WORC begins talks with business groups

| 24/07/2018 | 51 Comments

(CNS): The new unit tasked with solving the persistent problems of Caymanian unemployment, underemployment and stalled career progression has begun meeting with local business associations about its development. Last week representatives of the Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) met with industry stakeholders, whose members will be critical to the new agency’s success. Interim Director Sharon Roulstone welcomed the “commendations rather than criticisms regarding the initiative”.

Officials from WORC met with employers before they go on the road to meet directly with the public to explain the functions of the new department. WORC merges the work permit process with the local work force development systems to grapple with all the country’s recruitment needs.

Leaders from local business and industry associations at the meetings included the Cayman Islands Society for Human Resources Professionals (CISHRP), the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce (CICC), the Cayman Islands Small Business Association (CISBA), the Cayman Islands Law Society (CILS) and Caymanian Bar Association (CBA), as well as representatives from recruitment agencies.

“The positive feedback and support from these stakeholders has been encouraging,” Roulstone said. “It was good to know that the comprehensive effort we put into identifying the challenges of the current system resulted in commendations rather than criticisms for our new employment processes.”

CISHRP President Chris Bailey commended the department for being “exactly what Cayman needs”. He added, “The arrival of WORC could not have been better timed, CISHRP shares its vision of collaboration within the local business community to ensure that Cayman’s job market remains relevant and competitive.”

CITA President Theresa Leacock-Broderick said CITA also looks forward to growing Caymanian employment, particularly in the tourism sector.

Betty Baraud, who founded recruitment agency Baraud, pledged to support to the new department. “We are fully supportive of WORC’s mission to achieve economic prosperity through full Caymanian employment. We will work together to ensure Caymanians receive preference in the workplace,” she added.

CISBA President Dawn McLean-Sawney said she was looking forward to future developments, “Cayman has what it takes to be globally competitive. We are already there; this will just take us to the next level,” she stated.

The government has been keen to ensure that the development of WORC includes input from employers because under the new process it will be more difficult for them to secure work permits when there are qualified, willing and able Caymanians looking for work, and government needs bosses to embrace that process.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, whose portfolio includes the new department, has been critical in the past of employers who have sought ways to beat the system and circumvent local employees in favour of overseas workers.

The new department will be engaged in the training and development of local workers with skills gaps but it is expected to take a much more strict approach to the work permit process, and while employers will not be denied access to the skills and talent they need to maintain their businesses, government aims to put a stop to the existing abuses of the system and make recruitment more transparent.

With the external stakeholder meetings now complete, the next step is to introduce WORC to the rest of the community.

“Public town hall meetings are scheduled to take place after the summer break,” Roulstone said. “We will also appeal to job seeker groups in the next round of engagement meetings, where we plan to test WORC’s business processes to ensure the system is efficient and effective for them as well.”

Last week the agency announced the opening of bids for a technology platform for the new agency, which will be a key part in ensuring that recruiters know when locals who fit their recruitment needs are available and to ensure they are not overlooked when permits are granted.

“This is a project we are all looking forward to. A digital process equates to efficiency, transparency and consistency in the outcomes,” Roulstone said.

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Comments (51)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I was on another thread and we were talking about having to get a trade and business license for some teenagers setting up just a little recycling collection company. Why would you have to get a T & B if you’re a teenager just trying to make some extra cash on the side? I don’t get those kind of laws, you should make it easier for kids to go and sell lemonade, mow their neighbors lawn, or what ever! Most of us have been working since we were 12 doing some odd job! It should be for all kids here because I think doing little jobs and getting your mind in that entrepreneurial way of thinking is lacking here. I sold rhubarb and babysat in the summers! I’d love for a kid to rock up to my door with a wagon of mangos, breadfruit and guava!

    These committees like WORC just keep focusing on the adults and no one in government is trying to be proactive when it’s most beneficial.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Right on bro!

  3. Anonymous says:

    yawn..another state body trying to look for solutions where there is no problem…

  4. Anonymous says:

    How did they talk to the CBA? It does not exist.

    • Anonymous says:

      They didn’t, but they knew it would sound good to the blind sheep, so they said it anyway, and the sheep bleated their approval, and followed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    When, oh when, will we ever learn that 99.9% of employable Caymanians ARE employed!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Please start using WP data to direct Caymanian kids towards practical careers. CIG knows exactly how many WPs are out there and for what jobs. CIG scholarships should be offered for professions based on WP category data that clearly shows where Caymanians are currently weak.

    • Anonymous says:

      But “practical careers” mean hours the voluntary but vocal unemployed do not like, or a job beneath the job their mother told them they were going to be able to do when they grew up. Local unemployment is 100% voluntary. There are plenty of jobs available, it is just job seekers do not want them or, for many, prefer booze, drugs and criminality instead.

  7. Spelling bees says:

    would help Caymanian students learn to spell if WORC was spelled WORK!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Over-employment is the real issue here. Far too many persons are employed (primarily in the Civil Service) who really have no business having a job.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Let’s hope this does not do more damage to business than the current state of affairs.

    • Anonymous says:

      If complying with the laws and regulations causes “more damage” maybe your company needs new management. Sadly the current government let it get to the point that businesses only needed to comply with the permit fee payment and the rest was effectively optional.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why are so few willing to say what is whispered about all over the Island. That the vast majority of caymanians that are unemployed dont want to work or are unemployable. Well I guess I know why. Let the bashing begin!

    • Anonymous says:

      One of the roles of WORC is (should be) identifying the reasons for unemployability, e.g., can’t read, and helping the person address that problem. Yes its a bit of nanny-state hand-holding but its what some people need – a helping hand up, no questions asked.

      The other half of the job is monitoring work advertisements/hirings closely to make sure that they are done fairly.

      WORC won’t solve both of those problems (human nature being what it is) but if it can address each of them adequately & equally, i.e., help those who will accept help and catch those that can be caught, it will have made Cayman better for everyone.

      • Anonymous says:

        What about those — and they aren’t just a few — who are able-bodied and yet unwilling to work anywhere, anytime? Those for whom we the people provide paid utilities, food and housing?

        • Anonymous says:

          They get lumped into a separate problem, for which WORC is not the answer. The solution there is minimal state support – we don’t accept starving homeless people – but at an ‘uncomfortable’ level – we don’t accept panhandling and your bed is a bunk bed and your 2,000 Calories a day is black beans and rice – and WORC is always an option if you want more than that. (The question is how minimal will we accept.)

          But looking at the Christmas cleanup turnout there are a lot of people that WORC could help. So lets not throw out WORC (or any other positive programme) just because it dosen’t solve ALL problems. No single programme ever will.

          • Anonymous says:

            yes easy money for a short period of time. It’s the non-committal factor in local employment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well your self serving unsupported statement might be right…but the minority of shouldn’t be out of work if there is one permit out there for a position they are qualified and willing to do …nor should the underemployed not be given opportunity to advance to a permit holders position.

    • Anonymous says:

      I know people on the Brac who sell their government benefits for booze. These grown ass men can work but all they do is drink all day complements of the government.

  11. Anonymous says:

    They also need to do the entire public sectorusing the same criteria for the private sector.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What needs to be addressed are the employment ads that show trumped up requirements for a simple job because the companies already have people in mind for the positions and when a local applies but conveniently “don’t meet the requirements” they fill the position with someone who can which is their own people from outside the country.

    Hefty ass fines and restrictions need to start being levied on these businesses. If not Cayman unemployment will never be eased.

    • Anonymous says:

      But if what you say is a simple job turns out to be a not so simple job and the requirements were right then you just wasted a companies time and lost them money AND a good qualified employee! I think instead of complaining you go out and get the experience required or start at a lower place in the job and work up. I hear too many excuses and never see action.

      • Anonymous says:

        I refer you to the advertisement (a few years ago admittedly) of ‘dish washer needed, must have experience in an Italian kitchen’. How do I get that experience if I can’t even start as a dish washer?

        While I agree with you that people should be expected to work their way up will you agree that people should expect a fair shot at the jobs they can do? – I hope we can all agree on that much.

      • Anonymous says:

        @4:24 “simple job” was the wrong choice of words as you didn’t get what I was trying to say. I have a couple friends who are HR managers for a couple of companies I won’t mention here as my friends would get in trouble, but they have told me that on certain occasions, when certain jobs need to be filled, the CEO of one and the co-founder of another has re-written the wanted ad to include “required requirements” that would help if the potential candidate had the skill but were not in anyway essential to being able to do the job only because other candidates from other areas were already lined up to fill the positions.

        I was also turned down for a trust officer job that I had done before at another company because the position I wanted required specific skill sets I know from 15 years of experience will NOT determine whether or not I could do the job or effect the way the job was done in anyway. I was told by someone who works in that company that an expat filled the position 2 days after the deadline for applications expired who at the time had about 6 years of experience.

        “I think instead of complaining you go out and get the experience required or start at a lower place in the job and work up. I hear too many excuses and never see action.”?? Yeah I hear too many excused too and never see action especially by people like you who are either blind to what is going on, don’t care what’s going on or is part of what is going on. Like me, too many qualified Caymanians are having to settle for lower jobs when they have the training and experience to do the jobs they are seeking but because these foreign owned companies want their own to fill the positions.

        And before anyone questions my work ethic or ability, the job I had for 15 years was the first job I ever had coming out of university, I was promoted 3 times in 11 years, never written up and missed less than 10 days work, once because I was sick and was sent home and the other because I broke my arm, late to work I believe it was 3 times, two of which I had informed my supervisor of.

        Oh and I did report it to the Labor Board and a couple other watch dog government departments and offices, that was over a year ago and the expat who took the position is still in the position. So yeah, explain to me how that is right.

        There is a growing issue of this selective job filling. I see it in the company I work for now, I was passed up for a promotion for someone will many years less experience and a more “proper” accent if you know what I mean. I know this sounds like I am bitter about it and yes I am. I see it all the time Caymanians are being held back because Joe English wants his buddies from the home office to come down or they know someone who’s son needs a job but doesn’t want them to “go out and get the experience required or start at a lower place in the job and work up.”

        And from what I see our government is doing jacks**t about it and it makes me really wonder why that is.

        • Anonymous says:

          You have your current government to thank for the liberal permit approvals…along with the PR give aways that job is effectively gone from Caymanians on issue of the first permit. Thanks Aldart

        • Anonymous says:

          Obviously Caymanians are not a high priority…perhaps he has a more selfish agenda that is being pursued by effecting policies favoring the wishes of another benefactor.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you for explaining that, I want you to know that I think a qualified Caymanian should get the job over hiring someone from overseas. I’m not blind to the issue I’ve read the want ads. But I do think that the situation you’re in is not a common situation. I don’t doubt you were probably qualified but most aren’t and that’s a shame because they are ruining it for you guys. I know many Caymanians that are promoted, get the job they apply for and mostly make good money so again I think it’s a shame that a few bad apples are ruining it for those that are good workers like you. I’ve been here a long time and the red tape with getting a job here hurts both locals and permit holders. Believe it or not, we get screwed when a qualified Caymanian is hired (rightfully so) and then they quit or are fired a few months later but we have either left island or taken a less satisfying job. You may say you don’t care because we’re not originally from here but we all have hungry mouths to feed.

          • Anonymous says:

            @4:47 – I do care, by going through what I went through, I feel your pain. If there isn’t a Caymanian legitimately qualified then by all means the job has to be filled by whoever is. And Yes I have seen Caymanians in my company start work then quit because they took the job available till they got the job they wanted. That sucks for everyone but that is also the “natural/rightful” action of anyone who wants a specific job and has to wait till it is available but when no-one, Caymanian or legally here Expat in the same boat, gets or has a chance for the job because someone already has an overseas person in mind for it and does what they can to make sure no-one gets it but the person they specifically want in the position is the main point here. Not an option of choosing an already resident Expat over a Caymanian but choosing someone brand new to the system over the Caymanian AND the resident Expat. We both get screwed because some bosses school yard drinking buddy’s half nephew wants his dream job.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Start by making these foreign companies with Cayman partners (rumored to be a former politician) start offering realistic wages.
    A look in today’s classified shows a ad for a Operations Supervisor with a bachelors degree from a college of Arts, Science, Business Administration; with major in computer science, management, construction management or engineering; all for the whooping salary of $900.00 CI per week. Wow!
    This add is definitely set up for bringing in a impoverished third world employee but seeing that the advertiser employees many Mexican workers, makes one wonder. Of course they are the main negotiated contractor for the largest developer on island so no wonder this is given the green light. But how does this attract trained Caymanians with a degree and loans to pay off? How does this affect local companies who have to compete with this enterprise? Well WORC & CNS lets see if you have some answers for this type of recruiting/advertising.

    • East End Resident says:

      Caymanians have to be prepared to be competitive in the workplace and accept salaries that the employer is prepared to pay for that position. ‘I deserve more because I’m Caymanian’ won’t get you very far with an employer who needs to keep costs down and be competitive in their own market. Remember, employers have to pay substantial work permit fees for foreign workers so they would much rather employ a suitable local. This definitely gives qualified Caymanians a big advantage over foreign labor.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your correct lets load up on cheap labor and screw the locals. As long as the fat cat gets the lion’s share.

      • Anonymous says:

        No one is saying “I deserve more because I am Caymanian” what we are saying is “I want a fair shot even though I am Caymanian.”

        • Anonymous says:

          I am saying that….as a citizen Caymanians do have more rights then guests…it’s the same in every country. Sadly in Cayman your government has made the guest the entitled…thanks Aldart

          • Anonymous says:

            I still don’t know why the government allowed Dart to setup shop here even though he has a bad reputation globally. There are a couple countries in the world he can never step foot in again else he will disappear. I just hope the government remembers there is a law on how much land a single individual can own in Cayman. I wonder how close Dart is to that amount or if he has already gone over it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats $3600 a month! I think that is pretty good for a stepping stone! If you can’t live off that then you are living beyond your means.

    • Anonymous says:

      $900 CI per week is three times what I make, sign me up!

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s almost 50k a year for an operations supervisor. What’s wrong with that?

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Exactly. :up: We need to bite the bullet and raise the minimum wage to a living wage in which Caymanians can survive upon. Yes, it will raise the cost of groceries, gas and other things. It is the right thing to do. Employ all Caymanians that want to work, and minimalise those who are able-bodied but unwilling to work. The latter group seem to be growing all the time.

      I cannot imagine wandering around all day without a care, just making it through the day without any goals. Tragic.

      • Anonymous says:

        Instead of raising minimum wage, why don’t we lower import duties to bring down the price of goods and services.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Another waste of the taxpayers money. I’m willing to bet that they will even end up hiring from overseas, to run this unit. The irony.

    • Anonymous says:

      Poor Sharon, who means well, will eventually give up when she sees for herself that “all these brilliant qualified experienced Caymanians out there being denied jobs” (according to the likes of Ezzard, Arden, Kenneth, Bernie and multiple bloggers) just do not exist. If they are unemployed, there is a very very good reason why they are unemployed. By the way, what jobs has, say, Bernie, been reliably successful at over a period of time? Becoming an MLA is one of these jobs that has long attracted the non performers with big mouths in our society. Ah so it go.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Human resource personnel are the worse abusers….their commendations are a bad sign for effectiveness of the new department.

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