September 28, 2021

Cayman Islands NWDA Apprenticeship Programme helping build Caymanian workforce

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photo-1-tweed-apprenticeship_kieron-watlerGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands – Three months after the launch of its healthcare apprenticeship programme in conjunction with Health City, the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) is continuing its efforts to provide opportunities for technical and vocational training to young Caymanians. The agency has partnered with Tweed Construction to offer an apprentice position which will result in Cayman’s first certified Caymanian marble and granite tiling technician after a three-year work experience with the company.

Twenty-one-year-old Kieron Watler was one of 17 applicants vying for the spot, and after six months on the job has made a lasting impression on both his employer and co-workers.

We chose Kieron because he had no previous experience in this field so we could teach him the proper technique and skills from the beginning,” said Alan Laidlaw, owner of Tweed Construction. “We started him off with a 35-hour work week but we increased it to 40 hours because we were so impressed with him and his work ethic. He gets to work at 6am for an 8am start! Everyone likes him; he is a pleasure to work with. He wants to learn every aspect of the business, and he wants to learn to do it the right way. His attention to the details is remarkable, and we could not be happier.”

Mr. Watler says he has a learned a lot since he’s been on the job, values such as keeping his tools and materials clean, being organised, and paying attention to the littlest of details. He also thanked the staff of the NWDA who he says is always encouraging him and pushing him to do even better.

I’ve always had motivation and drive, and I’ve always tried to do everything to the best of my ability, and try to reach my full potential,” said Watler. “Perseverance and patience is key. You have to keep your head up and have a positive outlook. It pays off. I now have a job I enjoy doing, and a boss who is good to me.”

I am very pleased to hear of the progress being made as a result of this programme. This is a great initiative, and we are proud of Kieron for proving himself to be a hardworking, invaluable employee. Thank you to Tweed Construction for collaborating with the NWDA to give this promising, young Caymanian a chance,” said the Honourable Tara Rivers, Minister for Employment.

Speaking more generally about the National Apprenticeship Programme developed and launched since taking office in May 2013, Minister Rivers explained, “The goal of any apprenticeship programme is for the employees to learn the requisite skills, complemented by gaining an accredited certification, which will allow them to be successful in that industry. The training has to be of such a quality that the apprentice can continue on with their employer and with further training and skills development at a more advanced level if need be. It should also prepare them to be able to compete with other qualified professionals at the end of the programme, thus positioning them to build a successful career in the chosen profession.” Minister Rivers indicated that, “The development and delivery of structured apprenticeship programmes, doing so working closely with employers, was a campaign promise fulfilled. We have seen a number of such apprenticeship programmes launched since the beginning of this year, programmes tailored to address the needs of both compulsory aged students and adults alike, although the ‘behind the scenes’ work started as early as 2014 in some instances. The Government is committed to forging more relationships such as the one with Tweed Construction in an attempt to address the skills gap that exists in some industries, to invest in our people and to provide meaningful, long term career opportunities for Caymanians. ”

Laidlaw says the partnership with NWDA is just his way of giving back to the country he has lived and worked in for 26 years, and that he hopes to take on more homegrown talent like Kieron as it helps his company’s bottom line while providing jobs for Caymanians.

For more information about the National Apprenticeship Programme contact the NWDA’s Training and Development Unit by email at [email protected] or call 945-3114.


Photo and Caption:

Photo 1: Mr. Kieron Watler, NWDA Apprentice at Tweed Construction showing off his new skills to Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister for Employment and Ms. Dianne Conolly, NWDA Manager Training and Development.

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