Tourism school planned for local and foreign students

| 16/09/2011

(CNS): The country’s premier has announced his intention to establish a local hospitality and tourism school early next year that will encourage more Caymanians into the sector and eventually be open to international students. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday McKeeva Bush said the country needed to take a long-term view of tourism and train more local people for jobs in the industry at all levels. He said feedback suggests visitors are searching for authentic, local experiences for which they are willing to pay if Cayman can deliver.

“More Caymanians can and should partake of the benefits of tourism, as the sector grows,” he told his legislative colleagues as he announced the plan. “We must not sit back and fatalistically accept the outdated notion that Caymanians do not wish to participate in tourism. In fact, the level of participation and the enthusiasm we get from young people for the Ministry of Tourism’s Scholarship Programme and the Tourism Apprenticeship Training Programme suggests otherwise.”

Bush said his tourism ministry would be joining forces with the University College of the Cayman Islands, (UCCI) to provide training at an international certification level for employees in the tourism sector and for persons interested in new careers in the industry.

The school, he added would provide a well trained local labour force, with an internationally recognized hospitality certification, offer a range of opportunities and careers for young Caymanians, enable local people to directly participate in the economic benefits from tourism, and enhance the distinctly local cultural flavor of the sector.

“The mission is to develop a hospitality institution to facilitate the certification, career guidance and employment opportunities for a world-class Caymanian workforce,” the premier stated, adding it would be a two-phased project. 

In the first phase the school will offer City and Guilds Certification and Associate degree programmes. “We intend to establish relationships with institutions such as Cornell University, Johnson and Wales, and affiliated universities,” Bush explained.  The core areas of study will be Food & Beverage; Food Preparation; Spa Services; Front Office Operations; Rooms (House-keeping) and Maintenance.

In the second phase further certification, and degree programmes will be established which will  include City and Guilds for Skills Certification; and the Bachelor’s degree programmes of institutions such as Cornell University, Johnson and Wales-affiliated universities, and the Culinary Institute of America. He said additional core areas of study in this phase will include Spa Director, House-keeping Supervisor, Rooms Division Manager and Watersports/Dive Instructor.

“In this second phase, we will also seek to develop the school to accept international students,” Bush added. “This is a bold and ambitious project and it requires input and support from several different quarters. We need the private sector on board as full partners and it is our intention that they will be involved from the outset in areas such as curriculum development and provision of work-study opportunities.”

He said that a number of stake holders already support the Tourism Apprenticeship Training programme and government would be counting on them for even greater involvement and support, including job placement and career paths for participants.

“We will ensure the highest standards of accreditation, including international recognition, so that our students not only receive the best training, but can compete at the highest levels with persons trained anywhere else in the world,” he promised employers.

UCCI will be the academic institution that the tourism and education ministries would be partnering with for the use of campus facilities and lecturers to get the school off the ground.He said government would also be partnering with hotels willing and able to offer appropriate learning environments.

An advisory council of 10-12 members drawn from relevant areas will be appointed to assist with strategic development and fulfillment of the mission of the school which he said would also require support from the immigration department.

“The School will work with the department to develop and offer incentives to private sector entities that become key partners in this programme, particularly with regard to a successful record of employment of High School graduates,” Bush stated. “We must ensure that graduates are provided with the employment opportunities befitting their training and certification, and the support of Immigration is essential in this regard. The TATP programme has demonstrated that this support is needed, as often apprentices face challenges finding work experience, and employment after graduation. We will be counting on Immigration to help address this issue.”

Bush said that such a school was long overdue and had come to get it done so that young Caymanians will have further opportunities to become qualified professionals within the sector.

“In the long run, our tourism product will benefit as the School will ensure that more of our young people are deployed to become the faces and the local, culturally rooted voices that our visitors want. It will be in their hands to plan for provision of the “authentic” experience visitor’s desire,” the premier said, as he asked for the support of the parliament.

See the premier’s full statement below

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You got my vote! when can i sign up…hurry.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good OLD IDEA, but still a good one.

    Let's not build a new building as there are already many existing spaces which can be converted to purpose. I like the Brac Idea Carol but afraid the cost of the property and housing for students and relocating staff expenses would be a financial burden.

    Make it available to Caymanians only, many specialist schools in the USA operate this way, i know from personal experience that only US citizens were eligible.. It will start small, but grow as the facility and intake matures.

    Why not use the facilities at the new schools, their new kitchens and catering facilities are already there, so are the customers. It could even be a course offered to final year students as a means of kick starting a career, with on the job experience with restaurants and hotels being a requirement….their chefs and managers could even be invited as lecturers to minimise staff importation and increase in Civil service costs. Get the local businesses involved so the future employers can identify likely candidates as future employees.

    Hope it happens.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How about for every 3 expats hired in the hospitality industry you need to hire a Caymanian. and do not count the Cuban -Caymanian dishwashers as we want to see Caymanians on the front line. Please do not now say that they need to work there way up or there is none that want to go into this field – there are many that apply and not even interviewed.

    The only better chance is when the actual business holds a job fair. I have worked in this industry for over 15 years and worked my way up from dishwasher-busboy-server to assistant manager. I have also owned and operated my own retail stores on the island for over 10 years and it amazed me when tourist would ask "are you from Cayman" yes i am – Wow we have been here 2 0r 3 days and you are the first we have met with excitement.

    I hopethis comes together and if we see candidates that the hospitality business"s itself does not ignore us or put us in lower positions than we deserve.


  4. Anonymous says:

    wont this new school be in direct competition with the original one at the old long john silvers?

  5. Anonymous says:

    So he criticizes the schools being built already….and then wants to put in place his own? I mean, I'm all for all of the above but what are we to believe is the real motive? No doubt his name will be on the building somewhere.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can't Er get something positive about our own selves.  This is Good News – and its long over due.  I was shocked to hear that Jamaica offer certificate for tilers. Where are we headed?

    Years ago we have wood-work shops in school –  In encourage the Premier to do what it takes to help the youth.

  7. Anonymouse says:


    Pity the Community College couldn't have kept its hospitality course going when it got all hifalutin and decided to call itself a University. (Cayman badly needs Community College vocational courses and the obvious place to put them is (back) in the University. its not just about trainign school leavers btu also retraining or upgrading older workers, hence a Community College.) Or that the 'Silvers' establishment that was bought for this purpose didn't start work either. But hopefully this time they'll learn from their mistakes and do it right and stick with it. (And combine it with some realistic expectations by both the employees and employers of what working in the hospitality industry should entail and pay. Again, Community.)

  8. Carol Busby says:

    The old Divia on Cayman Brac would be and ideal place for a school. the building is already there, We could bring in Star Chefs from around the world for a season and  teach our local kids how to cook. A tourist Hotel can teach every aspect of  the touist business from booking resevervations, cooking cleaning rooms cleaning grounds, bookkeeping, bartenderings. hostess. Dive operations, Tour guides.. Goverment should seize this property and make it a  teaching school.

    And this is something the Brac could really use, but because it is something the Brac really really needs, I feel it will not happen.. to sad to bad..

    AgainI am sure this is just more idle talk by goverment

    But first we must stop the killings before we put a lot of money into tourisim,


    • B.B.L. Brown says:

      I think that's a great idea, Carol.  The Divi is a place where the trainees could get on-the-job training with tourists willing to stay at "Divi Training Center".  This is a win win situation.  But please….. let's hope the government can aquire Divi without "seizing" it.  A purchase would be more civilized.

    • Jumbles says:

      I doubt star chefs want to spend their time teaching in a cultural waste ground without access to decent ingredients.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ame 8.05 finally someone who sees what the problem is. The System!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Didn't Sam Basdeo have one of these at Community College as it then was? He even had a bar there to teach them bartending. But only foreigners trained there (Jamaicans mostly) and they stayed after they qualified and got jobs then Status in the Gold Rush of 2003. Caymanians didn't make use of the facility and it eventually closed.

  11. Cat says:

    McKeeva, its nice that you are finally deciding to do something that doesn't include selling us out, but you're still not getting my vote,come election time.

    You're gonna have to do more than that 🙂

  12. Anonymous says:

    Put it in West Bay. We can teach them the finer arts criminality. Crime does pay in Cayman at all levels.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The problem is with the caymanian hospitality industry who prefers to work with expats instead of locals.

    They preferd having a cook on a work permit and then have him do management work, so they save on work permit fees.

    Foreign owned businesses bring in friends and family members to do the work.

    So the school won't help.

    What WILL help is a new government that CARES for the caymanians and consists of members who  NOT involved in local  business.

    BTW with the increasing crime and corruption there soon will be no more tourisme product to sell on this island. It has become a place for foreign criminals to hide, money laundry, drug transport etc etc.



    • Anonymous says:

      Strange.  What a misled and misconceived comment.  All I hear from HR in the hospitality industry (and I know many) is how they wish they could employ reliable locals, but how few Caymanians apply; and how once hired, few turn up for work on time or at all thereafter, leaving them to start the recruitment process all over again.  You can't force people to apply for work, same as you can't automatically go into management at most places without the appropriate univerisity qualifications, ability and willingness to do the job.  So if only foreigners apply, resulting in the employer having to go to the extra expense of a work permit, how can someone reasonably point the finger at the employer or employee and say they're favoring foreigners/taking Caymanians jobs?  Damned if you do; damned if you don't!

      I do agree with one thing you say – that your current government does not CARE for Caymanians, that much is clear.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is good news!! We have needed this for a long time!


    Of course it's why it never made to the top of the news section!

  15. Bodden McEbanks the third says:

    Another poor idea put forth by a poor government.

    What about us older folk who can't just pick up and go back to school?

    They leave us to rot!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Can we show up in Cut off shorts and a t-shirt and pass? scruffy hair and straight off the beach?

  17. B.B.L. Brown says:

    Mr. Premier, You have a great idea here that I'm sure will get the support of most Caymanians.  This is something that will be a great stepping stone for our youth.

  18. Anonymous says:

    LMAO McKeeva is trying to rebrand and reannounce all of the programmes and initiatives that The Chuckster put in place.

    He's trying to do it with the Tourism Apprenticeship Training Programme now. He did something similar with CAL's NYC; Chicago and DC service, with the Investment Bureau programmes and others.

    How about coming up with something of your own Mac ???

    Asking too mach nah ????

  19. Anonymous says:

    There's the bone to keep the locals happy about roll over being rolled back.  Just ignore the elephant in the room over there.