September 26, 2023

The Progressives: OUR PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT In The Cayman Islands

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Education outcomes have improved in recent years. But there is more work to be done. There are still too many students who leave high school ill-prepared to successfully enter the work force or move on to tertiary education. The Progressives led Government faced the problems of our education system square on over this past term. And we have plans to do more in the new term.

The next Progressives Government will strengthen primary education and will provide students with individualised educational opportunities from kindergarten through high school that will allow them the best chances to succeed in their chosen career.

We will provide secondary school students with opportunities, and pro-active career guidance, that will help them appreciate the value of learning a trade and to consider further education options such as apprenticeships or TVET scholarships to local or overseas institutions.
Within four years at least 75% of high school graduates will move on to post-secondary education, either in academic degree programmes or training in vocational trades locally or overseas.

We will do this by:

• Improving the ability of teachers to succeed with every child by having smaller teacher-to-pupil ratios in all schools and expanding the use of technology as a tool to assist teaching and learning.
• Achieving higher standards in literacy, numeracy and science by advancing our Education Plan of Action 2016 – 2017 and maintaining relevant monitoring of education outcomes at every school.
School Principals and staff will be accountable for performance.
• Giving our children the best start by providing a sound and individualized primary school education that adequately prepares every student for success when he or she enters high school.
• Providing high school students with a range of academic and vocational education options, including introductory courses that cover entrepreneurship as well
as vocations such as automotive, culinary, music recording, and hospitality. This will help students determine their best route to post-secondary education needs, including the TVET courses at UCCI or overseas.
• Schools must support & encourage high school students interested in Technical and Vocational Scholarships to attain the requirements needed to attend local or overseas trade schools or colleges.
• We will implement more TVET apprenticeship programmes in partnership with private sector to provide real skills as well as re work experience at a local business. This will embrace young people in high school and recent school leavers up to the age of 20 years.
• Ensuring that UCCI maintain a core group of TVET courses in their teaching programme.
• Revisiting opportunities for a public/private sector partnership in education to determine how best to move forward with initiatives that benefit students and produce quality outcomes.
• Improving opportunities for students of the UCCI Campus in Cayman Brac by having all key degree programme courses at UCCI Grand Cayman available via Internet streaming services to Brac students.
• Building a new primary school in West Bay to provide relief from the overcrowded John A. Cumber primary school. And review the needs of all other primary schools.
• We will give students in George Town and West Bay the right learning environments by completing the John Gray High School.
• We will make greater investment in the education of students with special needs or disabilities, supporting parents where necessary and ensuring special needs teachers are adequately trained and facilities are suitable.
• We will look at addressing concerns regarding the de-facto segregation in our public schools caused by lack of physical plant. In a multi-cultural Cayman Islands our school system should enable non- Caymanian students to integrate with Caymanian students. This will help break down any walls between Caymanians and those who come to help us build our islands.

Over the last four years the Government has shepherded in economic success with 2,000 more Caymanians in work than in 2012. Caymanian unemployment has fallen from a high of 10.5% in 2012 to 5.6% in April 2016, rising slightly to 7.1% in October 2016 as more Caymanians entered the work force.

But in a growing economy where there are some 24,000 work permits there should be no Caymanian who is qualified for a job, and willing to work, who should not be able to find employment over a reasonable period. There are still too many qualified Caymanians who are not being given a chance at employment, including those returning home with relevant qualifications, yet are unable to find jobs. Often they are being told that they do not have enough experience. This cannot be right! At what point will they obtain experience if not given a chance at employment? In a growing economy Caymanians must have a fair chance to share in the benefits of growth.

The next Progressives Government will be committed to achieving full Caymanian employment! We will continue to strategically grow the economy and support businesses so that we keep the job gains we have made as well as grow opportunities for more jobs; opportunities that include more apprenticeship programmes for Caymanians.

We will also create a Cayman Human Resources Authority that will oversee the human resource requirements of the country.

The Authority will be responsible for approval of work permits and management of a National Jobs Clearinghouse – a searchable database of all available jobs in the Cayman Islands. Job vacancies must be registered with the Clearinghouse and listed online to allow Caymanians looking for employment to be aware of them and to register their interest in those jobs. This will be a requirement prior to any work permit application being accepted or work permit granted. Caymanians must have a fair opportunity for jobs and the Authority will help ensure that this is the case.

The work to create a National Jobs Clearinghouse was started in this term under the Project Future banner and will be completed in a new Progressives term.

We will improve the work permit system so that it is more efficient as well as more transparent and fair to those seeking employment – including Caymanians. Changes to Immigration Regulations will be made within our first 100 days in office to improve transparency and fairness around the advertising of jobs. Businesses actively hiring and training Caymanians will be recognised as good corporate citizens.

A new Progressives Government will:
• Continue the careful management of the economy so that businesses of all sizes continue to grow and create jobs and opportunities for Caymanians. We cannot afford to lose the gains made to grow the economy and create jobs.
• Support the growth and success of small businesses so that Caymanians not only become entrepreneurs but also provide employment for our people.
• Complete the infrastructure projects and the George Town Revitalisation project started during the Progressives first term. These projects provide employment during the construction phase and after, as well as support business growth.
• Support growth in the new market sectors such as Health Tourism, Sports Tourism, the Maritime Park, creative arts, and green energy, amongst others. Diversifying the economy creates more jobs and opportunities for Caymanians.
• Expand the programme to assist Caymanians who need help to get and keep a job.
• Develop other jobs programmes based on the recommendations in the 2015 report “A Review of Employment Policies & Strategy in the Cayman Islands”. It is important that we actively assist Caymanians, particularly younger Caymanians, to gain and keep employment.

• Grow the Hospitality Training School and the Nursing School to provide more Caymanians with opportunities in these sectors.
• In partnership with businesses, including hotels and restaurants, develop more apprenticeship and training programmes to teach skills and build work experience that will lead to full time employment.
• Conduct an independent review of the role employment agencies play in the local job market and determine whether there are practices that work against Caymanian employment that need to be addressed.
• Complete the work started this first term to create an online searchable National Jobs Clearinghouse where all jobs will be registered and vacancies advertised.
• Create a Cayman Human Resources Authority with responsibility for all employment matters – including granting work permits, transferring relevant staff from The Immigration Department. Immigration will continue to manage the Permanent Residency and Cayman Status process.
• Utilise data from the new National Jobs Clearinghouse, pensions providers, and the ESO to better determine the number and type of jobs in the Cayman Islands and the number of unemployed Caymanians. This will aid decision making and planning of resource needs and perhaps guide education and scholarship priorities.
• Monitoring and enforcement of employment standards will be improved, including detecting work permit holders doing jobs, especially in construction, that are outside what is allowed under their work permit.
• Immigration Regulations around employment advertising will be changed to close loopholes and allow for fairer opportunities for Caymanians seeking employment:
– Jobs advertised locally or overseas must always state the name of the business that will be employing the jobseeker.
– Jobs cannot be advertised overseas before all local legal requirements are complied with, including advertising locally.
– The remuneration package received by an applicant for a work permit must match exactly what was advertised locally. This must be proven/certified before the work permit is granted.
– Experience gained by a work permit holder while working in the Cayman Islands will not be accepted when assessing a work permit application for another company or position.
– We will review provisions in the laws that allow work permit holders to readily transition between employers, or between roles. The aim is to ensure that qualified Caymanians looking for work are not disenfranchised.


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