December 9, 2019

Media Statement on Cayman Islands National Training Council

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r2w-ky-programme-update_18-november-2016 r2w-ky-programme-update_18-november-2016When this administration came to office there had been public concerns expressed about government policy on unemployment and about the adequacy of the existing government structures to respond to the needs of unemployed Caymanians as well as the needs of the business community for suitably qualified labour.

Various steps were taken and initiatives implemented to address these concerns including carrying out some labour market research. Findings from the research indicated that one of the factors contributing to the unemployment issue in the Cayman Islands is the existence of a skills gap. This is a familiar challenge to many countries and not peculiar to the Cayman Islands though the extent of this gap varies from country to country.

Any solutions that address skills gap through the development of a country’s human capital require the engagement of all stakeholders if they are to succeed, a view that is supported and promoted by the two main international bodies that address the national development of skills, UNESCO and the ILO. However this mechanism did not exist in any effective way until earlier this year, in June, when the government established a .

This advisory Council will serve as the voice of employers and industry and will facilitate the opportunity for employers and industry to play a role in the development and implementation of government initiatives designed to address the challenges related to unemployment through developing the skills of our Caymanian people.

The schools and various industries within the Technical and Vocational Education and Training () space have tried to raise awareness of, and interest in, opportunities through such means as career fairs and presentations; career counselling that outlines the possible pathways students can take in ; combining academic and programmes and work experience in Years 10 and 11; agreements between the University College of the Cayman Islands and international institutions to offer programmes in post-compulsory level; and offering scholarships for -related courses. However, the current national provision for skills development in the Cayman Islands, which includes this range of offerings, is uncoordinated. In addition public perceptions of careers and training opportunities have not always been positive.

The National Training Council aims to bring all of these education, training and skills development opportunities under one overarching structure and to put in place a formal ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach that is legislated and properly managed and regulated. The resulting framework will ensure that the current and future skills needs of the country are met through a holistic, effective, efficient and internationally comparable TVET System.

 

The National Training Council is chaired by the Ministry of Employment’s Chief Officer Christen Suckoo, and includes representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, , Cayman Islands Tourism Association, ICCI and UCCI, Immigration Department, National Workforce Development Agency, Department of , Information and Communications Technology Authority, the Financial Services and Utilities Sectors, and the Automotive and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Industries.

 

The functions of the Council include:

  • Advising the Minister on policy relating to technical and vocational education and training including alternative modes of financing and delivery of TVET in compulsory, tertiary and non-compulsory education, as well as TVET for specially identified groups such as Prisoners and ex-Prisoners;
  • Working with the Ministry to develop a short, medium and long term workforce development plan which includes areas of future occupational demand, and which guide policy framework development to support TVET in school programmes;
  • Advising on the development of a Quality Assurance Framework that establishes minimum competency standards for TVET that meet regional and international standards and that includes processes for the registration and accreditation of training institutions;
  • Advising the Ministry and Department of Education Services (DES) on curriculum structure and reform that anticipates labour needs in the short, medium and long term and to review and guide career counselling and processes, in relation to TVET; and
  • Assisting in the development of industry-specific TVET apprenticeship and traineeship programmes targeted at school leavers, unemployed youth and mid-career persons.

Council members have begun meeting to create the structures for the development, coordination and management of TVET in the Cayman Islands. The Council’s first order of business is to decide on its mission and vision and then set goals for the body and deadlines to achieve them. In addition, standing and ad-hoc sub-committees are in the process of being formed to provide support to the work of the Council.

The six standing sub-committees identified are Workforce Development, Training Programmes, Quality Assurance and Review, National Qualification Framework, Career Counselling and Lifelong Learning while the three ad-hoc sub-committees to be formed are for TVET Policy Review, Supporting Legislation and Curriculum Reform.

The TVET Policy Review Sub-Committee has started gathering information to better understand where the country is at now in terms of TVET. The aim is to have a draft report ready for January 2017 that outlines where we are, where we need to be, and suggestions on how to get there. The Training Programmes Sub-Committee recently met to discuss identifying training needs through labour market research starting, with the ICT sector.

We in the Ministry are very excited about the work that the National Training Council will be doing to advance the TVET agenda for the country, because this will close the gap between what the different industries demand from the workforce in terms of skills, and what the labour force actually has to offer currently as it relates to qualifications and the quality of skills available. This has never been done before.

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