Government to tackle youth unemployment

| 10/08/2009

(CNS): With some 35 percent of 15 -19 year olds being unemployed  according to the latest Economics & Statistics Office Labour Force Survey, government has introduced a youth employment strategy designed to make young people more employable. The National Employment Passport Programme is being run by the Department of Employment Relations (DER) and is a combination of education, training and job placement support.

DER Director Lonny Tibbetts said today that the challenge, as ever, is that young people were unable to find work because they had no experience and then they can’t get that experience unless they find work

“At the core of this initiative we are trying to bridge the gap between employment opportunities and the skills required,” Tibbetts noted adding that it was also about helping young job seekers understand key issues such as workplace discipline, cultural empathy, business attire, writing and other communication skills and a commitment to work.

Tibbetts also said they wanted to encourage young jobseekers to pursue careers in fields that they like as this improves retention issues. He explained that the DER has been collecting data from employers and we continue to see a divide between the skills young people have going into the workplace and the skills that employers need. He said a task force has been formulated and the DER has engaged with the Chamber of commerce as well as other stakeholders.  

“The feed back is that the initiative is being quite well received and we intend to work with industry to assist with putting young people in a combination of work placement and college attendance along with employability workshops.

Tibbetts said that they hoped to have the initiative ready to go by the end of August.

DER will be working with the ministry-assembled youth employment taskforce, which includes representatives from the Ministry of Education, Department of Employment Relations (DER), Department of Education Services, University College, RCIPS and John Gray High School. 

 The Director also noted that as a cost saving measure, the programme will exploit existing resources so training will be offered through UCCI, the Chamber of Commerce, British Red Cross and other local institutions and individuals.

Speaking before he was hospitalized the Minister for Labour Rolston Anglin said the strategy will ensure that young people have employable skills and that employers can find in them the skills required to support their businesses. “For many years we’ve invested millions in our infrastructure because we can see immediate results. “The results of investing in our people may take longer to materialise, but we must ‘up-skill’ our entire workforce if we hope to remain competitive,” the Minister added.

Meanwhile it was reported today (Monday 10 August) that Anglin is feeling much better after his admittance to hospital for high blood pressure on Friday. The Leader of Government Business, McKeeva Bush told the press that after precautionary tests the Minister will be joining his family this week for his planned vacation.                





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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why is there in this day and age a debate as to what is the best for the children of this island? We need to look in the mirror first and discuss were this problem even comes from. Our children have been given the OPPORTUNITY of an excellent education regardless of their socioeconomic background. Every year there are amazing opportunities for scholarships. So why are we seeing so many children with no direction and purpose leaving our schools? It is notanyones fault but the parents who allow it!

    It is our duty as citizens of our community and as parents to start fostering a sense of responsibility and a work ethic in our children starting when they are toddlers. We need to not only teach our children, but make them accountable for their jobs as children, which includes household responsibilities and to respect and learn what their teachers are teaching them!

    Not every child will bea scholar nor do they need to be! It should not matter if a child receives an A or C what should matter is that they are taught that it is the effort, time and responsibility placed within the assignment that is important.  We need to stop making excuses for their poor behavior and poor scores in school. If they are struggling in school we need to start community tutoring to help them succeed, if they are struggling with family issues than we need to take the approach of fostering a families needs as a community to address the issues. We need to teach them that it does not matter if you are sweeping the streets or practicing medicine; the bottom line is that they are the best street sweeper or the best doctor that they can be!

    There is much debate and chatter of our young people not having opportunity. WE NEED TO MAKE OUR OWN OPPORTUNITY! Children need to be encouraged to find a passion or an interest and to seek positive mentors who can provide them with volunteer opportunities, which will in return give the children a sense of purpose and responsibility. Volunteering is something that is not spoken of much here! If you teach a child from an early age the world owes them nothing, they will learn that they must find ways to make something. If you give a child a sense of entitlement all you are doing is teaching them to sit around and wait for opportunity and we all know were that has gotten us!!!

    I emplore parents to stop making excuses for any child’s poor performance at home or in school. Hold them accountable for their responsibilities as young citizens of our community. If they are not performing make it your business to know why and make changes not excuses! Every child will ultimately make poor choices. Use those moments to make a positive change. Excuses do not change behavior! So Cayman please stop making excuses, make change!

    Ask yourself this question? Would you rather have your child working and contributing to the home or hanging out with friends sitting on your couch wasting space? We all must start somewere and by starting at the bottom you are given incentive to shine! If you shine you will be noticed and your efforts will be rewarded! 




  2. Ruth Scott says:

    You know those of you who have time to post negative comments regarding the DER should just hush and try and do somthing yourselves to help the youth instead of being critical of Caymanians trying to help Caymanians.

    I can only imagine that the negative posters are those same ‘sell-out’ Caymanians who would stand on their very one to promote a foreigner or to hold their own Caymanians down.

    For once in your life, try and see what good is being done before you start complaining.  And also, remember not eveyone listed and registered with the DER can be placed in a job because we do have some unemployable persons in this country.  When the DER has sent one single individual on a variety of jobs in several months, what is that saying about the mentality of those persons.  If live is so hard for those Caymanians out there complaining why don’t they just try a bit harder and keep that job and stop complaining about the work. 

    Here are some pointers that should help you out:

    If you qualified to do a job then:
    1. do it to the best of your ability
    2. be on time everyday
    3. don’t waste time on the phone & don’t waste your employers time that he/she is paying you for
    4. stop harbouring friends at the job that are not employed distracting you from doing yours
    5. dress presentable all the time
    6. don’t get in arguments with other members of staff regardless, keep your head down and do your job
    7. do not take what is not yours
    8. take your lunch hour and not another minute more
    9. if you are going to be late call your boss and be honest about being late – stopy lying about it
    10. stop complaining about the job, be thankful you have one and work harmoniously with others.

    If you ponder these points then your mentality of change is going to be much better for you.  Some Caymanians are raised to believe that the job is theres, well it is to a point, until you mess it up.  YOu are your worse enemy when you are employed and you make a mess of things.  These are the reasons employers are steering away from you all with that bad attitude and demanding mentality that the ‘job is mines”.  Realty check people: it isn’t any longerit is you along with 50+ other persons lined up waiting to take it away from you.

    What the DER should do now is to link with Social Services and tell them how many times they have sent these deadbeat persons on job interviews and how long they lasted and etc.  Then Social Services should cut them off, I bet you then you will see how fast they take a job and glad they got one.

    So you negative posters, obviously you just want to bring down the DER Director Lonny Tibbetts and Minister Rolston Anglin, but you see we know you all are just a bunch of wasters yourself so cry all you want, we ain’t going to listen to your negativity.  Take my advice, change your mentality and you will see how much further you get. I am not going to dispute the fact that some of these negative posters aint’ coming from within the depts/ministry themselves from these deadbeat Caymanians who just can’t stand to see a fellow Caymanian get ahead.  But you know what happens to people like you all, one day all this negative you spewing out at these people, will come back to haunt you, and God forbid should any of you all have children because the sins of the parents fall on the heads of the children.

    So in closing, give these men their fair due, they are trying to work with the some of the hard headed children we have in this country whose parents have neglected to see that they make something of themselves other than a life of crime, or deadbeat employees.  Thank these men ad be thankful you too have jobs that you can go to everyday and maybe you have these jobs because these same men saw to it you got one.

    Kudos to Minister Rolston Anglin and DER Director Mr. Lonny Tibbetts, plenty of us out here praise you for the hard work you are doing and the long hours you are doing to make it work.

    God bless you gentlemen.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well said-  the DER can hardly place who they have regisitered and now they come up with another initiative – waste of time and money – how many new staff will they have to hire to implement this and once again – IS THIS FOR THE BRAC ALSO and if so who do we speak to in the Brac????????????

  4. Quincy Brown says:

    Very few young Caymanians are interested in going into domestic work or lawn and gardening services (chopping bush).  If we would work for people cleaning dishes, ironing clothes, cleaning houses, cleaning yards… there would be no need for work permits, or at least not as many.  Come on Caymanians, our forefathers used to say "half a loaf is better than none".   There would be no youth unemployment if the youth did what I and others did and sometimes still do, that is to say work cleaning the beaches, the roadsides, serving in restaurants, waiting on tables and washing dishes.  Come on young people…we are not born into the position of CEO, King or President.  In order to lead me must serve!  It’s okay to work in restaurants and hotels. We are not all called to be lawyers and accountants, even though they make the top dollars.     Unemployment in our youth would decrease dramatically if they are given an opportunity to work and if they apply themselves with the right attitude.  Being Caymanian is sometimes a struggle – I understand, but with God Almighty on our side WE SHALL OVERCOME!!

    Pray, work hard, save your money and travel.  If you get the chance, live in another country for a while.  

    God Bless the youth of the Cayman Islands 


    Quincy Brown


    Voluntary Community Youth Worker

  5. Anonymous says:

    How will the DER and its leadership find jobs for the youth when they cant find jobs for persons who have been registered there for well over 6-8 months???

    The country needs TRUE and HONEST figures on just how much success or lack thereof that this office has had say since January 2009 with placements. I dare say the number would be miniscule.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great job MInister Anglin and Mr. Lonny Tibbetts of the DER.

    It’s obvious it takes the young minds of these two brilliant men to see what has been lacking for so long and then implement it.


    Thank you Minister Anglin and Mr. Lonny TIbbetts you two make a great team….keep it up. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is lovely – is CAYMAN BRAC included in this initiative – first I am hearing about it in the Brac – as usual the last to know. I guess I could check with the DER officer in the Brac to see if she has a clue about it and if not why not.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hope the preferential treatment ceases

  9. Anonymous says:


    Is it time for  our young Caymanians to consider joining a branch of Military Service in the UK to learn a trade, earn a paycheck, broaden their horizons?

    Armed Services offer a valid opportunity for many young people who are looking for adventure and a way to differentiate themselves.

    It is impossible for a country to size of Cayman to continue to absorb the number of young high school graduates that we are seeing on an annual basis.

    We have to face facts..they are NOT qualified for anything at that age! They need additional opportunities for growth and development…the Royal Airforce, Royal Navy etc will provide all of the above and more!!

    Food for thought….share yours….


    • sizzlinghot says:

      Hit  the nail right on the head, you did!

      in addition,  a number of questions myself:

      1.  What employable skills do you expect employers will find in 15-19 years old?

      2.  Why is it a big concern if they are unemployed (at 15-19)?  Of course  they are  – as they should still be in school . At this stage they should still be learning what the proper work ethics and attitude they should be exhibiting at their work envoronment, knowing the proper dress code, proper mental attitude and habits, or having training in appropriate technical and vocational skills so that they are ready physically, mentally, emotionally and all the other allies when they are finally released in the employment market.

      3.  How can they be ‘competitively up-skilled’ if they’rereleased in the work force at 15-19?

      4.  What relevant work experience could they have gained when in the last 4-5 years  they are just 10-15  years old?

      5.  What writing and other communication skills could they have learned when a former Education Minister himself proclaimed schools are graduating illiterates?

      Please answer me these?



    • sizzlinghot says:

      Sir/Madam,  hit the nail right on the head, you did!

      I have a number of questions, myself:

      1.  What employable skills do you expect employers will find in 15-19 years old when they themselves are not interested in non-managerial jobs? They are not interested in non-glamorous jobs such as kitchen helpers, dishwashers,  waitressing, bartendering,  food and beverage servers, or beach attendants, (remember 3 visitors only came to the Ritz-Carlton job fair, even with free food offered) yard cleaning, or plumbing or construction, etc. 

      These entry level jobs would have molded their work ethics and attitudes towards team work, punctuality, and industry.  They would have gained experience in customer/client care.

      But no, they want to start sitting on swivel chairs in air-conditioned room,  trying to decipher the difference between debits and credits.  And in a short time, they would be able to apply for loans for a car  which they drive around like the immortals they think they are.

      The ‘entitlement mentality’ does not work for employers and business entities who are in the business for profit and not charity, as every minute counts and equals money. time wasted is money wasted.

      2.  Why is it a big concern if they are unemployed at that age range when of course they are as they should still be in school learning  the educational skills necessary,the proper work ethics and attitudes, proper dress codes,  knowing the appropriate mental attitudes and habits needed in a work environment.

      It should have been a big concern if  that 35% belongs to the 20-25 age group as by then they should have learned as much as possible  the physical, mental, emotional, educational factors necessary to be released in the employment market.

      3. How can they be ‘competitively up-skilled’ at age 15-19  and what relevant work experience could they have gained when 4-5 years past they are just 10-15?

      4.  Most alarming point is that what writing and communication skills have they learned when a former Education Minister himself  proclaimed that schools are graduating illiterates?

      I humbly suggest that there should be funds/facilities/right-minded and responsible people in-charge of these funds/facilities to ensure that young school leavers should or must attend skills/trainings/seminars and after that test what level they are in a national standardized category with certificates indicating they are ready and properly equipped with what’s needed for them to be ‘competitively up-skilled’.



  10. Anonymous says:

     I think that the Minister of Labour  and DER isdoing a good job in tackling youth unemployment. Hope everything falls through. Keep up the good work, our country needed a programe like this for so long as we have a lot of young people graduating each year with no employment to look forward to. 















  11. Consultant says:

    Friday August 7th, Anglin Mulls Infant Class and "believes that getting children into the system early would make a more significant impact than having an additional year at the end."

    Monday August 10th, "With some 35 percent of 15 -19 year olds being unemployed  according to the latest Economics & Statistics Office Labour Force Survey, government has introduced a youth employment strategy designed to make young people more employable."