzle.

    Lastly, of course, some locals have a bad work ethic. However, I guarantee if one enquiries in any of the aforementioned countries one will find a reputation of “lazy and entitled” locals which leads the business sector to import “better employees” from elsewhere.

    (In fact, I have a few interesting quotes if anyone is interested …)

    Anyway, let us continue to ignore the reality on the ground shall we? After all, we are yet to see riots and violent protests … or referenda whereby racism and xenophobia wins the day.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Trade schools trade schools trade schools, a rich financial country as ours ,should really look into the ppl and most important the youths!
    Govt ministers need to see the country in color rather blk an white, we have hotels on island as a example that bring ppl from the corner of the world to wipe glass and silver wares and set tables , really!
    Not to mention some companies owned by foreign natives , only by us to live call here home tax free and exploit us, smother our growth and sorry to say belittle us by the famous chorus ” caymanians don’t want to work”.
    TOTAL UTTER RUBBISH.

    • Former hotel employee. says:

      As one who has worked in the hotel, “Caymanians” dont want to work for the wages that the various hotels pay. They dont want to work holidays, nights or week-ends and thats a fact.

      • Anonymous says:

        Okay, so “Tourism” not the sweet spot for trade schools? WHY are all the SKILLED blue collar workers from overseas?!? I would love to see a local A/C repairman, local hairdresser, local nurses, local truck drivers, and we know that Electricians work 9-5 with good pay. Instead of pigeonholing locals into tourism or minimum wage jobs, we SHOULD be looking at working wage trade schools!!! (My hairdresser makes $4,000 a month! A/c techs $3,600 mo, Truck Drivers, Plumbers, Electricians, just LOOK at the 20,000 work permit list and see what jobs can be trained that do not require a university degree?
        Trade schools and education ARE the answer, you are right-right-right, but placement and enforcement is something the greedy govt won’t swallow.

        The problem is big business is greedy and loves their cheap foreign labor while the government loves the work permit fees so the middle class (Voters) can only hope to get a job in government or go on social services. This is a very poor showing for our politicians, but they are in the pocket of big business so the sad situation does not change.

      • Rp says:

        The reason they don’t is because they receive more social assistance if they stay home. So long as we pay our unemployed and welfare recipients more than they can earn based on their qualifications none will choose to work.

        Furthermore there are no controls to ensure someone who receives social assistance does not earn any other income or own significant assets. So many take assistance and supplement it with working side jobs here and there and earn a lot more than if fully employed and not receiving assistance.

        A blue collar couple with 4 kids can earn as much as 6000 per month in social assistance. Why would they look for a job who pays a combined 4K per month?

        In other countries one must prove that they have no assets such as homes, cars, boats before receiving assistance. This way we ensure that only the ones in real need receive support.

        I would like to know what due diligence is carried by gov on individuals requesting social assistance in cayman.

        Furthermore we need to motivate people to take employment by ensuring the social assistance received does not exceed what they would be capable of earning in the market. For those in real need and unskilled, we must prescribe mandatory training to retool or become marketable. If such training is not attended, benefits should be stopped.

        We motivate people to stay home and take pay from gov, instead of focusing on training and helping the ones in real need.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well said RP!!! Why “TRY” when social services is feeding the problem? Sorry, but politicians are supporting this and Government is facilitating this horrid path.

          Just look at Detroit, Chicago, LA and please tell me if “Welfare works” or does it lead to drugs and crime?
          WAKE UP Cayman- you are creating a monster that will control our community and be the downfall of many.

          Immigration ENFORCEMENT NOW or lose your future…Stop the Business Staffing Board and demand enforcement! We need to decline permits and promote a working wage…otherwise big business will hide behind gated communities and the country will be lost.

          Did this happen 20 years ago? No….our new party politricks and welfare state are to blame.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes 1.01am we had a good one at the old Cayman Community College, woodwork, electrical, automotive etc. and what did they do? They turned it into a university to train managers, accountants etc etc. In doing that they abandoned the young Caymanians that could potentially have replaced many a work permit holding tradesman/ woman. My question is WHY did they do that?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone enlighten me as to what is happening to some of those hard working unskilled people who has been in the Country for two and three decades?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lies Lies Lies. They know exactly why he left.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another positive change in the civil service. I am very impressed and yes I am a proud civil servant.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I know this man and he was totally committed to getting Caymanians into work, unfortunately he came up against a culture of I expect to be a manager I can’t add or write and want to work between 11 and 3 and if I don’t fancy it laying in bed today but expect to be paid also government red tape and lacklustre MLA with no business brain
    He is a loss…..

  10. Uncivil Servant says:

    Unemployed in the Cayman Islands dictionary is simply defined as ‘yet to apply to the Civil Service ‘

  11. Anonymous says:

    shut it down and give those funds to social services…thats where everyone is ending up anyway..$2.5M could go a long way

  12. Haranguer strikes. says:

    Maybe they can find a local to do the damm job now, or better yet close it down, the economy us booming anybody who does not have a job does not want a job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Listen…this office and the DLP needs a serious infusion of customer service training for every officer. For example…I have first hand knowledge of clients going to NWDA and the DLP and be treated as though the staff are there doing them (the public) a favor. You are paid to assist…..not pawn the less fortunate off to some deserted land where our hopes are further dwindled. This Minister and all her chief officers are a total, unequivocal and categoric FAILURE. And the DLP acronym stands for Don’t Lose Patience as this is what you will need to deal with the total failure of care, compassion and understanding of officers there, specifically one. 2017 is fast approaching and the days of the PPM are slowly eroding into extinction and hopefully this extinction will include all the muppets and puppets in this ministry.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Please! Please! Please! NWDA help Caymanians find jobs. Rivers, Suckoo, and every employed paper pushing person at the NWDA do not care about helping the ‘Unemployed” “Unemployable” “Underemployed” or whatever label they care to put on us. I wish for once, these people would empathize with our plights and truly put forth efforts to help remedy this situation. I challenge them to remember their actions speak much louder than their words.

    • Rp says:

      It’s not government role to help people find jobs. That is the responsibility of each individual. Nwda should support candidates in providing training and retooling them to get them work ready. They should also monitor labor issues and ensure employers treat candidates fairly but again it is not nwda’s responsibility to find anyone a job. However, people need to be held accountable for attending training and taking up employment on their own if they receive government support. They can’t pick and choose. Take employment and work your way up the ladder.

      Your sentence about begging nwda to find people jobs is the actual problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        And mothers PLEASE stop enabling the laziness of your offspring by filling out their job applications, dropping them off, doing the follow up calling.

        • Anonymous says:

          They same mothers should ensure their lazy offspring pay the child support and stop enabling them to stay at home and tell them the world is wicked to them and it is not their fault they can’t find a job.

  14. Rail says:

    Total waste of the people’s money yet again, stupid position

  15. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps his views on employing Caymanians contradicted the “unemployable” labels so favoured by employers and Government’s own dependence on work permit revenues??

    Dog ate our supper!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps that is just your opinion and nothing else. Unemployable means “they” have a hard time getting and keeping a job not CIG has a hard time getting them jobs. Not the same thing is it?

  16. Anonymous says:

    $2.4 million budget? How many Caymanians got jobs because of NWDA? All this agency did was add THREE months to permit process times in so many cases. Bungling beaurocratic calf drinking expensive milk from Govt. udders! Give us some facts please.

  17. Mismanagement Inspectorate says:

    Another sound endorsement and Vote of confidence in Minister Tara Rivers and her staff in the ministry of endless reports.

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