September 20, 2021

Ministry of Education launches PWD/CIFEC Apprenticeship Programme

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photo-1-minister-rivers-with-pwd-mentors-cifec-studentsGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands – The Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC) has partnered with the Public Works Department (PWD) to offer an apprenticeship programme for Year 12 students, the first of its kind. Eight young men from CIFEC will each spend the next eight months being mentored in various departments by a PWD master technician in the specialist areas of plumbing, electrical installation, air conditioning, painting and carpentry. In addition to shadowing their mentors, the students will pursue industry-recognised certification in Basic Construction Skills.

photo-2-rico-bodden-minister-rivers-greg-chapmanThe apprentices had to go through a competitive application process before they were ultimately selected for the programme. Although having already started their apprenticeships a week earlier, the group participated in a short ceremony where they were officially paired with their mentors. PWD officials also spent some time going over the schedule for the programme and rules and expectations for both parties. Honourable Tara Rivers, Minister for Education, was on hand to congratulate the students and thank the mentors and supervisors for agreeing to take on the added responsibility of training the apprentices.

The great thing about this apprenticeship programme is that it targets students while they are still in high school. Through this programme, we are bridging that gap between formal education and the world of work. This apprenticeship programme will help the participants secure future employment upon graduating from high school and better prepare them for further studies as a result of the qualifications obtained and experience gained through the programme.,” said Minister Rivers. “The programme will give the students a competitive edge because their resumes will reflect not only their education, but the on-the-job training and experience that employers are looking for. This is the direction in which we want the country to go as it relates to the training and development of young Caymanians, and I commend the staff of PWD for their willingness to take on these students and teach them the values, the work ethic and the skills it takes to succeed in the workplace.”

Minister Rivers said the goal is to roll apprenticeship programmes out across various industries and employers, and urged the apprentices to not waste the opportunity that they have been given but appreciate the advantage that they were getting by being a part of the inaugural group participating in the CIFEC/PWD apprenticeship programme.

An apprenticeship programme is something PWD has had in place for some time now but having it expanded in this fashion is very exciting, and we are already looking forward to the benefits that we will reap from having these young men working alongside us,” said Levi Allen, PWD Training, Organizational Development and Safety Manager. “In the past, recruiting individuals for these entry level positions has been a challenge because many candidates do not have the basic skills necessary to hit the ground running. Being able to train students before they leave the school environment, and prepare them for the rigours of the workforce will make the transition from school to work life much smoother for both employer and employee. Our mentors are eager to start passing on their knowledge and skills to these apprentices and look forward to some of them becoming full-time apprentices within the Department.”

All CIFEC students participate in a structured work placement scheme, and students have been placed in a wide variety of fields including hospitality and tourism, law, accounting, health and beauty, construction, water sports and information technology.

We are grateful to partners such as PWD for investing in our young Caymanians, and helping them to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding which will equip them for success in a very competitive and interconnected world,” said Ms. Delores Thompson, CIFEC Director. “Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) opportunities such as this programme best prepare our students for employment, and are vital to the sustainability of Cayman’s labour force. We fully expect these young men to go on to successful careers in the industry, and we thank the Ministry of Education and PWD for opening this door for them.”

Photos and Captions:

Photo 1: Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister for Education, Employment & Gender Affairs (centre) with the PWD Mentors and CIFEC Students taking part in the Apprenticeship programme.

Photo 2: (Left to right) CIFEC Student Mr. Rico Bodden, Minister for Education, Employment & Gender Affairs Hon. Tara Rivers and PWD Mentor Mr. Greg Chapman.

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