WORC hires new head as transition continues

| 22/02/2019 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

Katherine Whittaker

(CNS) Veteran public servant Katherine Whittaker has been appointed as the new head of labour demands, development and training at the new government department that will be dealing with the country’s labour force needs and work permit issues. As Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) continues its transition to managing all aspects of employment and work permits, Whittaker’s main responsibilities will be the collection of data in order to better prepare Caymanians to participate fully in the labour force through professional development and training opportunities.

Speaking at the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon event on Thursday, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that this new agency will be fully rolled out in the next few months as the remaining changes are completed through legislation that is expected to be brought to the Legislative Assembly at next month’s sitting.

“The first of those will be the online jobs clearing house — due to go live around Easter — through which all jobs in the Cayman Islands will be advertised, allowing Caymanians full access to the opportunities available,” the premier said. “We have more to do to road test the proposed changes and we have undertaken to work with business as we do so.”

Whitaker will be tasked with dealing with the data coming from the labour force and the needs of employers, then matching Caymanian workers to the needs of the job market through a variety of means, including training and development.

WORC Director Sharon Roulstone welcomed Whittaker to the department.

“As the agency formally known as National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) continues to transition to WORC, Ms Whittaker will play a crucial role in executing the vision of WORC, which is to lead the pursuit of full Caymanian employment and economic prosperity for all through service excellence,” Roulstone said.

Whittaker has been in the public sector for 28 years, most recently as the director of the Youth Services Unit, and before that as the deputy director of the Department of Youth and Sports. She was a teacher for many years at the former Cayman Islands Middle School and at the John Gray High School, where she became the deputy head of the English Department. She was also an associate inspector with the Office of Education Standards and supported the inspection of schools.

In 2017 Whittaker completed a secondment with the Portfolio of the Civil Service (POCS), where she was a manager in Leadership and Learning, among other duties. During her 14-month post she managed the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) Level 3 Certificate course, and assisted other government agencies with its testing/examination tools.

Whittaker was also an officer with POCS’s Corporate and Strategic Human Resource Unit, where she helped facilitate the evaluation of job descriptions and the recruitment process for various government entities.

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Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations! Katherine I pray God continue his blessings on you. You are a wonderful person.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yep sounds like Government to put someone with no prior experience in this area! Let’s just promote a Caymanian! Why though……..her previous jobs and experience have no relevance.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wish her well but she has never worked in the areas of statistics, economics Labour, work permits or even HR. She has been a career civil servant so has probably never ever had to deal with a work permit….so tell me how this qualifies her for the role? It is not making sense, surely a secondment for 18 months in training and leadership doesn’t qualify you now to be the head of labour demands for a very import agency? Lord help us!

    • Anonymous says:

      I disagree with your statement above. Ms. Whittaker has a Masters Degree in Human Resources Management. I know this because she was in the same Masters Degree programme as I 2004 -2007 (Hurricane Ivan struck in September 2004 delaying the programme by a few months). Areas of study included Statistics and Employment Services. It was a Management course specializing in Human Resources; however, it did not exclude other elements of Management. When she joined that programme in 2004 she had a Masters Degree in Education. I know because I asked. Meeting with people monthly during two years of study, one has conversations. I’m also aware that in 2007 the Youth Services Unit came online. Until 2007 that Unit did not exist. It was an idea on paper in a policy. There was no Youth Services Office. There was no organizational plan or no job descriptions; however, there were ideas about what could be. I speak because I must. More and more I see fellow civil servants come under fire and their reputations tarnished if they are lucky or destroyed if they are not. The section of the new WORC department, formerly NWDA, has been without leadership since the last Director left (forgive me for not remembering the gentleman’s name). My point is this, and to the person in one of these comments who said that we should bring someone from Papua New Guinea, we need to stop relegating important national issues to people who are with us for short periods of time (please, that does not negate anything that past Directors/Heads of that department has done). Issues such as Labour need to become priority and dealt with in the short, medium and long term. Perhaps, someone hiring for these posts has decided it’s best to invest in one of our own who will be around for the long-term at the very least such that the knowledge gained remains with us. Ms. Whittaker, I wish you well in your new post.

      • anonymous says:

        But where did she obtain her degrees this is very relevant, look where Mr Bush another new Head, got his.

      • Anonymous says:

        But why? A degree is one thing but no prior experience or knowledge in Labour Demands is absurd. I wish her well honestly but think she may be a tad over her head to be head of and consulting to others the Labour demands of the country.

      • feeling excited says:


        CNS: I’ve made an exception for this one but I usually delete comments in all caps. It’s considered shouting on the internet. In future could you leave the caps lock off, please.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am a Caymanian in HR in the civil service. Whoever wrote those last two paragraphs in the media release printed by CNS should be deeply, deeply ashamed of themselves.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yoot Services will never be the same without her. Remind me again of their achievements.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, Lord. We are still bashing each other. What has the Youth services Unit done? Establishment of the National Youth Commission, Cayman Islands Youth Assembly, Youth Services Unit; monitoring of youth service providers who receive funds from our C.I. Government; training of youth workers; camps and summits for youth during the summer; employment of college students who are studying a social science or education during the summer to assist with summer camps; annual reports on issues affecting youth in the C.I.; ongoing contribution to policies affecting youth of the C.I.; creation of a Youth Services Provider Directory; assisting with placing and supervising juveniles who have community service hours to complete; preparing youth to represent their peers at seminars, workshops and exchanges across the region and internationally. Mia!!

  6. anonymous says:

    No doubt she passed the personality test.

  7. Head Hunter says:

    If nothing else the Civil Service is unrivalled in it’s ability to create new heads. Does Mr Manderson have any idea of the number of heads he has, as he only has one, he must have great difficulty in getting his head around this problem. I truly believe he is heading in the wrong direction and needs to import a specialist from Papua New Guinea who will have the necessary expertise to address this issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      4:07. Poor you! I am so happy I don’t live in your messed up world.

      Congrats Ms Whittaker you will make us proud. Another great hire in our much improved civil service.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh wow. Oh dear me. Seriously?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Congrats. Another capable Caymanian promoted in our civil service. I am so impressed.

    If only Bernie would stick to helping the people in his constituency and stop interfering in the civil service.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations and welcome. May God guide and help you as you start this job. You will need him more than ever for this task

  11. Anonymous says:

    More Heads over there??

  12. Anonymous says:

    That department is lost! the reason I say that because my work permit got deferred & I gave in the documents they asked for and it got deferred again for no reason!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Oh lord

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know much about her but I do know that with all these “pickisome” women at the helm ( I am not speaking in generalities but specifics), there will be problems. They need to put personal issues aside…

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