Young men given chance to jump barriers to jobs

| 14/02/2012

P1010003.JPG(CNS): A group of young men in their twenties struggling to find, and importantly stay in a job, began the government’s first work placement programme Monday, designed specifically for their demographic. The passport2success programme for adult males has been adapted to suit their needs and organisers hope it will prove as successful as the pervious programmes that were designed for school and college leavers who had never worked. Most of the young men who started the programme this week may have worked before but because of particular challenges including criminal records or dismissals from previous jobs they are now finding it hard to get work and keep it. (Photo Jasmin Jackson)

Organisers say that the course will focus on the barriers that these young men face, some of whom are already parents, and help them get back into the workplace and stay there.

The programme is a collaboration between the education and employment ministry, the Wellness Centre as well as local employers and the ICCI college where the students undertaken the theoretical side of their training.

Although the passport2success programme addresses academic shortcomings such as numeracy and literacy as well as work necessary skill sets, the focus of the public-private programme is primarily about the other issues standing in the way of the men finding and then being able to keep a job. Organisers said attitudes, work ethic, issues of entitlement and in some case aggression or having a criminal record has stood in the way of the men securing employment or has caused them to lose a job they had managed to get.

The chief officer in the minister responsible for the programme welcomed the new group on the course Monday and spoke about the problem of entitlement which is standing in the way of young Caymanians competing effectively in the jobs market. Mary Rodrigues said that in all of the passport2success programmes issues of entitlement have proved to be a major stumbling block as she warned that there was no entitlement in the modern competitive workplace. She also pointed to pride standing in the way of people asking for help to get work.

With a success rate of between 60-70% and employers now seeking out people who have undertaken the five month course, she said that it would help the young men. “You will find this programme very different from other experiences you may have had in high school,” she said. “This will help you to address all of the issues that are holding you back.”

Rodrigues said the programme would help the young men become the type of person that an employer wanted to employ but that they would be challenged by the course and they would need to commit. However, she said the students would receive support throughout and after they completed the course their tutors would still be following their progress and work with them to help them get work.

“You earn your right to stay in this programme so if you start flouting the rules…or stick with the programme and what it requires or if you don’t apply yourselves you will be asked to leave,” she told the young men. “For many of you this is a second chance, it’s a new opportunity for success but it depends on you. We can create the opportunities but you have to take advantage.”

So far four groups of school leavers and a group of unemployed single mums have been through the government-private-sector work readiness course and the organisers say more than 60% of those students have found work or are in full time education as a result of the programme.

Category: Local News

Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Its almost election time. Mary its kind of late.

    Tell the education minister its too late.
    Too much crime and unemployment has taken place.

    Too late to pretend you all are doing something now that the cow
    has gone through the gate!

  2. The lady up the road says:

    This little lady up the road agrees with every post from 21:46, 18:51, 15:42 and 11:32.  It saddens my heart for these young people who are fed false hopes.  I am also convinced that both the system and the parenting has failed these young people.  I recall clearly when I was growing up, that EDUCATION was the talk.  We were forced to read even the newspaper and summarized what we undertstood from the article. Parents and Education Dept. our kids must be able to read and comprehend what they have read. It is very painful also when these children speaks with conviction while pronouncing the wrong words and  using words out of context, ONLY because they do not know any better. It is a shame when others who are present in their company and knows better, BUT refuse to  correct these kids when they speak.  I believe that we as a community can do our part when we meet these young people.  I have found them to be lost. They finish high school and believe that writing a resume is a qualification.  Can they write a letter? NO. Can they spell? NO. Can they do simple subtraction and conversion? No. Do they know their Time Tables? NO. What is in the resume is a crying shame because 90% of them did not learn anything in high school. Therefore, I strongly believe that both the teachers and parents of today should get a beating (and I say this without any apology). I  also  say this, because I have a niece that got all her formal education here (George Town Primary School and John Gray High School) who is a scientist in the USA,  along with my kids from Law to Finance Specialist in the USA who received the same formal education in the Cayman Islands. Therefore, I am convinced that something is wrong today either with the teachers or the parenting.

    In regards to the waitress jobs, receptionist /cashiers/drivers and gas station attendant jobs, we should teach our kids the following (A) How to be polite (B) To be punctual (C) To respect self, peers, adults and people's property (D) Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and  Conversion.  These jobs should be given to the less fortunate Caymanians who are willing to learn the above.  A few years of experience demonstrating A thru D will move up that Caymanian to Supervisor position and make way for another set of less fortunate Caymanians.  We as a society need to help pave the way for them, so I beg of the expats who have come to these shores and are now successful, please have a heart for these young Caymanians. To the wealthy Caymanians,  have a heart for your country kids. What is so difficult to teach them to be your receptionist? As the little lady up the road,  I have done my part to employ Caymanians and which some of them are obnoxious and  miserable, but I did not give up on them. By not giving up on them, I was able to discover that there are loving, caring, respectful, honest young Caymanians that only needed an opportunity.  Give them a CHANCE!!! The older Caymanians are dying out and we should not allow these young minds (educated or uneducated) to die with them. They have dreams too just as we did. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do they have free food?

  4. Anonnymous says:

    I really hope these programmes will continue and that the young people will take advantage of them and better equip themselves for life. 

    As a country, we should hand our heads in shame that we have, for decades, been graduating young people from our public schools who are unable to even hold an intelligent conversation; cannot complete a simple form; cannot construct a sentence properly, not even knowing when to use present or past tense; some can barely read their name.  It is an injustice to our children.  Parents also need to accept responsibility – it cannot be that they only discover after their child graduates that he/she cannot read and write.  The attitudes of some of our young people must also be placed at the feed of some of the parents.

    This is coming back to haunt us now and the price we have to pay will be very high.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Mary Rodrigues can swallow her ' Caymanian entitlement issues' – and that's the same thing her Minister said about Caymanians last year!

    Im no young person but I know what it is to be unemployed, adn the 'passport' prog is only giving them false epectations… not jobs.

    After all, why cant govt enforce the permits tighter? There are more expats than ever in 'regular' jobs in stores/restaurants etc, and dont tell me that my people 'dont want those jobs'!

    YEs, we need some imported labor, but noone seems to have more of a high and mighty sense of entitlement than these foreign newcomers – and their entrenched buddies (including in government's Education area!)

    • Anonymous says:

      How are they going to hold down a job – any job – if their attitudes toward work and yes, their entitlement mindset, do not change.  They don't want to work for $5.00/hr – they rather stay at home or walk about the place getting handouts.  Others  come to this island and work for $5.00/hr, but  what do we hear?  That they are taking the jobs from Caymanians.  Give me a break – Caymanians are giving them the jobs.

      We have a serious problem on our hands and it will only get worse if we cannot succeed in changing the outlook of these young people.  It is my understanding that the students attending the P/Port for Success programme actually get paid, get free transportation, they are fed, all the materials for the course are provided, free of charge.  And yet, they do not respect themselves, or those who may give them an opportunity, enough to even try to present themselves properly.  You may say they may not have the proper clothes BUT, somehow they always seem to have the "proper" clothes for everything else.  Maybe the "freeness" is the problem – anything that is free is often seen as having no value.

      The mindset has to change!!! They need to understand that the world owes us nothing!! There comes a time when we are responsible for ourselves.  The young people of our island have had a great disservice imposed on them, when they are graduated from our public High School, totally unprepared for any type of employment – thank God for those who have been able to rise to the top in spite of the situation.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is what 2012?
    This govt. has been in office from 2009?

    A nice program but are they not a bit late after so much crime taking over the lives of these precious young people?

    A good thing but still political postering.

    • Anonymous says:

      The first three years these young people were taken on the UDP World Tour seeking "inward investment" to gain experience. Now that they have experience, they are being trained.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that the phrase "and keep it" appears in this article. Often we hear that young Caymanians are overlooked in favour of Expats, but here is the proof that despite the efforts of some employers to employ Caymanians the employer is let down by the employee. Why can't these young Caymanians keep the jobs they get?? could it be their work attitude??

    • Anonymous says:

      anon 11;32

      Good attitude starts at home. the parents of today are to blame for 90% of the nasty attidue of these young people. Remember when we were growing up every parent, auntie, granny and your nieghbour were able to teach the children good manners, and good work ethic.

      Now you listen to those samechildren that turn parents today….the negative things they teach their children…about "expats taking away their jobs", "you dont want to be taking that job, thats for jamaicans, and Filipinos and who ever else that come looking for a job. They feed them and give them spending money,

      The parents are destroying the children of the Cayman Islands, those that practice this attitude.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, what you are saying maybe true. A matter of fact it is true for all nationalities, not only Caymanian. I was speaking with someone from Canada one day, and they said to me there are a alot of Canadaians who are just like "those type of Caymanians" – poor work ethics, etc… Well they are not a true representative of all Caymanians and should not be used to generalize against all Caymanians, which I think is what is usually done. There are many qualified Caymanians who are looking for an opportunity and it seems like the only time employers would "take the chance" to hire a Caymanian it would be for the "lower level" jobs, what about those seeking more advance positions? Caymanians are outnumbered in our own country.. there are so many work permits issued in this country that there should be NO reason why any qualified Caymanian should be unemployed! But is seems like our good ol government not stopping to realise this in its full capacity… all they want is the revenue it generates… well think about this.. what is it if you gain the world and lose your soul? – basically what good would it be to the Caymanian people to gain riches for the country and lose its soul the real Caymanian people.

      PS. Please do not judge me of thinking that I dislike expats, my husband is an expat – and I can leave it like that. I love expats, but Caymanians need to raise back up and regain their power in their own country.

      Thats my 2 cents…everbody entitled to it…