Public works starts apprenticeship programme

| 28/11/2016 | 9 Comments
Cayman News Service

CIFEC Student Rico Bodden (left) with Minister Tara Rivers and PWD Mentor Greg Chapman

(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.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. Wally says:

    A step in the right direction.
    However I am hoping that there is some structure to this training program.
    Will potential employees know what skills training these apprentice were schooled in? Will they be given some sort of a checked list of items experienced and mastered?
    This type of program can go a long way to equipping locals to enter the local pool of skilled tradesmen.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s possible that this program was started under Rolston. There are quite a few programs that the last UDP Government started which PPM has now completed and implemented (Older People Policy, for one). I agree in that consistency if something is good for the country, instead of the usual wanton dismantling of everything a previous Gov’t tried, but at least they should give an acknowledgement. That is true bi-partisan cooperation.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Was this started under Rolston too and finally being implemented?

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful opportunity!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great initiative, but no one can master those trades in eight months. Give these kids the proper time they need to learn. In the 70’s my trade (mechanic) took four years and other trades five. While I agree that with internet resources learning time can be reduced, I think eight months is unrealistic.

    • Wally says:

      Today persons become doctors in 5 years!
      With a proper structured apprentice program hands on daily training and access to the internet and YouTube, 8 months to one year should equip them to enter the trade of their choice with a proper understanding of what they need to focus on to be successful and give the employer youngster they can invest in.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Now this is what has been needed for years…I hope it goes well.

  7. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. says:

    FANTASTIC! Let’s have more of this for Cayman’s youngsters who are too often neglected because they are not academically inclined. Too many work permits for foreign skilled tradesmen and we should be replacing them with youngsters from this program. I was once an apprentice for five years, and I know the value of this. DO NOT LET IT FAIL.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow, finally! This is commendable and one hopes it will be permanent and expand throughout the public service and, indeed, the private sector. In many societies, especially our mother UK, apprenticeship programs underpin the beginning of careers, particularly in the tradesman categories.

    This type of program is long overdue and hopefully this is the beginning of a standing policy which will not be dismantled by future Governments.

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