(CNS): The government has placed eight boys from the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC) at the Public Works Department on the first of its kind apprenticeship programme. The teenagers will spend eight months working with a master technician in plumbing, electrical installation, air conditioning, painting and carpentry, shadowing their mentors to learn the practical skill sets while pursuing industry-recognised qualifications.
Officials said the boys had to compete for the eight places on offer and they begin the training while they are still in school.
“Through this programme, we are bridging that gap between formal education and the world of work,” said Employment Minister Tara Rivers. “This apprenticeship programme will help the participants secure future employment upon graduating from high school and better prepare them for further studies as a result of the qualifications obtained and experience gained through the programme.”
She said the course would give the students “a competitive edge” as they will already have on-the-job training and experience when they start looking for work.
“This is the direction in which we want the country to go as it relates to the training and development of young Caymanians, and I commend the staff of PWD for their willingness to take on these students and teach them the values, the work ethic and the skills it takes to succeed in the workplace,” Rivers added.
The PWD has had training programmes for young Caymanians before but Levi Allen, PWD Training, Organizational Development and Safety Manager, said it as exciting to see this expansion.
“In the past, recruiting individuals for these entry level positions has been a challenge because many candidates do not have the basic skills necessary to hit the ground running. Being able to train students before they leave the school environment, and prepare them for the rigours of the workforce will make the transition from school to work life much smoother for both employer and employee.”
All CIFEC students participate in the work placement scheme and students are working in hospitality and tourism, law, accounting, health and beauty, construction, water sports and information technology. Delores Thompson, CIFEC Director, said the students are working with many different employers to get the experience they will need before starting work.
“Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) opportunities such as this programme best prepare our students for employment, and are vital to the sustainability of Cayman’s labour force,” she said. “We fully expect these young men to go on to successful careers in the industry, and we thank the Ministry of Education and PWD for opening this door for them.”