Adults face attitude training

| 30/05/2011

(CNS):With unemployment hovering around seven percent, officials from the Department of Employment Relations (DER) say there are plans to help get people back to work by improving their attitudes towards work. In order to help the unemployed to compete more effectively in the job market and ensure better employability rates government is introducing an adult version of the passport2success programme. As a result of the successit has had with placing young people in work the authorities will be adapting it to meet the needs of the older unemployed. Vaughan Carter, deputy chief officer in the labour ministry, said 63% of the young people that had gone through that programme had found work.

Ministry officials believe the change in attitudes towards work brought about by the programmes is why it has been so successful.

Speaking at a Chamber of commerce ‘Be Informed’ series presentation last week, Carter stated that the ministry would be developing a Passport2Success programme specifically designed for adults which, aside from focusing on skills gaps, would be adopting the same approach to the softer skills of workplace attitudes and employability as the programme for young people had followed.

Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues described the changes that are coming to the DER that would separate human capital issues such as training and placing people in work from the enforcement element and labour protection issues, as well as pensions.

She said there was a need to address the problems of the unemployed not being work ready not just in terms of their qualifications and specific skills, but how to behave at work, how to be a team player and to become enthusiastic about their jobs.

She also stated that the ministry was working on a standardization guide for qualifications so that when employers saw that a candidate had a certain pass in English they would understand at what level. The goal, she said, was to help close the current gap and significant complaint by employers of expectations not being met in reality when it comes to the skills of the candidates set out on a CV when they turn up for interview. Carter explained that there would be a “national qualifications framework” established that would spell out the range of exams and what they mean.

Heralding in a number of changes at the DER, Rodrigues and Carter promised a more efficient and effective service once the human capital development agency was in place.

Carter said at present there was some significant problems with the job placement unit because matches were done manually. He said there was a huge gap in training as at present the DER only trains people in terms of what they do and there is no training offered to job seekers.

“Job placement is currently a sink or swim approach,” he said, adding that there was no support for job seekers, nor was there any way to verify that candidates actually have the skills they say they have. He said under the new agency the government would develop assessment tools and use more statistics and research to develop training and counselling.

He explained that through an adapted passport2success training programme government would be seeking to remove the barriers to employment that exist for adults and the older members of the community that can’t find work. Carter said that with 63% of the young people that had gone through passport2success in work, it was demonstrably effective and it was the way that attitudes were turned around on the programme that had proved to be extremely effective in getting the young students in jobs.

Joining the presentation for the question and answer session, the minister with responsibility for labour, Rolston Anglin, said the adult passport2success would be happening in the very near future but he was not prepared to set a date as he said he had given up stating timelines. However, lauding the programme, he said it would get people work ready.

“It is frustrating for employers when people’s skill sets may be OK but their attitude and soft skills cause a breakdown at the work place,” he said. “That’s the biggest success of passport2success: it changes attitudes.”

Employers complain that the local work force does not have flexible skills or the right approach to work, and it was these areas as much as specifics skills training that needed to be addressed, the minister and his officials emphasised.

Before the changes can take place government will need to pass legislation to divide the functions, however it was revealed that a person had already been identified and recruited to head up the unit. In light of the current public service cuts, the officials confirmed that the reorganization and new post was coming out of the departments existing budget and new funding was not required.

“We are achieving these developments which will transform the department by reallocating and refocusing current resources,” said Rodrigues. “We are doing it within the budget.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ihope that the entire elected goverment and the back bench supporters attends this

  2. Real World says:

    It will take more than a few weeks training to eliminate the entitlement mindset reinforced for decades by consecutive governments who have promoted positive discrimination for Caymanians.  Why positive discrimination?  Because this country has, and continues to, fail it's youth in the education system. Training Caymanians to BLUFF their way into a job is one thing; giving them REAL skills to be competitive in the workplace is another.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. It will take many years.  It will take being bombared with the information from all sides.  The paper, the politicians, the teachers, family etc.  For the children in schools, it should not be just a program but implemented and ingrained in the entire school system.  As another poster put it, a finishing school.  Have it mandatory for all children to attend classes which polish their behaviour and appearance.  While I understand that the whole point of uniforms is to begin basics.  It is also well known that the parents do not accept this and go against the policies. The commuity wants to improve society, do it by improving your children.

      Now for the adults, this program should be on-going and should follow these individuals into the work place and not just a 6 week course of sorts.  Follow the employee into one year of work.  Provide it as a mentoring program so that they are always kept in check and do not forget what they learned.  There are many lost souls that will just follow the easy path.  These individuals are on the brink and going the wrong way.  If everyone is willing to be honest about this the majority of the complaints are from the young men.  The women seem to be stepping up to the plate whereas the young men expect a handout or given ajob because of birthright. 

      The young men complain that they cannot find a job or that they are being  systematically exercised out of the workforce by expats.  Well, unfortunately they are not 'playing the game of life'.  Pick yourself up and rise above.  Work harder and strive for the best.  The young adult males seem easily disenchanted, is this a societal issue?  If it is, this goes back to the problem of the family as it is the parents responsibility to push your child in the right direction.  Tough parenting and tough love,  not spoilt children and fake monetary love.  

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can we start with the Premier and all the other MLA's and see if the "trickle down effect" works???

    • P Onus says:

      There's only one thing that ever trickles down on the good people of Cayman from this government…

  4. The lone Haranguer says:

    We need to train about 1/3 of the civil servants and re-lease them into the private sector, two birds one stone, we will get our national debt down and we will get rid of a lot of the foreigners. Win win ??

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Ms Mary Rodriques and all the others who thought of this.  I am very sure that there will be many happy caymanians who need this opportunity.  But please dont wait too long for them to be dead and burried before the law is passed.  We who are strong intelligent adults are willing and can handle many jobs.  Thanks for the thoughts, now we wait.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don't you just get rid of all the foreigners.  Then you are free from the UK trying to save you from yourselves.  Free to do all the jobs that will somehow become available after all foreign businesses leave. And then Foreigners will be free not to have to deal with people like you when all they are trying to do is live their lives.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a North American married to a Caymanian I think there are two sides to this coin. 

    There are a lot of qualified Caymanians here that have their degrees from overseas and no other passport, yet hey never stand a chance to secure employment in their field due to expat recruitment and work permit renewals.  This needs to be addressed by stricter immigration enforcement and proper succession planning.

    I also acknowledge that a lot of Caymanians are simply not qualified for skilled positions and these must be filled by overseas workers.  The majority of these jobs are in education, law, and medicine.  This too needs to be addressed.  We DO need better education for our children so they too, can qualify for these degrees.  We also need vocational training for the skilled well paying service jobs (electricians, plumbers, contractors, etc..)

    Years ago when I arrived here there was zero unemployment.  This is no longer the case and we need to get Caymanians (**who do not have dual passports or other countries to go back to…) back to work! 

    You can add me to the list of the white-collar qualified unemployed seeking work and I promise you that even though I have excellent references and a superb resume, all the positions I've applied for in the past six months have been filled by work permit renewals!

    I also think the rollover policy (and subesquently NO rollover for civil service) has added to this mess and yes, created a xenophobic problem and a 'US .vs. Them" divide.

    If the system was working as it was intended we would not have these problems, but it is our own politicians and cronyism that has created this mess.

    • Anonymous says:

      "There are a lot of qualified Caymanians here that have their degrees from overseas and no other passport………."

      All Caymanians can obtain a British EU passport entitling them to live & work with no restriction in the United Kingdom and all of the other European Union countries. 

      In addition, Caymanian children are not classified as overseas students for university or college in the UK saving them or their parents thousands of pounds in education fees.

      Most Caymanians are fixated on North America when all of Europe is available to them.  I thinkthe majority are not aware of these facts and the Governor's office would do well to publicise this.

      • yup says:

        You know that is not as crazy as it sounds.  Good education and overseas opportunities.  Our forefathers traveled the world to make a living, yet we now sit on this rock and complain instead of searching out our own fortune.  I wonder if our youth really know they could take advantage of this.

        • Anonymous says:

          the trouble is that in europe you are given jobs based on your skills not on your nationality….

          • Anonymous says:

            Exactly. If a Caymanian applied to work for me the first thing I would do is check his or her CV to see if they had worked successfully outside of Cayman and away from legal protection.

            I would have no hesitation employing a Caymanian with that kind of experience and I can't understand why more of them don't take advantage of the free EU passport and go work in Europe for a year or two.

            • Anonymous says:

              In other words you would arbitrarily seek to eliminate as many Caymanians as possible.

              • Anonymous says:

                No. I would elevate Caymanians that had non-Cayman experience. Never mind.

          • Anonymous says:

            Oh, Really? Is that why unemployment amongst blacks in Britain is some 20% higher than for whites?

            In Europe black Caribbean people will seldom be given a job over a white European even if better qualified, and you will be subject to harrassment or worse by racist thugs. You might like to cultivate the image of a fair, utopian society but those of us who have lived there know diffferent.

        • Inspector Gadget says:

          "I wonder if our youth really know they could take advantage of this."

          No, they don't and most because they wait on their mother or sister to find out for them.

          I was talking to one young man about going to college.  He had many excuses such as, "he called an MLA and he didn't get back to him." 

          I told him that there is no reason that he should be waiting on a MLA when he can go to UCCI and apply there.  Then I told him about the Passport to Success program.  He didn't know anything about that either.  

          In conclusion, I think that they need to be more proactive.  They expect to sit down and wait for opportunities to drop in their laps then when the expats get the jobs they complain about them "furiners".

    • BORN FREE says:

      I know one adult who most definitely needs to "face attitude training" but he is never in Cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      While I don't doubt that you are in fact well qualified, I also believe that anyone who is so, shouldn't have any problem finding work.  It may not be at the level or salary that you may have been accustomed to prior, but certainly you should be employable should you chose to be so.

      With regards to your positions being filled by work permit renewals, it shouldn't surprise you that an employer would rather stay with the devil he knows rather than the one he doesn't.  It is a HUGE undertaking to try to terminate a Caymanian once hired, so there lies another problem with the system.  Perhaps if it wasn't so difficult to terminate an undesireable Caymanian then perhaps more employers would take a chance on giving them a chance and seeing how they do.


      • Anonymous says:

        Yep you are right 1998 was when the government f## both the employees and the employers of this country with their one sided,bias  labour laws.

        It all started at the condos and hotels on seven mile beach, instead of the government dealing with that particular issue, they indroduced a bias labour law..this was the start of the ruination of the labour force in this country.

        Few of us returned here in the very early 80s, started small businesses, we hired mostly Caymanians. At one time I had up to 12 Caymanians hired, most of them from West Bay…damn good workers, they were!

        We hired a few from other counties also, they came to work, we paid them, when work was not availiable they went back home to their country, there were no Krimlin for them to run to and make  complaints….. that they were fired and wanted compensation.

        Let me tell you what most of the companies here are  experiencing, workers  show up to work late…if they show up at all, take longer lunch hours, exhibit bad attitude, have to always run out to do their own business, slagging off their co-workers if they are not Caymanians. Reason for these behavior….you can't fire me… I'm Caymanian! I will report you to the  labour board! (I think they changed the name to labour relations)

        My suggestion, save the Government lots of money, shut down the damn nuinsance, or use it as a finishing school, where one is trained how to conduct oneself in the work place.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think this is a conclusion made by someone who in the last 2-3 years has not been out to look for a job. I work at a bank which recently advertised a position, clearly already having had someone identified to come over from another branch in another jurisdiction. Why? Because that person already knows some of the clients, the banks internal policies, systems etc. so less training required. Also, once that person is no longer needed he/she can be just shipped off to another location.  Therefore, a lot of people never even manage to get their foot in the door even if they apply for a lower paying job compared to their previous position.

        There were quite a few applications we received from well experienced and qualified local people who had previously worked in "higher" positions who were ready, willing and able to take on this lower paying position. Bizarely, they were called back and informed that a decision was made that this position was to be "restructured" and "merged" and another fancy title was created for this position and a work permit pushed through accordingly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Terminating a undesireable local employee in Cayman is not more difficult than terminating and undesireable local employee in most European countries. As long as it is properly documented and the respective steps are taken over a period of time.

        The problem in Cayman is that such a large pool of employees are on work permit and it is therefore easy to get rid of them easily (by not renewing the permit) that most people think it is difficult actually having to go through certain steps to terminate someone.

        If you think the employment and labor law in Cayman is unfavorable for employeres, I wonder what you would do if you would employee someone in Germany where by law you a required to keep a position available for someone who is on maternity leave for up to two years, or in the UK where maternity leave is what, 6-9 months or longer? What if you would be in a country where Unions are rampant, where companies of a certain size are by law required to have an employee representative board etc?

        Getting rid of an undesirable employee in Cayman (be it expat or local) is NOT difficult. So that is a lousy excuse!

        • Anonymous says:

          True enough, getting rid of expats is no problem whatsoever, but I'm not so sure about the Caymanian front.  In any case, if the perception is there that it is difficult, then it is!

          • Anonymous says:

            Well, it is a myth or perhaps just an excuse used to justify a work permit.

            Please outline why it is difficult to get rid of an unfit Caymanian employee? As I said, it seems that employers are so used to be able to get rid of an employee by simply not renewing their work permit that they find following a certain procedure "difficult". Giving a couple of verbal warnings, followed by a certain amount of written warnings is really not that challenging.

            At the end we also know that plenty employers manage just fine to get rid of certain employees by frustrating them out.

            • Anonymous says:

              I think that is the point.  It might not be difficult getting rid of a Caymanian per se, but it is relatively difficult compared to the ease with which you can get rid of an ex-pat employee.

  6. Anonymous says:

    One place hired an elderly local man. The supervisor found out that he was instructing him (teaching the supervisor) on what to do. The company end up firing him – said he was overqualified for his post. Now I hear, the next week, some niave youngster takes his place and still working there. 

    • Anonymous says:

      How sad!

      • CC says:

        What is very sad is that the the DER, MLAs, and Chief Minister have collected their huge paychecks for over a decade and we still have this unacceptable problem.

        Until we improve education to a level that can compete in the global market (and teachers and parents actually BELIEVE the testing scores that prove who is performing and who is not) and make all administrators, educators, and parents "accountable", this WILL continue and programs like this will be a band-aid to treat a broken leg = ineffective.

        Cayman, we are small enough to make "The Teacher Project" WORK!! but our politicians and administrators need the guts to finally ACT.

        See link:



  7. The Beaver says:

    In other news, Extraterrestial Mice have just landed on the moon – it is believed that there will be nothing left of that big chunk of cheese by the end of the day.  The Beaver

  8. Anonymous says:

    yep…. good luck with that…..

    what cayman needs to do is to end the 'entitlement mentality' for caymanians…..they need to learn that employment should be earned through skills and dedication instead of nationality…..

  9. Anonymous says:

    The passport2success program is to be applauded. It is a significant step in the right direction.

    However, the elephant in the room remains the indentured slavery law. How can a hard working Caymanians with the "right stuff" compete with low paid indentured slaves who performs well out of fear of immediate deportation?

    A free labour market where expats own their work permits will also be a significant help to unemployed Caymanians. Of course, employers will not be happy.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you are wrong there, I'm a Caymanian employer, and  would welcome this free labour market.

      This way the unscrupulous employers will have no low paid indentured slaves  willing to work for them.

      Which means we will all be on the same page, no hostages.

      • Anonymous says:

        Point well taken.

        Fair employers have nothing to fear from a free and open labour market.

        Unfair employers have everything to fear.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Standby for racism, xenophobia and poor spelling…..

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why dont you implement this training directly at the schools and PREEMPT some of this attitude/ work ethic problems? rather than trying to do so after the fact??

    • petermilburn says:

      Seems the best place to attack this problem BEFORE it gets to the adult level.

    • Anonymous says:

      All good and well and I agree, but this NEEDS to happen for some of those who are beyond school years.