Unemployed youngsters check out construction

| 26/06/2010

(CNS): A Cayman construction company is urging other local businesses to get on board with the government’s employment programme and help get young people in work. The Phoenix Group has joined in with the National Employment Passport Program, called Passport2Success as one of the employers offering work experience to the students on the course. Barbara Anley, General Manager for Phoenix, said she believed a great deal of effort was put into the planning and organizing of this initiative, an excellent way to prepare young people to join the workforce. A group of fifteen students shown around the firm recently were surprised to learn the variety of careers available with the group.

As a local recruiter Anley said the two week job placements will help give entry-level applicants a better understanding of the day to day responsibilities associated with their industry of choice. As this programme is open to all industries, she encouraged more local business owners and managers to get on board. The firm believes the business community needs to throw its full weight behind these types of programmes at such a critical time for Cayman’s youth.

The National Employment Passport Program, called Passport2Success, is a new initiative funded by the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment. It is a full time, 11 week programme that teaches participants essential personal and career skills, gives them valuable work experience and better prepares them for the working world.
The programme is open to school leavers and young Caymanians who are struggling to find employment because they lack basic skills. Local research has shown that too many high school graduates in the Cayman Islands do not meet expectations in regards to literacy, effective communication, problem solving and working in teams.
 Increasingly, entry level positions in the workforce require higher levels of education. Passport2Success helps young Caymanians improve their skills and increase the likelihood of succeeding in the work place.
Lynne Banker, a key collaborator on the programme led the two hour expedition and was pleased with the reaction of the young people. “They were surprised by the variety of positions and departments that comprise Phoenix Construction. The visit to an active construction site was a first for all of us” she said. “There certainly has been more interest now for work placement with the Phoenix Group.”
 “We had no idea that Phoenix was so many different companies doing so many interesting things” said student Amadello Mena-Hebbert, who was attending from Cayman Brac. “We had all just thought they were just a construction company.” Interested in design he said it was great to see how designers and builders work together, as he and the group also had a chance to spend some quality time with the Group’s Chief Architect, Tami Scott, of Icon Architecture.
Amadello said the work place visits which have included tours of the Ritz Carlton, Red Sail Sports and Butterfield Bank, are critical for young people like him recently out of school and spinning their wheels. “A lot of these people are confused and uninformed about what their options are in life” he said. “The high school experience does not give you a good look at the working world out there as programmes like this do. I wish we had this sort of exposure earlier, when we could have used it to make some decisions about the future”
The Passport2Success programme is full time, 5 days a week, from 8:30am to 4pm, and is based at the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI), Savannah Newlands. The programme is 11 weeks long, 2 weeks of which will be work placement. There are 4 programmes a year. The programme launched on 19th April, 2010. There are 25 available spaces for the next programme.
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