Archive for May 30th, 2011

Adults face attitude training

| 30/05/2011 | 42 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Masked robber strikes at waterfront bar

| 30/05/2011 | 20 Comments

(CNS): An armed masked man held up an employee of Hammerheads in George Town at gunpoint last night (Sunday, 29 May) at around 11:45pm, police said Monday morning. The robber who was wearing a purple bandanna around his face confronted the bar’s employee brandishing the firearm threatening him before fleeing the scene with cash. No shots were fired and no-one was injured in the incident before the robber reportedly jumped into a dark coloured Honda Civic which drove off towards West Bay. The suspect is described as being around 26 years of age and was wearing a white t-shirt and jeans.

George Town detectives are now appealing for witnesses to the incident at the bar which is located along the George Town Harbour Front and is a popular spot with both residents and tourists. Police did not say if customers were still on the premises when the robbery occurred.

Anyone with any information about the crime should contact George Town CID on 949-4222 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

 

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Government turns to youtube to promote Cayman

| 30/05/2011 | 10 Comments

(CNS): Government will be using Youtube to promote the Cayman Islands with the help of two young Caymanians. Luigi Moxam and Kamala Murugesu have been selected as the hosts for the Department of Tourism's You Tube video series promoting the destination around the world. The project is one element of DoT's drive to enhance awareness of the Cayman Islands through the use of social media and video. Following a nationwide talent search to find young local hosts to be the "Faces of Cayman" the DoT chose Moxam and Murugesu after viewing a number of video auditions over the two-week campaign.

Filming began on 9 May and has included some of the Islands' most iconic locations and attractions, as well as highlighting the people and culture. The video series will be launched in July on the Cayman Islands You Tube Channel.

"I am absolutely ecstatic that I've been chosen as one of the first hosts to represent my country in this video series," exclaimed Murugesu, when she received the news that she had been selected. "I look forward to this opportunity to showcase all the wonderful things that the Cayman Islands have to offer and can only hope that I serve the role as ambassador with true patriotism."

Moxam echoed his co-hosts sentiments and said that the show was a brilliant way to market the Cayman Islands brand globally. “We should all be encouraged to know that they have put together a dedicated team, who are willing to showcase and highlight all that is inspiring about our beloved isles by utilizing the influential means of creative social media. I'm proudly passionate about representing everything Cayman and cannot wait to get started," he added.

Members of the local community can follow the DoT on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook to keep track of new developments with this exciting project.
www.Facebook.com/caymanislands<http://www.Facebook.com/caymanislands> and www.Twitter.com/cayman_islands<http://www.Twitter.com/cayman_islands>

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Lions challenge students to boycott water bottles

| 30/05/2011 | 2 Comments

(CNS): An estimated 20,000 eight ounce plastic water bottles are bought every week on Cayman Brac, high school students were toldin a presentation by the Lions Club of Cayman Brac that highlighted the environmental hazard produced by the use of these single use bottles. The club says it has always emphasized the importance of protecting the environment, undertaking projects geared at educating the community about environmental hazards and encouraging environmentally friendly habits. This year, the club decided to deviate from the usual beach clean-up and instead, made environmental awareness presentations at all of the schools on the island. 

At the infants and primary level the students were shown videos and a PowerPoint presentation which encouraged them to ‘Reduce, Reuse & Recycle’, the club said in a release. The presentation and discussions which followed also emphasized the importance of everyone playing a part in protecting the environment.

The presentation at the Layman E. Scott Senior High school (formerly Cayman Brac High), also emphasized the importance of everyone taking steps to reduce the negative impact of pollution on the environment. However, at the high school level there was a focus on the negative impact of single use water bottles on the environment.

Through the presentations made by the Lions, students and teachers were told that water bottles create a lot of trash. According to a small scale research undertaken by the club, approximately 20,000 eight ounce bottles are bought every week on Cayman Brac. “There are no provisions for recycling these bottles so they just pile up at the dump”, stated environmental chair, Lion Fazileta Yusuf.

Students also heard that the plastic from the bottles do not biodegrade but photo degrade into tiny particles that stays in the environment for thousands of years, seeping into the soil, ponds and the ocean and may be ingested by marine life. They also learned that bottled water is no safer than tap water in most countries. and that plastic bottles pose a health risk. The chemicals from the plastic seep into the water over a period of time and heat speeds up the rate at which these chemicals seep into the water.

The students and staff at the high school were encouraged to reduce or refuse the use of these water bottles and carry reusable water bottles instead.

The presentation was followed up less than a week later with a challenge to the high school population; they were challenged to boycott bottled water for one day, 19 April. On that day the students and staff were asked to bring their reusable water bottles to school and were provided with chilled filtered water. Approximately 50 reusable water bottles were also distributed.

"The challenge was well received and a large percentage of the students and almost all of the staff refrained from buying bottled water during the day and used the water provided," Yusuf said. "This also sparked an interest in many individuals thinking of reducing the use of the single water bottles as a life-style change”.

“The aim of the project was to send the message that we all need to recognize the profound impact that our activities have on the environment,” Ysuf continued. "As citizens of the world, it is our responsibility to protect the environment that we live in and that each of us no matter how small we may think it is, could play an important role in this protection”.   

The club would like to express thanks to the Cayman Islands Diabetes Association-Sister Islands Chapter, Cayman National Bank and the National Trust-Cayman Brac for donating reusable water bottles. They are also grateful to Joe Musuneci for donating 40 gallons of filtered water from Filter Fountain. The Lions Club of Cayman Brac continues to fulfill the mission of Lions International in serving the community of Cayman Brac.  For more information about the club’s service activities, visit their blog at www.braclions.blogspot.com or email them at cblions@candw.ky

See The Story of Bottled Water Video presented at the High school.

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