Minister tackles labour skills

| 05/08/2009

(CNS): The education system is producing kids that are unemployable, according to the new education minister. “That is not a slight to the children – 95% are just fine,” Minister Rolston Anglin told CNS, claiming the system does a disservice to the very best students and loses those who are struggling. Aiming to reach out to those who have graduated as well as tackling issues within the schools, he said, “Our mission has to be the biggest investment in human capital of any four-year term to uplift the skills of our people.” Anglin said he was shocked by the deficiency in literacy in the schools. “I knew it was bad but didn’t dream as bad as it is – it explains why grades not up to standard,” he said.

The minister responsible for both education and labour said that much of his time so far had been taken up by “the disaster surrounding the (new)schools”, but he isalso beginning to tackle education, not just for those still in the system but for those who have already left. He has asked a task force, led by the director of employment relations, for a draft report on young people under 19 years outlining what are the major problems they have and possible solutions.

Anglin listed five essential skills that young people need to find a job: resume writing, dressing for success, Microsoft Office Suite products, behavior in the workplace, and interviewing. “We know we must give young people basic commercial skills – particularly written – to ensure that they can find employment,” he said.

While tackling the problem will involve the University College of the Cayman Islands, he said UCCI probably does not have the capacity to solve everything and they would need the help of the private sector. There are a range of options, he said, and some of the ideas that have emerged include two days of work and three days of schools, or a stipend for students returning to education.

The under 19s is the first target group, and the process will be reproduced with slight appropriate changes for other age groups, he explained, and said the government had to make the biggest investment in human capital of any four-year term. Asked if the country could afford this, he said, “How can we not afford it? We cannot continue to have social services inundated with people.” he added, “If we don’t have a strong labour policy, the education policy is for naught.”

Turning to college graduates, he said young people were dumped into the economy out of university to sink or swim, and pointed out that HR managers are doing their planning in June, which doesn’t help graduates who start looking in July. He wants to form a stronger relationship with the private sector so college students can be matched with employers before they graduate, even working as interns during vacations. Because our system is small this programme is possible, he said, noting that the same principle is used in US by big firms.

He also said the ministry planned to enhance the scholarship programme, such as listing the top 10 institutions by programme for various professions, such as accounting, medical studies, etc, and wants to devise a system to steer students to these schools so that they are better prepared and their resume is stronger.

The minister believes that more could be done at high school campuses in the way of presenting career choices using a similar process and asking professionals to talk to students. He said if you show the young people what they could achieve, they would be more inclined to take up a career in that profession, even those that graduates have been reluctant to take up before.

“The reality is a softer economy has hit people between the eyes and attitudes are shifting,” the minister said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

About the Author ()

Comments (54)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    "The expats that I know in this country are stressed out about being replaced by a Caymanian, because in truth and fact they have nothing to go back home for. "

    Maybe for your lawnmowers, but not the professionals.  If there were a Caymanian who was qualified, I would not be here.  Frankly I can earn an equal or better living back home, and I don’t have to worry so much about being shot.  If I leave, my job and the money it brings to Cayman just goes away, because no one local could take it over.

    "I personally applied for a position with Civil Aviation Authority, I have a degree in the field that the job required and had more years than the job required, but yet they never called me for an interview, and when I investigated it further the job was filled by a Filipino who was working previously as a helper in this country."

    This tells me that there’s something else wrong with you. 

    "So, please stop beating gums up about the Caymanian people, we are fighting tosurvive in our own country, that’s all we have left to do.  I am sure you don’t see too many Caymanians jumping on planes flying to any of your countries to make a living.  Why, that’s the same reason you left in the first place – there was nothing there for you and there’s nothing there fore them."

    I understand that you are struggling to put food on the table.  The fact that you are not willing to do the jobs that are available makes it very hard (pride is a rough companion).  On the other hand there is plenty of opportunity in my country.  Much more than here.  Just because we come for some sun and tax-free loot don’t think that we won’t live very well back home.  You could too there, if you were prepared to work hard.

  2. Caymanian to the bone!!! says:

    I read the majority of the postings to this article, and whilst I note that there are some good points by both Caymanians and Expats or Non Caymanians here I just want to say this as loudly as I can:

    The Expat population is in fear now of loosing their employment rights in this country.  And agreeably so, because they infact don’t have any here.  Therefore, they will feel this pressure coming on as more and more Caymanians are unemployed, and not from the Govt. but so far the majority of lay offs are from the private sector.  The fact that Caymanians are now stepping up to the microphone via their telephones going over the airways to have a say about their right stance in this country is becoming a problem for the expats in our community.  I agree that we need to educate our young Caymanians, but when this is enforced to the point that the parents must be involved then change will happen.  Put the pressure of the childrens education on the parents. 

    The expats that I know in this country are stressed out about being replaced by a Caymanian, because in truth and fact they have nothing to go back home for.  This is the reason they uprooted themselves and travelled to this here little island in the sun.  Caymanians must have first preference and if Immigration can’t see to it with proper background investigating of every work permit application submitted then refuse them, until both sides are heard.  For too often a work permit is submitted and no information on the Caymanains who were interviewed or applied for the job and if they did apply why were they not hired is disregarded with a simply response N/A on the work permit application.  Immigration does not follow through with the Caymanians who appllied for that job they are basing it on the part of the Employer who submits the application solely. 

    I personally applied for a position with Civil Aviation Authority, I have a degree in the field that the job required and had more years than the job required, but yet they never called me for an interview, and when I investigated it further the job was filled by a Filipino who was working previously as a helper in this country.  Now tell me why do we give work permits for Filipino’s to come here as a helper with a degree equally to mine? or with a degree to work in a lower income position.  Ridiculous – Needs to be stopped now!!!! That application should be refused because they are overqualified for the job – isn’t that the same answer that they give the Caymanians when some of us apply for certain jobs, the expat HR person tells us we are overqualified for the job.

    So, please stop beating gums up about the Caymanian people, we are fighting to survive in our own country, that’s all we have left to do.  I am sure you don’t see too many Caymanians jumping on planes flying to any of your countries to make a living.  Why, that’s the same reason you left in the first place – there was nothing there for you and there’s nothing there fore them.  Our country has been sold off and sold out from under us and no one in power really cares what happens to us, because they are riding around in flagged drapped, bullet proof cars wanting to be addressed as this and that.  I voted UDP, and I am sorry that I did that.  I hope a third party is formed before the next General Elections and this time I hope it will be with a group of less power seeking, money grabbling, self righteous, pompous individuals who will govern this country with the best interest of the people at heart, and who will not hand out cheques to individuals to go and lobby for us and say what?

    The Government talking about cut civil servants, sure cut all the foreign ones, along with the retired – rehired ones. 

    Lastly, to all the Expats in this country who feels that they have to run down Caymanians and our way of life, there are many planes leaving here everyday and I am sure your seat is waiting on you, so DO NOT LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON YOUR ASS WHEN YOU LEAVE!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      To:" I read the majority of":

      What a dreadful, total bunch of utter hog manure! CAA is run by Caymanians-if you couldn’t get a job there, either your degree is a worthless bible/mickey mouse college degree or there is something profoundly wrong with you as an applicant for a job. We are sick to bloody death of you whining deadbeats about foreigners coming here as helpers and ending up taking jobs that you brilliant would be employees should have. Get the Caymanian head of CAA to give you a letter telling you why you were not considered and print it on this blogsite-at the same time asking him to explain why he employed a Filipino helper instead of you. Only then will we will change our view that you are probably one of the many no hopers with bogus qualifications making these stupid ridiculous claims.

      And stop the sh-t about not seeing Caymanians jumping on planes to get jobs in other countries. For God’s sake, there’s thousands of them overseas from days gone by and they are still going with their British passports. If they work hard-most do- they do well. What they can’t do is whine like you about these nasty foreign helpers coming in and taking Caymanians’ executive positions. God help us from this bullcrap.

    • Pause for thought says:

      Thank you for telling me what I am thinking.  Apparently it was very different from what I was thinking.   Either you are a top rate mind reader or you guide your life through incorrect assumptions and prejudice.  (Let’s check – what number am I thinking of right now?).   My job is secure here, I left a secure job back home and could get a job back home tomorrow with a phone call.  But I am here and here to stay, and so is my ass.



  3. Anonymous says:

    I was shocked at the literacy numbers because it seemed high to me in comparison to the amount of students and adults that I am exposed to who are obviously lacking in the basic skills. I was schooled in the same system from primary straight through to High School and I note nothing much has changed from then. The emphasis was always on the 5-10% higher achievers and everybody else was expected to sink or swim. You really needed a strong desire to learn and a very supportive home network otherwise it was really easy to slip through the cracks. Anyone needing minimum extra attention was pretty much ignored.

    The lack of readily information needed to make informed decisions also seem really lacking or questionable at best. I wonder where the Chamber of Commerce got the 90% figure from and what period/year the results covered.

    The exam results available on the brighter futures website are the 2006 results with a pass rate (5 or more passes) of 71% for Cayman Brac High School and 30% for John Gray High School!!! In addition 30% was the highest pass rate from 1999!! I do hope the teachers/educators have the results for 2007 & 2008 year ends, if not, how are we truly expected to track trends and make the necessary improvements where appropriate??

    With this new Education Minister I really hope Education is given the urgent priority that is badly needed–not through monuments but through better paid teachers, higher standards, relevant resources etc.


    • Anonymous says:

      If these statistics is based on the 2000 census or even the labor force surveys, it includes all people even foreigners as long as their work permit is more than 6 months.  In other words, your helper with a 6th grade education is included in that.

      If it is based on statistics on children leaving school only we in trouble.

  4. Anonymous says:

    "Was it just me who found the 90% literacy rate quoted in the Compass today shocking?

    I find that hard to believe, but if true that puts Cayman’s population next to that of Myanmar, Suriname and Zimbabwe.

    Given the type of economic activity that goes on here, that would make those 10% VERY hard to employ.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here is the quote from the paper:

      "Although the Cayman Islands is not a welfare state, the Government has invested heavily in education, providing free schooling for Caymanian children from 4–16 years old, and achieving a 90 per cent literacy rate.  Schooling is mandatory for all legally resident children in this age group, and is enforced by the Education Department and the courts."

      Read.  We let 10% of our kids leave school illiterate.  But it was expressed as if this was a real achievement not a disgrace.

  5. Richard Wadd says:

     I’m sorry Rolston, but you are in denial. There is a HUGE difference between being ‘Literate’ and FUNCTIONALLY LITERATE. 

    Unfortunately far LESS than your ‘95%’ are "just fine" (FUNTIONALLY LITERATE). How many have you interviewed for job applications?

    the Major issues that I have encountered?

    1/. An in-ability to write – some can’t even spell their own name (what else can you expect when a High-school Diploma is issued based on Attendance, and NOT Performance.

    2/. A LACK of Basic Comprehension – one even asked me if I wanted the Year filled in the Date colum.

    3/. NO Respect / Discipline – starts at home, and NOT enforced in schools.

    4/. Lazy – and we wonder WHY we have this reputation?

    5/. No respect for time – then again, we are ‘the Islands that Time forgot.

    6/. Poor attendance – tell me, how many time can a person’s grandmother die?

    Sadly, this is FAR more pronounced amoung our ‘young males’ than the females.

    Wake-up Rolston!  Denial won’t fix the problem.

  6. P. Edant says:

    Was it just me who found the 90% literacy rate quoted in the Compass today shocking?  If Cayman were a country that rate would put it about 98th in the world.  And you wonder why there is unemployment?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Can you tell me what the PPM did while they were in power and the unemployment rate was going up? how many work permits did they cancel to hire caymanians?  I can tell you from my own experience that when I spoke to a certain PPM candidate about the 1000 people on the unemployment lists, his reply to me was what is 1000 people unemployed? thats nothing… yeah, thats 1000 people who cannot support theirt families.  I applaud Rolston for being frank with this country, these are the type of issues that need to be dealt with.

  8. Anonymous says:

    "FIND JOBS FOR YOUNG CAYMANIANS NOW. There are 30,000 jobs now in the Cayman Islands according to Govt. statistics and only 15,000 Caymanians in the workforce. Get rid of 5% of work  permit holders and you have the 1,500 jobs that can then be filled by the 1,400 Caymanians that are out of work. This is not rocket science, the Employment Department can tell you what skills are available and the number of people without work who have these skills. The Work Permit Board can tell you how many work permit holders are in these skill level jobs." 

    Sorry for you and the other UDP supporters who think this Government going be getting rid of any work permit holders to allow jobs for Caymanians….my dear, when that Immigration Review Team that the UDP has put together is through with the bunch of unna, I guess unna going be in for a shock of ‘siprization’……and as for the Employment Dept advising on what skills are available and number of people with those skills I imagine you have not have any experience with that ‘well run’ Dept…..well I have had personal experience with them and let me tell you, getting just a response from them is like pulling teeth out of a chicken’s mouth….it ain’t gonna happen!….the entire Dept would need to be completely revamped if they are to play an efficient role in helping place Caymanians in appropriate jobs!

  9. Anonymous says:

    You are preparing the students incorrectly. High school is place to learn some very basic principles in math, science, language, social studies, economics, and art. This is done in preparation for "higher" learing – University! Although apparently they aren’t even learning these skills

    Most professional positions on this island require advanced degrees. Even if one were to find a "decent" position – without a university diploma – than there will always be a limit on income potential.

    Too much contentedness to just stay within this little microcosim and never venture beyond the one’s own limit or the horizon.

    All expats by definition have come from somewhere else, whatever the reason – sometimes it’s not about money or a job – but they took a chance!

  10. Anonymous says:


    Sorry Anon1 I think you misunderstood the Minister. A student who is unemployable is a student who cannot read and who does not have a grasp of basic arithmetic or basic writing skills. That is not the same as working in a blue collar job. In order to get a job you need to be able to read to fill out the appropriate application forms, read manuals, instructions etc, once you get paid you need to be able to understand your paycheck and basically understand whether you are being cheated etc…A blue collar worker is actually an employable individual and an invaluable contribution to our society as you so rightly mentioned. 
    The unfortunate but TRUE fact is that we do have unemployable Caymanians, quite a few young ones that simply lack the basic skills to entice an employer to hire them. In these very lean and competitive times employers are closely looking at the bottom line and babysitting a potential employee who cannot write their own name is simply not a part of the package. There will be no incentive to hire these students by any employer, whether Caymanian or Non-Caymanian. The Minister is thus implementing programs etc to try to catch these unemployable students before they get to workforce level.
    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with anon1, at least he or she has the balls to call a spade a spade.

      What skills do you need to mow a lawn, pick up the garbage, go fishing or clean the beaches besides experience on the job? Yet what would our Island be without these people. What they need is an oppurtunity to work in these positions just like the ones that only have a high school education, those with a colledge education, those with a university degree and those with PHDs. They all have to start somewhere.

      Cayman is one of the only places in the world in these sorry economic times that has over employment and an overabundance of jobs. The ratio of jobs to Caymanians is something like 40,000 jobs for 15,000 Caymanians so every Caymanian of working age should have a job in whatever catagory they are qualified for.

      We should not fool ourselves into thinking that only uneducated Caymanians are without jobs right now. The truth of the matter is that Caymanians of all strata and educational backgrounds are among those 1,400 unemployed, not just "unemployable" Caymanians. Just last week the radio talk show was highlighting the fact that 15 Caymanians were laid off from a financial institution downtown, some with as much as 30 years experience, all with proper training and on the job experience. I know of at least 2 Caymanians with PhDs that are unemployed, Dr Frank and Dr. McLaughlin, 6 with masters degrees and 13 with Bachelors Degrees, not to mention the hundreds with Associates Degrees, and the thousand or so with high school depolmas that are presently unemployed. Wake up Mr Anglin, stop focusing on the 70 (5% of 1,400) that might fall into the catagory of unemployable lazy ass people and concentrate on the 1,330 that are qualified, good mannered and willing to work hard for any employer who will give them a chance.

      I agree with anon1 that anyone including the Minister for Labor & Education is an idiot if they are exclusively looking at a long term education solution when there are 1,400 or 10% unemployment among Caymanians today. The solution for the 1,400 unemployed today is indeed as simple as anon1 pointed out. Identify the job skills that these 1,400 have and send home 1,400work permit holders in these catagories, match the openings greated with the people with the skill sets and solve this problem today.

      I agree the minister needs to improve the education standards in the schools for those coming along over the next 10 years but dammit he also needs to take care of the problem of the unemployed today and refering to anyone as unemployable is unacceptable in my eyes as everyone has a place in the Caymanian society and without them all we will be living in a less desirable Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        Send home productive workers or turn up to the Ritz job fair? Ah well sit, at home and wait for someone else to pay the price for your choice not to work.  (Although drunken fights with policemen attending to fatal accidents may be a problem whatever happens)

        • Anonymous says:

          There you go again ……… celebrating the one bad incident in a Caymanian’s life and ignoring all the good that particular Caymanian made in the entire body of work that is his life. Yes the Caymanian has to live with his mistakes all his life, but an expat coming here only has to produce a current police record with no refrence to incidents in their life that may have been expunged from their record.

          Please. The "Ritz Carlton job fair was nothing more than a big PR fiasco. The only paper that reported on it did so after the fact. Why don’t the Ritz advertise a job fair for a week or two then put on another in two weeks? No they need to have that statistic that says that they put on a job fair and only 3 Caymanians showed up so that they can justify their next set of applications for work permit for expat workers.

          Yes, send home productive workers so that PRODUCTIVE Caymanians can replace them and give the tourist a real Caymanian experience. How do you think that tourism was built here in the first place. It was by Caymanian hospitality. Read the quotes from tourists that say they will not return, they are all the same, they can get what has now become the Cayman vacation in Miami and that they never get to meet real Caymanians.


  11. Before its too late... says:

    Comment on this… (some say the truth hurts… well it’s real for me)

    What we need is a change of attitude, direction & focus.  Young people deserve to have the leaders and adults of this nation believe in us.  We deserve to feel needed.  Why would we want to strive for something when we feel it is unreachable?  What would we reach for if we don’t understand?

    Alot of us do not know what the workforce has to offer.  We are told of bank jobs, accounting and of law degrees.  Why would I not get sucked into believing that without these I am less to nothing?

    Make one of your smart comments and answer that?

    Does Cayman not take pride in those who do well?  Even more, do we not offer to help those who we know that don’t?  If I am without role models, will you only assist your child because they have to be better than me?

    We need to be educated… from middle school to highschool and college… we need to hear of what is available in Cayman and we need an ear to help us develop our talents to not just "make" it but to be proud of whatever profession we choose and to excel at it.  But then again, some of you adults don’t know yourselves so I guess the cycle continues… … … …

    Shame on you for allowing some of us to fall between the cracks… … … … so much for being an example to the younger generation… hopefully we’ll learn before it’s too late for another generation

    • Anonymous says:

      Before it’s too late

      Alot of us do not know what the workforcehas to offer.  We are told of bank jobs, accounting and of law degrees.


      There is a lot more out there!! Unforunately maybe not in Cayman. The world is much smaller than it was 100, 50, 25 years ago. Options abound – you just need to look .

      If you are going to work everyday doing something — make sure it’s something you like. Any frustration or dislike you have, will show through in your performance.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think you have almost proved my point yourself Anon1. Congratulations by the way for spelling idiot correctly, it was one of the few words you did get right.

    I agree with you that we do need people of all backgrounds in the workforce, even the uneducated people like yourself. People like you that cannot read or write to even a basic level cannot expect the schools to make their children into geniuses when they can’t even get basic support at home. Look at your spelling, it is appalling, you should be ashamed of yourself, preaching on a public message board about how educated and gifted you are!

    In the third world, an educated person could be somebody that has completed a high school education. In the civilised world (Cayman included) an educated person is not a kid that has just about managed to scrape through high school and then left, it would be somebody that has successfully completed University or at least some vocational courses. We need to stop fooling ourselves and our children that just managing to finish high school is going to give them enough skills and knowledge to walk into the kind of jobs we all desire.

    I am not picking on young Caymanians at all, there are plenty of lazy Americans, British, Africans etc in those countries. The difference is if US or UK kids don’t get an education or are too lazy to get jobs, then we point the finger at the parents and the lazy people. There are thousands of expats all around the world in each of these countries doing jobs that the local people feel are beneath them, same as here. But everywhere else outside Cayman, we blame the lazy locals for not being bothered to do these jobs. We don’t blame the expat workers that have come over to do thesejobs as somebody has got to do them.

    Every time I open the Compass or the Net news, there are loads of job adverts for all kinds of jobs. School or college leavers could walk into many of these jobs. Your ‘young children’ that sound like they are actually grown up could walk into one of these roles, but they won’t because like I said before they are holding out for a position they feel that they are entitled to (e.g. CEO, CFO or VP), whereas in other places around the world, school and college leavers often have to work through very basic and menial jobs before they get a break and get into the career they wished for.

    As for solutions to the problems…..introduce more vocational training into schools (mechanics, electrical, plumbing etc), not all kids are studious and aren’t interested in maths and science or accounting. High school kids should get some careers guidance and opportunities for vocational training, maybe by partnering local businesses and offering work experience and work/study arrangements.

    I agree there are too many work permit holders here. At the lower end of the scale there are plenty of jobs that Caymanians could be doing but they aren’t getting the training for at school or again, are not prepared to do. Obviously it won’t work by sending home all the professional expats in banking, insurance, teaching etc becausethere is nobody to fill the skills gap, but we could begin by encouraging and training these kids to be prepared to start at the bottom of these companies and if they apply themselves and show that they are motivated, hard working and willing to learn they can easily work themselves up.


  13. Anonymous says:

    "The problem is Caymanians (and non Caymanians) like you only see the negative aspects of young people and utilise every oppurtunity to castigate the young people of my country."

    There are both great young people here and those who need a little more "guidance".  Of course no one does stop to talk about the ones on a good path, since they are not having a problem that needs to be fixed.  To the 95% who are doing great, WELL DONE!!!!!  To the other 5%, well someone’s got to do the janitorial work, so make your choice. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    anon1:  Saying "You are an IDIOT too" isn’t very nice.

    you jackass….

    • anon1 says:

      When I call someone an IDIOT it is not my intention to be nice.

      As you  obviously think that refering to someone as "you jackass" if being nice, thank you for the compliment……………

      Now Mr. Nice Guy or Gal, can the publis and myself hear your constructive ideas for solving the unemployment problem in Cayman???????

  15. Ritz Carlton is so fake!! says:

    Dear Editor,

    I read an editorial peice today in the Compass about Ritz Carlton having a job fair.

    Please ask the Compasss WHEN and HOW the public were advised of this job fair? Because I know people that are still waiting on those "blood suckers" at the Ritz to call them.

    Let’s face it the Ritz haven’t lived up to it’s prior commitments after receiving some many concessions from previous governments, where are the social returns for the Caymanian since the Ritz arrived?

    It has helped bring old tennis legends in one weekend for the year?

    Give me a break and get real!

    Deal with it – BoBo

  16. Expat 4289 says:

    Caution: Rant Coming

    Prior to going to university I worked my hump off in various hard labour jobs, and during university I worked evenings and weekends in restaurants or bars to get ahead and not be buried in student loans when I graduated.  Sure, it had a big impact on my social life, but working was just what you did in my country 25 years ago (it’s still the same way).  Everyone did it.  Work first, party later.

    After university I worked my hump off as a flunky for peanuts until I gained the experience to be a "senior professional".  The money became good then.  Having achieved that, I brought my hard-earned skill set to the Cayman Islands where I now work as a professional in the private sector for a respectable income.

    I hear stories now of young Caymanians who apparently want to go from partying in high school to having my job, with nothing in between.  Sorry sonny boy – the private sector world doesn’t work like that.  It’s ahard, hard grind to gather the required skills and get ahead, and only chumps believe in free rides here. 

    If you don’t want to work hard, try getting your free ride in government, where the absence of any skills whatsoever apparently won’t prevent you from getting a big salary for doing nothing except being "connected".  That is, until the government financially collapses under the expense of paying big salaries to people who do no actual productive work, and you are forced to try to enter the private sector with no skills to offer.  (Such a hiring policy of government also has the effect of creating an ineffective bureaucratic monstrosity of a useless government, but that’s a different story.)

    Anyway, that’s when you’ll say "How did I get to be a middle-aged unemployed person with no prospects of a good job in the real world?". 

    That’s when your good-timing party-boy no-hard-work chickens will come home to roost, and the chicken droppings will be horrific (plan on explaining the lack of food and money to your wife…). 

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Now have a great day!!

    • anon1 says:

      Expat 4289. I recommend every Caymanian and every non Caymanian in the Cayman Islands read your post

      Let me state up front that I agree with 100% of what you wrote. Your experience paralled that of mine in practically all aspects of your life and I am now reaping the benefits of it. The main difference between me and you is that I went to university 34 years ago. The difference between then and now is that there were polititians around then (Mr Jim Bodden) who made sure that I was provided with an entry level job when I needed one.

      I wish to take your comments one step further and ask, how would you have felt 25 years ago, when you, as a young person who wanted to work your hump off in order to succeed, if when you tried to find that entry level job, you were told that you could not get an entry level job in your own country? what if your Government statistics showed that there were foreign national (perhaps Caymanians) taking up several entry level jobs that you were trained to do? Would not your attitude be the same as mine? That is it is time to send somebody who is working in the entry level job you needed off to their native home!

      Too often in the Cayman Islands anyone who advocates creating entry level jobs (or professional jobs) by sending home a work permit holder is castigated as being Xenophobic and anti foreigner when this is not the case.

      Let me close by saying that the same is true for qualified and experienced expat labor in the Cayman Islands. If there is a qualified and experienced Caymanian without a job and there is an expat in a similar position ……. the expat needs to be sent home and the Caymanian given the job.

      • Anonymous says:

        TO:  "how would you have felt 25 years ago, when you, as a young person who wanted to work your hump off in order to succeed, if when you tried to find that entry level job, you were told that you could not get an entry level job in your own country? "

        Funny thing, that DID happen to me.  Fresh out of university with two undergraduate degrees, big recession, 12% unemployment, and no job experience except working as a waiter.  I should have marched down to the unemployment office and gone on the dole.  Guess what, I got a job as a waiter and spent my free time applying for every job under the sun, asking places despite ‘no help wanted’ signs.

        and guess what – I succeeded, even when others sat around and griped about it.  Anyway, back to work for me; young people and students should probably get their too.

        • anon1 says:

          Kool …. Cayman needs more Expats (and Caymanians for that matter) like you. You succeeded because you had what many wil call the Caymanian work ethic and I venture to guess that you never had any of your role models calling you unemployable, lazy, slut or any of the other names that other posters chose to call young people in Cayman.

          My experience was similar, upon returning from University after studying Mechanical Engineering, finding an expatriate in the only job at Public Works Department (as it was called then) I simply found a job as a mechanic in a local Dodce Dealership, rose to Service Manage then General Manager in three years before changing profession completely and taking a job at the old Royal Palms Hotel where I started off fixing plugged toilets among other things, moving to the front desk, then up through night audit, reservations, front office manager and on up the ladder. In 5 years I took over my first condominium on Seven Mile Beach and today consider myself a happy contented Caymanian.

          It is this kind of determination that I am trying to impart on the young Caymanians (including my 2 grown children) as it is this kind of attitude that my father and the father of the Minister of Education taught me. I am just disgusted when anyone that should be a role model to youngsters chose to lump them all into the same catagory.

          Notwithstanding this, the situation now facing young people in the Cayman Islands is different than it was for either you or I. In Cayman right now there are no new jobs being created at any level and the workforce has outgrown the jobs available, someone has to go so that a young Caymanian can actually get his or her foot in the door. It is neithe ingratutude, intolerance nor bad manners to ask 5% of the expat work force to go home in order to free up jobs for those graduating from high school or university.

          In closing, thank you for the intellectual discourse ……….. it is much more thought provoking than most of the responses from the others who chose to reply who never seemed to get the point.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Anon 1, are you really being serious?????

    As if a Caymanian is going to do a menial job, even if they had no education and couldn’t read and write they would still expect a senior management position. If they didn’t get it they would sell drugs and cause a nuisance about town.

    Caymanians believe they have the right to the top jobs because of their birthrights, despite not being qualified, experienced or even motivated to be able to do these jobs. In civilised countries like US, Canada, UK etc school leavers that cannot read and write, leave school and go into the kind of jobs that you mention, working on garbage trucks, building, cleaning and labouring. In Cayman the youth cannot be bothered.

    I employa  number of staff and have some great Caymanians working for me. They are bright, intelligent and motivated. They have finished school and college and are worthy of the jobs I give them. However, when it comes to clerical roles, I’d say 75% of interviewees that get sent to me do not bother turning up and those that do turn up, are late, they have no idea of work etiquette and will quite happily answer phone calls and read text messages during interviews.

  18. Anonymous says:

    5% is full employment in most countries.

    In the US unemployment is close to 10%, in the UK it is about 7.5%.
    We have reports from companies on the island that young Caymanians won’t even turn up for recruitment fairs. Others report that those that are hired either don’t turn up for work, or are unwilling or unable to work when they do.
    Stop blaming ex-pats for your children’s faults and take responsibility .
  19. Anonymous says:

    In the resent employment fair held at the Ritz Carlton, guess how many young Caymanians attended looking for employment? Answer : THREE!

    The fact of the matter is that there are jobs out there for young Caymanians, its just that many of our youth would prefer not to get their hands dirty, not to have to work anti social hours, and would like to start in a management position, earning a large salary. Well welcome to the real world Cayman, no graduates anywhere in the world can expect this. Unless you are exceptionally lucky, you have to start at the bottom, and after working long and hard for a few years on the bottom rungs of the ladder you can aspire to management positions, and a good salary.

    The fact of the matter is there are jobs out there, its just that many young Caymanians think they are above them.

  20. Anonymous says:




  21. GT Ninja says:

    PLEASE! What kind of education would children get going to school 3 days a week and working 2? Are you mad?

    You want to help our kids?

    1. Build better schools.. (the old ones are out of date and inadequate and they have been for years ever since I was going there. Crap equipment. Crap infrastructure.) Stop bickering and invest the children.. you just said that no expense must be spared Minister! The education system in Cayman has always been garbage. Back in the 90’s when computers started to come to the high school some fool thought that only children in higher sets should be able to take computer class. Because computers were only for smarter children in sets 1 and 2 while the rest were too stupid to use them. So only a handful left school with computer skills. How’s that for foresight?

    2. Build a trade school for mechanics, electrical, horticulture/agriculture and such. There a kids that don’t want to be accounts and lawyers. Throw in some business management courses for the ones who want to own their own garage or construction companies. Teach the kids a trade.

    3. Hire truancy officers for the delinquents and start fining some of these so-called "parents" for neglect. We have some very slack Caymanians breeding left right and center and the rest of us have to pay for their mistakes.

    4. Encourage our kids in to science. Hold annual science fairs from the schools. Inspire our kids tobecome marine biologist, chemist something other than damned accountants. Caymanians are not diverse in the work force and it’s because our government and our families are not investing in our future or our country. Caymanians don’t inspire their children to think outside of the box.

    5. It’s getting to the point that some of these ragga muffin kids need a stricter school. Maybe build a military school or invest in a child boot camp where you break these wannabe gangsters of bad habits. Don’t send them to Northward. Send them to boot camp with some tough love and education. They need discipline. A lot of them aren’t learning it at home. Most of them have parents just as bad as they are.

    6. Stop blaming the previous government for everything and work together! Cayman has had crap governance since 2001 so burry the rotting dead horse that you keep beating already!

    7. Government… invest in your people. Stop creating animosity amongst our people with garbage party politics.

    8. Caymanians… Stop blaming everyone for our own mistakes and failures as parents and role models for our children. When it comes to kids.. you bear ’em… you rear ’em. Your ill-mandered and illiterate children are a reflection of you as parents… not the government.. not expats… YOU. Stop reading this post and go ask your child if they have homework to do then sit down and help them with it. YOUR CHILDREN NEED YOU! What kind of parent let their child graduate from high school not knowing how to read?????? NO EXCUSE. You should be charged with child abuse.

    My people make me laugh….

    When it come the past … we have short memories.

    When it comes to the future…. we are short sighted.

    Politicians and parents stop pointing fingers.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The educational system of our Beloved Cayman Islands is only going to be as good or as poor as we, the adults in the community allow. Parents too often accept mediocrity as an achievable standard, employers do offer jobs to mediocre passing students, and in reality Iam sure some teachers have" passed" students for many reasons not having to do with academic ability. I was floored many years ago when i leanred a 40% at JGHS was actually considered a pass. How can a student fail more than 60% of a class then be told he/she passes???? We all know the problems, we all know the solutions.l What will be interesting to me is who will stand up , put aside egos, and step up to the plate and demand a siutable Education for all. I do not by any means imply that it is only up to the mimister. Parents MUST do their part and demand higher standards, expect the children to be better and better not accepting the 40%. This will not get better overnight! It will take many years to retrain parents, stydents, administrators and yes teachers to accept nothing less then the students best potential being achieved.. This to would go along way to the other many social ills that we see in the young adults with poor self-esteem because noone believed in them that they could be better or achieve higher.

  23. Caymanian at heart says:

    The FIRST thing that needs to be done in regards to labour and jobs in Cayman is that Government MUST find competent, responsible, caring and sober people to head up the Labour Office.

    The SECOND thing that needs to be done is to stop relying on the issuance of work permit fees as a source of revenue.

    The THIRD thing that needs to be done is to PROPERLY regulate all of the "temping" agencies that are in this country. This is just a conduit for expats to come in and take away jobs from Caymanians.

    Just my two cents worth on this real, troublesome and soon to be frightening problem we call UN-EMPLOYMENT

  24. reply to anon1 says:


    I don’t think you understand what the problem is. You’re thinking that the young of today are the same as the Caymanians of older generations who had a great work ethic, common sense and discipline and, yes, many of them started at the bottom and worked their way up the ladder and became very successful. When people today talk about the young being unemployable, they’re not saying they don’t have a university degree, or even a high school grad certificate, they mean that too many of the kids today have a terrible attitude – they show up for work late, or show up drunk or with a hangover, go home for lunch and don’t come back, don’t want to take on extra work, take really long lunch breaks, wear pants showing their underwear (boys), look like sluts (girls) etc. How many Caymanians do you see in the construction business? Too much like hard work!

    The thing we all have to do is ask ourselves what happened to that famous Caymanian work ethic, self respect and respect for other people, and how do we get it back.

    Calling our new education minister an idiot when you haven’t taken the time to read the article properly is not a good start. Mr Anglin seems as if he really wants to try. How about you sit back for a while and see what he does instead of tearing him down before he’s got started.

    And yes, before you get going, I know that there are some wonderful young people who do really well – and they stand out like the sun in whatever they do, and that includes manual work. But if you actaully care about this country and the next generation, you should stop trying to pretend that they don’t have problems. Asa famous US president once said, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Let’s teach the kids manners. Start by using them.

    • anon1 says:

      You are an IDIOT too.

      I am talking to the one that replied to my earlier post by starting off with "Anon 1 I don’t think you understand what the problem is"

      You do not even know who I am yet you presume to know what I understand and do not understand. I gave a well thought out argument of why we needed "uneducated" people in our work force and why they are as important as the Accountant, Banker, Manager etc. i also gave the solution that not only addresses the unemployed in this catagory but addressed the unemployed in EVERY catagory and will have a positive impact on crime.

      You, with your condesending attitude and your proclivity to appease ALL who are among us, with the notible exceptions of Caymanians who "show up for work late, or show up drunk or with a hangover, go home for lunch and don’t come back, don’t want to take on extra work, take really long lunch breaks, wear pants showing their underwear (boys), look like sluts (girls) etc." have the nerve to tellme I do not understand the problem. Why do you ignore the 90% that do NOT fall into this horrible catagory you chose to write about ………. is it that you do not know any young people outside this catagory????

      The problem is Caymanians (and non Caymanians) like you only see the negative aspects of young people and utilise every oppurtunity to castigate the young people of my country.

      I am a 6 generation Caymanian who have two young children, who are ready to join the workforce. Both are educated, one to university level and one to high school level. The one that is university level had to search for 8 months to find a job, only being employed last month. The one that is high school educated has been working for 5 months in a job that he enjoys, however this job has NO SALARY because the department he works for is "cutting back" and claim they cannot afford to pay him. Nontheless there are 6 people in that department that he wouks sholder to sholder with who are forign nationals. Neither of these young people can nor should ever be discribed in the derogitory language you use to discribe young Caymanians.

      My challange to you and the Minister, Mr. Anglin, is this. What is wrong with this picture? and what are you going to do about it?

      No more pussy footing around, what is the Government of today (I don’t want to hear anything more about the mess the PPM left us in) going to do about it?

      Let me state the solution again ………. send back home 1,500 of the 30,000 on work permits (5%). Make the decision on who goes home based on what skill levels are unemployed and pull no punches while doing so.


  25. Anonymous says:

    Over 90% of a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development takes place in the first five years of life.  The highest rate of return on investment in human capitol is from ages 0-5. Cayman will never have a productive workforce until there are improvements in the early years settings; plain and simple. Unfortunately, the Department of Education’s Early Childhood Services unit has imploded and very little is being done to build the foundation of Cayman’s education system.



  26. Anonymous says:

    Where I come from high-school trainees are free to the employer who will take them into the work force as part of a ‘trade school’ curriculum for students who wish to learn a skill for a job out of high school instead of pursuing college right away.  This is done in the 11th and 12th years of high school and proved highly effective.  I personally took up legal secretarial in my last two years in high school and 20 plus years later I can boast a full career, a family and quite a healty paycheque.  Training in high school for vocational skills is a must, as I learned more from hands on training than anything in any book or from any teacher.

  27. anon1 says:

     Ronston you are an idiot…….Minister of Education …. Minister of Labor

    There is no such thing as "kids that are unemployable". It is statements like this that allow the Caymanian workforce to be treated with disdain.

    Your father, and my father joined the workforce with only a primary education and through hard work and dedication worked themselves to the top of their professions. What makes you think that the 5% of the youth of today that are unable to gain a high school education cannot do the same?

    There are hundreds of work permit holders on this Island (therefore hundreds of jobs) that do not have a high school education and are able to do an exlempary job at the position they hold even if it is as the garbage collector, manual laborer or unskilled apprentice. Ten years from now these same people will be the leaders of their professions as skilled laborers and some will raise to managers in their industry. What is wrong with Caymanians being allowed to hold these jobs and creating a future that is to their liking?

    Not every Caymanian is cut out to hold university degrees or in some cases even a high school deploma. These 5% should be incouraged to find entry level jobs in whatever industry they are best suited to work at and mot be referred to by the Minister of Labor and Education as " unemployable" by the likes of you looking down your nose at them.

    As the Minister of Labor it is your job to see to it that these people are found entry level jobs and to encourage them and where necessary help them to fill these positions, even if it means cancelling  a few work permits to accomplish this.

    Cayman would be a pretty horrible place to live if the jobs that do not require an education to complete efficiently were not filled because there were no one to fill them. Just think for a minute what our island would look like if there were NO garbage men, NO gardeners, NO hotel housekeepers, NO bus drivers, NO local tour guides, NO fishermen, NO common laborers, NO yardies NO seamen ………… the list goes on.

    Your one sided way of looking at education where you expect everyone to be a banker, an accountant, a team leader, a manager etc does not give me hope that the lot of the Caymanian laborer will improve under your watch.

    In case you are wondering, I am a UDP card holder and supported a change in government in 2009 and voted UDP, however if this is the way you are going to try to improve the lot of the Caymanians then we will be no better off than we were with the failures of the PPM.

    Stop wining about the failures of the PPM, even schoolchildren in China know they were a failure. Throwing more money at the problem is not the solution.

    FIND JOBS FOR YOUNG CAYMANIANS NOW. There are 30,000 jobs now in the Cayman Islands according to Govt. statistics and only 15,000 Caymanians in the workforce. Get rid of 5% of work  permit holders and you have the 1,500 jobs that can then be filled by the 1,400 Caymanians that are out of work. This is not rocket science, the Employment Department can tell you what skills are available and the number of people without work who have these skills. The Work Permit Board can tell you how many work permit holders are in these skill level jobs. Open your eyes and put the two departments together and solve this unemployment problem that is the root of the sudden raise in crime in the Cayman Islands.

    STOP BEING AN IDIOT AND MAKING GRANDIOSE STATEMENTS THAT MAKE NO SENSE. It is your job to prepare people for jobs and your jobs to see that, in a country with over 100% overemployment that all of the citizens of the Cayman Islands have jobs ……. now get on with it, you are certainly being paid enough for the country to expect results from you. 

  28. Anonymous says:

    Why not have "internships manadatory" in high schools. Mandatory meaning without an internship experience a student may not graduate from high school. I say this because as a young Caymanian studying overseas a student in the Associates, Bachelors or MBA program MUST complete an internship. This is a class that is done online and it’s GRADED. By doing this, students are able to have at least one experience on their resume or who to tell become future employees for a particular company. This can enhance resume writing skills, work ethics, dress code and so on. I think Cayman high schools can adapt such principle so that these students can have a ‘practical’ twist to their studies. Also parents need to support their child(ren) and then this attitude will show in one’s school work or attitude. Not so much of depending on the government but doing the basic by first taking the initative in knowing the teacher, ensure the child(ren) grades are up to standard, attend PTA meetings and so on. I’m grateful to be on a Government scholarship to further my studies. So I know if I can do it, others can too!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not?

      Why not make it that children in Government Schools don’t graduate because of their age, but rather because they have met the requisite level?

      The interesting thing is that all of these very valif suggestions don’t require the terrible expenses pursued by the PPM, for example, $1Million dollar kitchens.


      • Anonymous says:

        ‘Why not make it that children in Government Schools don’t graduate because of their age, but rather because they have met the requisite level?"

        Because, quite simply, some of them would remain in school until they were in their twenties or even thirties. This is always trotted out as a solution-it doesn’t work, here or elsewhere. Some kids just don’t have what it takes and in Cayman there are too many of them because their parents don’t do a damn thing with them in the all important years of 0-5. Read to them/converse with them in English? You must be joking. That’s why the foreigners outgun us all the time-they spend time-yes TIME- on their kids.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Why not create an apprenticeship system? School leavers are picking a career path (auto mechanics, hair dresser, teachers, banker, construction management etc) and learn the ropes from the ground up. After 2-3 years of going through a well balanced training program, you graduate and can be employed with skills and experience to show.

  30. AJ says:

    Mr Anglin please don’t forget that literacy and numeracy problems don’t just start at high school.  The best way to nip this in the bud is to catch it in the primary schools.  Too many children are going from primary to middle school and are not able to read or count.  This causes all types of physcological problems due to the fact that these kids don’t want their peers to find out about their weakness and/or be teased.  I graduated from a private primary school and went to GHHS and was really surprised, even then, of how many of my classmates could not read as well as me…and that was over 10 years ago!  So this is not just a recent problem.

    To the parents, you have to do your homework too if you expect your children to excel at school.  You have to take the time to make sure your children are doing their homework, look over their homework, make sure that assignments are completed on time, make sure they study for tests and turn off tvs, video and computer games.  Monitor your childrens grades.  Go to reporting sessions.  Basically be active in your childrens lives.  Discipline is not a bad thing so long as it is not used excessively.  These are your children, your responsibility not for the government to babysit and look after.

  31. Anonymous says:

    "The education system is producing kids that are unemployable, according to the new education minister."  "Anglin said he was shocked by the deficiency in literacy in the schools. “I knew it was bad but didn’t dream as bad as it is – it explains why grades not up to standard,” he said."

    Helloooooooooooo……..where has Mr. Anglin been for the past four years I wonder??!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Minister,

      Its time to stop stirring the slop pail with hopes that the stinkest part will make you smell good.

      You have the job that you have, because you convinced the voting public that you could do it better than the person that previously held it.

      So, use the time you are being paid so highly for to find solutions and just dump the slop in the sewage.

  32. Anonymous says:

    In response to ‘Why are parents not teaching their kids these skills?"

    Interesting question which probably has no single or even simple answer. It may even be that answering this question is necessary in order to prevent the unacceptable status quo from persisting over future decades. Unfortunately the existential search for an answer to this question does not offer any immediate solution for those who are having trouble obtaining employment in Cayman’s current economic situation

    That said, it is entirely legitimate and undoubtedly desirable for government to utilise underutilised public infrastructure for programmes such as "job skills clinics" for our young, and perhaps some not so young, people. 

    I would hope that government would adopt an idea like a series of "job skills clinics" and that the private sector would assist both economically and through volunteer tutors. I would be happy to volunteer – are there any others out there who are willing to help?


  33. Anonymous says:

    Our young people need to be taught work ethics.  Until this happens, (and it can be taught in a certified programme), we will always have employers saying Caymanians are lazy, and have bad work habits.  Work Ethics should be taught from primary right through to the University College, and should be compulsory.

  34. RufusB says:

    There’s another factor entering into this that everyone is tip-toeing around:

    The Generation Gap

    Because of:

    school (group-based learning vs. learning to think on your own),

    technology (younger people often seem to be talking/texting/emailing etc. nonstop),

    discretion (when you’re used to sharing your whole life online, the separation of personal vs. work issues is a foreign concept – asking to keep personal issues away from work is met with a stunned expression)

    fashion (school uniforms can have the effect of not teaching what is or isn’t appropriate at work if you’ve had no practice in deciding, due to lack of choice at school),

    and yes, less emphasis nowadays on communicating in complete sentences with well-thought arguments in written and verbal form…

    Picture a Boomer (or older) person (regardless of place of birth) looking to hire someone.

    It’s easy to see how a young Caymanian, no matter how intelligent or hard-working, will be overlooked in favour of an older worker because he/she will seem like someone from another planet to the people responsible for hiring… and in the shortage of available Caymanian workers (with the same way of thinking), here comes another permit holder…

    I’m not saying what’s right or wrong in this instance – just pointing out painful reality. And I agree, lack of training in what is REALLY being looked for in employees is the issue.

    The economic times we’re in make it even harder for businesses to subsidize training that should have been done at home and at school…

  35. Anonymous says:

     why not put on "job skills clinics" … why rely on the government?  Why are parents not teaching their kids these skills?

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree, all this starts from the home!!  We as a community rely too much on the government to teach our kids what should be taught at home.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully the government’s approach to the improvement of human capital will exhibit some degree of joined up thinking. If not, the inward investment at any cost being pursued by MAC will only create more wealth for politicians and their cronies while increasing demand for  imported labour and making life for the rest of us, and in particular our young people, much worse.

    From my experience, while there are some who have received an excellent education, there are hundreds of recent school leavers who have been let down by the system over the past decade and who are unemployable by many businesses as they cannot read, write or apply even basic arithmetic. For those school leavers that have basic reading, writing and math skills but still cannot find work, one suggestion for Rollie, why not put on "job skills clinics" to teach what is expected in the business world in terms of punctuality, office dress and office behaviour, and the proper way to communicate with customers and clients. These clinics could be put on in each of the district libraries or community centres during evenings or weekends for those who have already left school. Our young people are as capable as any others but if no one takes the time to teach them what is expected in the business world then we are setting them up to fail.