University makes plans for aviation speciality

| 17/07/2009

(CNS): With the support of the local industry the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) is exploring the possibility of creating a centre of excellence at the institution for learning in the area of Air Transport. Following several months of planning the college has invited key industry experts to a workshop next week to begin discussions on the newly developed programme in Air Transport Management and Planning. 

 “This workshop is a critical first step in developing capacity in the aviation industry within the Cayman Islands,” said UCCI Acting President Dr. Brian Chapell. “The support and participation of many key individuals and organizations will ensure that the workshop is successful and will set the stage for future capacity building in the industry.”

Earlier this year, UCCI said it had met with Cayman Islands aviation industry stakeholders to discuss the needs of the local industry and those discussions resulted in the acknowledgment of the need for air transport studies in the Cayman Islands and the support of the industry for UCCI to become a centre of excellence for such studies. The meetings also led to the signing of an informal MOU by UCCI and industry stakeholders to highlight the industry’s support of the initiative.

This month’s workshop will be attended by leading members of organisations in the aviation industry and the Cayman Islands government. Set to lead the workshop are UCCI Faculty, senior representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands (CAACI), representatives from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and senior representatives of the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ).

In addition to distinguished experts from regional and international aviation organisations serving as instructors on the programme, UCCI has commenced discussions with both IATA and the Airports Council International (ACI) to explore the possibility of working closely with these organisations for further programme development. Feedback will be sought throughout the workshop to assist with the development of future programmes.

The workshop is scheduled for 21 & 22 July and will be held on the UCCI campus in the Executive Training Centre, which is located on the second floor of the campus library. Although will be geared toward those who currently work in the aviation industry, UCCI has a limited number of spaces available for members of the public who may be interested in attending the workshop. To get more information on how to register, please call 623-0566 or e-mail

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  1. Alex Taylor says:

    How about making sure the TVET programmes are functioning at full capacity before starting yet "another" programme.  Or maybe start by chaning the fact you can graduate high school in Cayman on attendance alone.  Those seem to be better places to start with I think.

    Florida Drug and Alcohol Course

  2. Beach Bum says:

    I have just spent the better part of the day attending this workshop.

    It is a very interesting project. What amazed me was the way the Aviation organisations got together and pushed for this course. Both private and public. CAA, CIAA, Island Air, Cayman Airways and Air Agencies were represented.

    The IATA rep for the region is in agreement that this course could set the standard in aviation trainingand the Cayman Islands could become an aviation centre. Students worldwide would come here to persue their aviation degree.

    Dr. Matthews seems so excited about this project. She kept uttering we can make it happen. The CAA GM Richie Smith attended and presented as well clearly showing his endorsement.



  3. Anonymous says:


    Well first, I don’t believe any Caymanian has ever gotten turned down to continue their studies after high school at UCCI, so that is a non-argument.  Only theMinistry of Education could answer this question, but my suspicions are that none have ever been turned away.

    <i>"The same factors that make the Cayman Islands attractive for international business make it attractive for overseas students."</i>

          -Not true what so ever. The high cost of living here, no residential housing for students, and in general lack of ‘experts" at UCCI does not make it feasible or logical for most students. Why would you go to UCCI if you could afford educationally or financially to a place that already is a "centre of excellence".

    So you can see the cost to train will be better spent on giving more people more useful skills.  This idea of "lets try and be everything" can’t hold water in a small society like Cayman.  Let’s be logical with the monies spent on education.  Please know I am all for spending money to train the youth and adults alike, but I want financial prudence involed, not emotion.

    • Anonymous says:

      To "first I don’t believe", while you make some interesting points and while I cannot speak for UCCI, I can fill in some gaps from a position of some awareness:

      1.  UCCI offers programmes for both academic and professional degrees, as well as in certificate programmes in a number of vocational areas.

      2. The qualifications for admission of school leavers to the degree programmes are the same as elsewhere — four "O" levels, equivalent CSEs, or similar criteria.

      3. School leavers who do not have these prerequisites are often channelled into the one-year certificate progrmme into a vocational area of their choosing.  Once they successfully complete the programme, they have skills tht they can take to the workplace.  They can also apply to the associate programme if they wish, and can work while they study. 

      I am personally acquainted with two students who took this route — both were school leavers, each having two O levels.  One completed the programme, did the associate, and is today a nurse, having gone on to medical training.  The other, one of whose two O levels was in physics, has completed the certificate (in computer technology) and is now entering his second year in the associates — again successfully. 

      For students such as these two, the certificate programme served as an invaluable bridge to tertiary education.

      4.  Most universities have a mature student admission initiative, as does UCCI.  I am not sure of all the criteria, but I am sure it would comport with the standards elsewhere.

      5.  There is also a Continuing Education Department, which offeres adults basic and other courses that may assist them in preparation for further education, among other goals such as career advancement.

      6. With regard to Cayman not being able to cater successfully to overseas students, we have managed to rise to the challenge of accommodating St. Matthews University and its students.  Ifthey were not benefitting, from the locale, they would not be here.

      Conditions do tend to rise to demand.

      Recently President Obama identified two-year colleges (it is true that UCCI is now a four-year in a few areas but the students are initially admitted to the associate or the certificate programme) to receive funding as part of his economic recovery programme. President Obama did so because these colleges are being seen as a prudent financial option.

      I think that UCCI could do more to raise awareness of what it offers and how it operates, as there are obviusly misconceptions. 





  4. Econome says:

    "It may seem illogical, but studies and experience have shown that the "stocks" of university rise in times of economic instability and uncertainty."

    It is perfectly logical and obvious as the opportunity cost of further education goes down in times of economic downturn. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks to Econome for clearing up the apparent contradiction of university attendance rising in times of economic doldrums. 

      But I am not sure it is really all that obvious.  The average person thinks in terms of less available cash meaning less to spend on training and education.

      For those of us who are not economists, what Econome meant by his academic jargon is that some people ain’t got nothing better to do (no work), so they go to school.



  5. More law degrees says:

    Many of the foreign attorneys would like to do a domestic Cayman law degree too – other jurisdictions do this. Even if was just a one or two year part-time diploma, it would improve the quality of the Cayman legal product.  But mindless restrictions on access to education based upon nationality stop people doing this.

  6. Anonymous says:

     Context of "think globally act locally",_Act_Locally

    Review for your information.  It has to do with either environmental causes OR multinational corporations in business.  I am pretty sure UCCI will never be a multinational corporation.  UCCI is not a business nor even close.  If it was then it would not exist in Cayman.  The idea to spend over 50,000 to train one person is just not sane.  Try another arguement?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it is realistic for UCCI to think global/act local.  And there are few entities that can be more multi-national than universities. 

      Let us not limit ourselves educationally because we are small — think global.  The same factors that make the Cayman Islands attractive for international business make it attractive for overseas students.

      The more UCCI can position itself to attract international students, the better for the institution and the better for the Cayman Islands in a number of ways.

      In the 1970s, SUNY paid my tuition and others — just to attract foreign students.  Not suggesting that UCCI does that, just saying that foreign students are perceived as a bit of bonanza for universities.

      And, guess what?  When the economy dips, university applications go up.  The last Cabinet press conference broadcast this weekend attests to that.  Mr. Bush is trying to secure scholarships to help channel 2009 high school graduates to UCCI.  So it is a good time for UCCI to seek out ways of attracting students.

      One of the burgeoning areas for the university is development of curricula for speakers of other languages.  Not only is Cayman attracting non-English-speakingEuropean  workers, but we are right next door to large non-English-speaking populations.  While the university does offer some courses catering to non-English-speakers now, a lot more could be done.

      On the matter of the aviation management course, I would be surprised if the university has not done feasibility studies and that those studies have not extended to evaluating attractiveness to overseas populations.

      Kudos to UCCI.  Keep thinking of new ways to attracting students.  It may seem illogical, but studies and experience have shown that the "stocks" of university rise in times of economic instability and uncertainty. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 07/17/2009 – 11:49

    "or aviation people does Cayman need?"

    Please make sure you read the FULL posting of someone.  The point is how many people are in the aviation industry in Cayman.  I would almost bet it is less than 100.  How about making sure the TVET programmes are functioning at full capacity before starting yet "another" programme.  Or maybe start by chaning the fact you can graduate high school in Cayman on attendance alone.  Those seem to be better places to start with I think.  If you can’t read or write, you surely aren’t going to do well in an aviation programme.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good move.  Cayman has so much potential as an aviation hub – our location alone could open up unexplored possibilities.  And our boys in particular have always loved to travel.

    From ships to planes, we’ll make our names.

  9. Anonymous says:

    While it would be nice if UCCI was everything to everyone, it is NOT feasible.  I mean, how many pilots or aviation people does Cayman need?  Just another waste of money in my opinion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sad that you didn’t actually READ what the course was. It is an AIR TRANSPORT MANAGEMENT programme- NOT  pilot training programme.

      Caymanians need to be trained- the industry goes beyound cayman airways- it is wide ranging and is relevant beyound these borders.

      Do you have any idea how much money is spent by hundreds of countries to send people on training to courses like this? People have to fly to the likes of sigapore to get courses of this nature- including those in Cayman. If we support this latest development. UCCI and the Cayman Islands could become the centre of excellence in the region for this type of training!

      Potential for an influx of money to the island- supporting UCCI, Hospitality Industry and Tourism.


      Think outside the box!

    • frank rizzo says:

      While it would be nice if UCCI was everything to everyone, it is NOT feasible.  I mean, how many pilots or aviation people does Cayman need?  Just another waste of money in my opinion.


      Think globally, act locally.

  10. Dennie Warren Jr. says:
    Wow, excellent initiative!
    • Anonymous says:

      Would be nice if the UCCI were able to perhaps offer an Associate Degree in Law, bearing in mind that  working adults would be interested in such a program and arrange evening classes to facilitate adult education in this area. 

      Presently, the Law School’s  schedule does not  easily allow for those persons who are employed with day jobs to pursue such a degree for whatever reason, whether it be for academic reasons or to eventually branch out  in  law.

  11. Jedi Dread says:


     That’s Awesome!

    Years ago, the then AIDB wouldn’t issue student loans for those interested in Aviation!

    I get queasy, just recalling the close-mindedness that we as youths in Cayman with dreams, had to put up with.

    Now we’re stuck in cubicles and dead-end jobs, when if only we had had someone with a little visionary prowess that could have supported those of us who were "out of the Box" thinkers…

    Now that all of my friends and I, have been assimilated by the Borg that has become the Cayman Islands, it’s up to those that have come after us to achieve what we couldn’t (mostly because of others lack of foresight).

    Youths, keep your dreams and push, and don’t take no for an answer. Persevere and stand firm, so you can realise your Greatest Dreams.

    Big Up, UCCI.

    – Jedi Dread –