April 21, 2021

Cayman Islands Inter-Ministerial Committee release findings of employment report

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Screen Shot 2016-04-02 at 8.46.02 AMGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands – The Ministry for Employment has released the findings of a report produced by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Employment (IMCE) which was established in July 2014 to promote better collaboration between the various Government agencies on matters pertaining to the challenges of unemployment, and to ensure a coordinated and holistic response is taken to address the needs of the country in relation to employment. The Committee was comprised of senior civil servants from all seven ministries as well as the Portfolio of Civil Service and Cabinet Office.

The report, titled “Review of Employment Policy and Strategy in the Cayman Islands”, was completed in 2015, and identified five key challenges that need to be addressed. They are:

1. Need for increased investment in training and development;
2. Need for better inter-agency collaboration;
3. Need for engagement of private, public and civil society;
4. Need for improved labour market information; and
5. Need to address socio-cultural barriers.

“The Government recognises the need to develop a comprehensive strategy to address employment concerns, in the short, medium and long term. Given the complexity of the issue and the multiple services currently offered by various agencies, it was necessary for there to be a ‘whole Government’ approach taken; hence, Cabinet called for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Employment to be convened back in 2014. The work of the IMCE provided useful quantitative data capturing the perceptions of both employers and employees who had registered with the NWDA at that time and who responded to the surveys. The report also catalogues the work and experiences of relevant government agencies,” said Honourable Tara Rivers, Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs.

Minister Rivers went on to say that, “This report was a critical first step in helping the Government prepare a larger plan to address unemployment, in the short and long term, because it provides Cabinet with useful information to help guide employment policy for the Cayman Islands.”

The IMCE report used surveys, focus groups and assessments to collect information from job seekers, employers and front line civil servants. Dr. Tasha Ebanks Garcia, Deputy Chief Officer for Employment, Training, Tertiary Education Strategy & Public Library Services in the Ministry, said the data collected confirmed that job seekers in the Cayman Islands are impacted by both direct and indirect barriers that hinder their progress toward entering and retaining employment.

“Direct barriers are those related to employment, either through job history, experience or skills capacity or the means by which job seekers apply for employment (e.g. cover letters, resumes and references). Indirect barriers, in contrast, are non-work-related concerns specific to an individual job seeker. They are usually environmental factors which prevent or inhibit ease of entry into the workforce (e.g., transportation, internet access, poor housing) as well as social, family or health issues,” said Dr. Ebanks Garcia.

“The IMCE Report provides a platform for the various Ministries, departments and agencies of the civil service to develop programmes designed to address unemployment in a more holistic fashion. The IMCE’s findings are in fact being used to inform the development of such programmes. We feel that we are now better positioned to carry out the Government’s mandate to address the challenges of unemployment with a clearer understanding of its context in the Cayman Islands,” said Dr. Ebanks Garcia.

Minister Rivers cited the recently launched Ready2Work KY initiative as one of the tangible outcomes of the IMCE report.

“Ready2Work KY was developed in response to some of the pressing concerns highlighted in the IMCE Report,” said Minister Rivers who explained that Ready2Work KY is designed to tackle both frictional unemployment, which is transitional unemployment due to people moving between jobs, and structural unemployment which represents a more permanent level of unemployment resulting from skills levels of job seekers not meeting the skills requirements of jobs available, or from a mismatch between the skills that workers are supplying versus the skills employers require.

“The programme is designed to include support and services geared at addressing both indirect and direct barriers to employment,” Minister Rivers said.

Taking a medium to long term view, Minister Rivers recognised that strengthening the education system and increasing the competence of students before they leave school is a vital component to the overall employment strategy.

“Obviously, focussing on education and enhancing the educational experience of our students is an integral part of the long term employment strategy. That is why the Ministry is addressing some key aspects of education, including overall literacy and numeracy, placing greater emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and developing appropriate technical and vocational education and training (TVET) pathways for students, to name a few,” said Minister Rivers. “The expectation is that, moving forward, there will be greater collaboration and cooperation between the various Ministries, departments and agencies as a result of the work started by the IMCE. Since taking office in 2013, there has also been greater emphasis placed on increasing the collaboration within the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs to ensure that the various policies and programmes delivered are better aligned with the Government’s agenda to raise standards in education, and to increase the employment prospects for and address concerns of employers and employees alike.”

The IMCE Report is available on the Ministry’s website at www.education.gov.ky
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