Kids plagued by entitlement culture, says expert

| 20/09/2011

(CNS): As the fifth session of government’s youth job training programme got underway this week, one of the educators spoke of the problem of an “entitlement” to jobs that is plaguing the country’s young people when it comes to work, an issue that has to change, especially during tough economic times. Passport2Success programme facilitator Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia said this week that the greatest challenge faced on the course was the feelings of entitlement. “We tackle this with every group and I think, as a culture, this must be addressed,” she said as 25 new students began the programme.

She explained that this was a problem with students placed in entry-level positions because they believed they were ‘bigger’ or ‘better’ than certain jobs. Ebanks-Garcia added, however, that young people grew as the programme progressed and that most entering Passport2Success brought with them a desire to change.

“They don’t necessarily know how change will happen or what that process looks like, but they’re ready for it,” she added. “The economic challenge we’re facing and the messages they are receiving from adults around them, who are themselves facing challenges, clearly indicate that things aren’t as easy as they once were in Cayman. They now know that they must take a different approach.”

The problem of unemployment among young people, which is believed to be running at around 35%, was illustrated once again on the programme, which saw almost 50 applicants applying for 25 positions on the course designed for young adults. The latest class was selected for the education ministry’s latest 12-week employment-skills training initiative and the minister explained to them what they could expect at a Q&A session at the opening of the course.

Rolston Anglin said the programme’s goal was to empower participants with skills that will not only get them jobs, but help them build a successful life.  He said the most difficult challenge students would face on the course was change.

“It’s very difficult when that change is personal. You see, the only variable you can change in the grand scheme of things is yourself. It’s the only thing you can guarantee and the only thing over which you have 100 percent control,” Anglin added. He also told participants that the programme has not had a 100 percent completion rate since its inception in April 2010, indicating that students who can’t manage that change drop out.

“To make a real difference you need the right attitude and you need to work harder than everyone else,” he said. “Every one of you can be successful. So put in the effort, be willing to change and complete the programme.”

Passport2Success is a free public-private funded initiative targeting Caymanians aged 17 – 20 years who have not yet found suitable employment. It emphasises adult literacy, adopts a practical hands-on approach and uses adult-based group learning instruction methods. During the 12-week programme participants will be introduced to the Labour Law, employment contracts and acceptable business practices. They’ll practise grammatical skills, learn about communication styles, body language, and barriers to communication.

Community service, protocol, basic business etiquette, time management, conflict avoidance skills and motivational talks from leading business figures will also fill the agenda. Halfway through, participants will complete résumés in preparation for work placement, which takes on a new structure going forward. During the programme’s final six weeks participants will spend two days of each week working. 

Facilitators hope that while this new approach allows participants to start their work placement earlier, it will also provide opportunities for in-class discussions on actual challenges and successes experienced.

Visit for more information. Alternatively, email The Wellness Centre on or call Shannon Seymour on 949-9355.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As an employer, I feel that I must comment on this. Have no misconceptions; trying to hire young Caymanians is a frustrating challenge even under the best circumstances. After posting a sincere job description according to Labour Law, we will receive anywhere from 15 to 30 applications from Caymanians, many of them poorly done, lacking any relevant experience whatsoever and most having absolutely nothing to do with the requirements we've listed.  Among other things, our ads state: looking for employees with 'A happy attitude, bright personality with the public, using initiative, flair for getting along well with others, all in a fun vibrant work atmosphere. Willing to train in areas of need. Flexible hours and benefits.' Sounds pretty good, right? Many hours are spent with the applications, trying to contact the applicants. Some never return calls. Some have no idea what our business is at all. A few didn't even recall what they'd responded to, I had a few mothers admit to sending in the resumes (their children didn't care enough to call back) and some that must have been speaking a totally different language as I couldn't understand one word. One told me she would have to set her own hours and when I told her that she would start at a certain level and be in a preliminary period for 3 months, she got downright rude and basically hung up on me. I did manage to set up some interviews. Two were no shows and left me sitting at a coffee shop for hours. Another did show up, covered head to toe with tattoos. Not appropriate for this line of work (and she was late). I did finally hire one girl, and she didn't show up the first day, citing a doctor's visit. Second day was almost two hours late. Third day she showed up, worked about 5 hours and left early. By this time my other employees were ready to stage a revolt, so with a sigh, that was that.

    We have always endeavoured to hire Caymanians. But how can a business operate this way? So much time and effort is wasted on attempting to hire people who do not even seem to be remotely interested in what is a good, fun job in a relaxed workplace. So thankful for the wonderful Caymanians we have. They are true gems who have very supportive families. 

    • Anonymous says:

      That in a nutshell explains most of Grand Caymans problems.  Its no secret that Caymanians make poor performing workers (with many exceptions yes)  but its supposed to be.  Its Cultural.  Education would help but not solve it. Cultural issues can be helped by good leadership but leadership in Cayman is not going to help at all in that respect so what have you got left.  A bunch of lazy incompetent people who demand that they are not seen in that light because its their island.  Anyone who has any dealings with immigration will see that first hand.  Want to work and live here?  Pretent the indiginous (and that is being generous) are capable, kind, and freindly….or get out.  If you can get over that hump then welcome to Cayman.  But watch what you say.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do they have Burger King courses at high school now? Yeah… i know there was a reason for me getting 18 years of education as a Caymanian. What a goal to look forward too. Nothing wrong with working there or the product but some comments here are very biased. I really wonder sometimes how many employers really do back ground and reference checks with resumes with foreign workers. My references are good pretty good i guess cause i always get a response of over qualified. So I took a few things off and also changed from being a Caymanian to a different country. hey…at least i am getting replies now,thats a start. I show up to interviews with different dialects, but that Caymanian always comes out boy…damn!!  

  3. Anonymous says:

    wow..what a nice politically correct post……..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    try honesty for change!

  4. Anonymous says:

    nice way of avoiding the issue at hand…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am Caymanian but lived abroad the first few years of my life.  My family moved to Cayman and I subsequently joined the fourth grade here (I was about nine years of age at the time).  In my class, there was a certain little boy who repeatedly did not pay attention, didn't care and played around in class.


    When the little boy failed a particular spelling test, the teacher, exasperated, asked the little boy, "Johnny [for want of a better name to call him], you have failed your spelling test again.  How do you expect to graduate and get a job if you do not study?"


    Johnny, replying without hesitation and with a shrug of his shoulders, "I'm Caymanian, I'll get a job," and turned to laugh with his friends.


    This is a true story and has stuck with me 15 years on.  As a nine year old it absolutely stunned me, and even to this day I look back and shake my head.  If a nine year old boy knew exactly where his bread was buttered, we CERTAINLY need to start at a younger age addressing and aggressively attacking this poor work ethic attitude that plagues many (not all) young Caymanians.


    If we start young and aggressive, hopefully that abysmal attitude can be weeded out by the next generation.  Although unfortunately, it may already be slowly making its exit with the economic tide.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In Cayman, people have entitlement issues in regards to jobs.

    In the USA people feel entitled to own something they can't afford (hence the market collaps and the rest of the world suffers)

    In Europe, people feel entitled to all kind of government benefits and support (welfare, unemployment, assisted housing etc etc) if they don't feel like working and the people who hold jobs and pay the taxes are the ones funding all this government sponsored support.

    Entitlement issues are all over, they just come in different packages and colors – let's be fair and realistic.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right the world over people all have entitlement issues, even on the moon the Martians were entitled to green cheese.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I would suggest that before our educators, politician and those Caymanians in authority continue to parrot the phrase "our people i.e. Caymanians (young/old) are plagued by an entitlement culture"  they really should take a look at the problems understand them and address it.  For one there is surely an entitlement culture everywhere on this planet.  Since most of us are familiar with the USA, Europe and Jamaica let me give you some examples.  In the USA there are certain jobs that many American Citizens feel that they are entitled to if they are qualified to do and they will boycott business to get the point across.  As for Europe, the entire continent is fuel by the so called entitlement attitude just do a search on  the internet.  Well as for Jamaica, I would suggest to any Native Caymanian trying going to Jamaica with equal qualifictions and more experience and try getting a job there over a Jamaican applicant, first of all let me tell you it will not happen and should it happen tell us in Cayman how long you would be able to keep that job, it could not happen in the late 50's & early 60's when a few of our men went there seeking short term jobs, there are still some men around who will tell you the stories of how they were pelted at the harbour in Kingston and told that Caymanians were coming to take away their jobs.  People speak to your elders before you go opening your mouths and talking about things you know nothing of.

    Back to this entitlement culture, Caymanians should not be ashamed of this because used in the right context it is a good thing, just look at Bermuda, Barbados and Monaco there are very few places in the world where their native are more entitled that those three and their people wear it with a sense of pride and purpose.  There is also a big difference between their entitlement and that of the Cayman Islands the leaders of Bermuda, Barbados and Monaco ensure that  ALL their people not only the priviledged few are given SUPERIOR EDUCATION  to the best of their respective abilities. These countries provide education  which is FREE and begins from the cradle to the grave a big difference in Cayman. 

    Dare I remind all those people who knew nothing about Cayman prior to 30 -15 years ago let me tell you.  Back in the 50s to 90s majority of Caymanians worked in the tourism industry and were best in the business the world over as a result they enjoyed their jobs. This entitlement attitude came about in the mid to late 70's when the financial industry began to offer incentive to our young people well beyond what the tourism industry would and could offer and they left in droves, then parents started to encourage their children to go work in an office and bank and so the cycle began and our young people were raised to believe that it would continue through the ages just like the parents who take the children year in and year out to Disney World and the many theme parks in the USA until they become adults, instead of taking a vacation to historic places where they would learn that there is a real world outside of the fairy tales.  Our young people are not adequately educated to face the challenges of Cayman not to mention the wider world.  Parents and primarily the Government need to step in change the culture and make education, discipline law and order a priority.  All the investments and jobs will not make a difference untill our young people have a sense of purpose and it will never happen without the proper education, training and self worth.  


  8. Anonymous says:

    Children shouldn't graduate that can't pass tests period.  Just give them a good attendance award since that is all it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or they can stand in line to be premeir.  They are still intitled to this.  And a job in CS.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I'm closely connected to two sets of parents that teach entitlement. Admittedly none of the parents are educated. However, they are certainly not underprivileged. Indeed, they were in the right place, at the right time, to take advantage of Cayman's success.  Nice homes and new cars are the norm.

    However, none of their kids have opted to university because they are taught they are entitled to jobs. This is the best I can say. Some of the children are wanted for serious criminal activities but are not in jail due to protection from family connections. These same families readily report to Immigration for personal gain / entertainment and make the lives of decent people a living hell. 

    I write this to show that Cayman's problems are all inter-related, lack of education / xenophobia / corruption / crime. These all co-exist. The fact that we have gangshas everything to do with the entitlement attitude. 

    • Anonymous says:

      "Some of the children are wanted for serious criminal activities"…. Turn them in!  Given the present climate, family connections won't be considered anymore. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The police know who they are. That's who told me. More accurately, they were one of the parties, other's included family, friends, and work colleagues. This is why I unwillingly sympathize with people who say they can't trust the police. I hate to say it, but we do have real issues with the police force. They simply aren't allowed to do things and / or certain people receive protection. 

        Its like the article today's Compass about the widespread abuse of confidential data. They have concerns? Concerns? This is a national pastime. So many have been doing it for so long, they don't even know its unethical and/or illegal. Again, entitlement plays a role in these happenings.

        • Anonymous one says:

          Third world people, with third world leadership and third world police.  Its life in a third world country just with a lot of "others"  working and living amongst them.  Can't stop it but you can watch out and stay away from it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please note that this notion of S.E. is not only a problem in the Cayman Islands. But I'm sure you all already know that, right?

    • Anonymous says:

      If Caymanians are in their own country (DNA to Terra Firma )and have an entitlement attitude why is this a problem to expats when they want entitlement to Cayman after being here for 7 or more years it's called PR or Status!   Why should expats be entitled to PR and Status if Caymanians are not entitled to jobs in the country of their birth and lands of their fathers, mothers and grandparents?

  10. Anonymous says:

    this will always be the case when you hire somebody because of their nationality as opposed to their ability……

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, Cayman seems to be the only country on earth where it’s qualified citizens have to forgo positions in favor of foreign nationals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Qualified means intitled in Cayman.  In the other countries of earth Qualified means skilled, experianced, and ethical.

        • Anon says:

          Well, if you are so qualified why can't you spell "entitled" and "experienced"? Actually according to the Oxford English Dictionary "qualified" means "entitled to a benefit or privilege by fulfilling a necessary condition", or "fully recognised as a practitioner of a profession or activity, typically by undertaking a course and passing examinations".    

          • Anonymous one says:

            Because I am a Carpenter and not a secretary.  I know what Qualified means to most non Caymanians but don't worry if you didn't get my point.

      • Anonymous says:

        Having a 'qualification' doesn't necessarily mean you can do the job.  Most of the expats brought in for the professional services industry not only have the 'qualification' but also a demonstrable track record of being able to perform the job – to an exceptional standard.  Some of these expats don't ony bring in their qualifications and skills, but also clients, as some clients prefer to have certain people doing their work and as those people move from one firm to another, their clients follows them, in this case, bringing more business to Cayman.  

        Having a qualification and being able to demonstrate at an interview you can do the job makes all the difference to getting in.  And if you get the job, working hard and proving you can do the job to an excellent standard secures you permanent employment.  Sometimes you may have legal or accountancy qualifications and be seeking a career in a law or accountancy firm, but have to start in the post room just to get a foot on the ladder, and then work your way up through sheer hard work and recognition (that's what many of your expat competitors did).

        Many 'qualified' Caymanians apply for jobs but many put forward letters and CV's loosely thrown together and full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.  Not good,  Worse still are those who turn up at interviews unsuitably attired and/or late.  Some jobs require tests to be taken to show whether the applicant, say a secretary, has the necessary skills – accuracy, speed, presentation, formatting, and the like.  If all the Caymanians have less than 50% accuracy, les than 50 words per minute, poor presentation of their work and bad formatting, and their foreign counterparts have 90%+ accuracy; 60-80 words per minute, professionally presented and well formatted work, the foreigner will likely get the job.  If a Caymanian applicant obtained the same results as the foreigner, the Caymanian applicant would automatically get the job, because the employer sure doesn't want to ship in an employee froma foreign country if they can find someone good enough right here in Cayman.

        Who the cap fits…

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen! and you should have clarified those nationals are not native Caymanian. Take a look at most HR Managers, teams, departments hotels…………most work permit holders, now PR or status holders keep 'recruiting their friends and family'.

      I hope the fact that most young people now have one or two parents who have recently come to the Cayman Islands and after securing their 'working status' demonstrate to their kids a sense of entitlement worse than any Caymanian.

      If the new Caymanians dont feel 'entitled' apply for a job without stating your residence status/position. Then again, it's relatively easier to be hired if a foreign nationality is stated on an application form anyway.

      There are more examples of foreigners with entitlement than locals who do see the value of an education, hard work and just want to be treated favourably, because yes they are Caymanian.

      Do you think civil servants from top positions to the most unskilled, with Caymanian status even think for one second they can have their jobs replaced? No way! Same in private sector….If Caymanians ever show sense of entitlement, their foreign-more-entitled co-workers will get rid if them in a second.

      I have personally had status holders say that since the government assisted other Caymanians in his department, he now feels that since he is "Caymanian', they should reimburse him all his school fees!!!!!!!!! trust me some gullible person / nationals from his country of orgin will agree and WE WOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR HIS ABSURD, GREEDY SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT.

      Guess what his kids will feel? Oh, we have this piece of paperand all it means is a right to make money, no sense of pride, appreciation or patriotism but certainly a sense of entitlement.

      Bottom line………..when addressing entitlement, check the NEW VS NATIVE CAYMANIANS FOR ABUSE OF OPPORTUNITIES BECAUSE OF NATIONALITY.




  11. Anonymous says:

    I really think that this programme will do more than any other I have seen to prepare Caymanian kids for the job market.  If they are identifying the "entitlement" attitude as a recurring and repeated obstacle to their employability, and manage through the course to adjust that approach then that means 25 kids have a much brighter future in the workplace then they did before entering the course.

    No matter what position we are in now – we all started at the bottom, listened and learned from those with more experience so that we could progress in our careers….there is no stage skipping – whether you are rich/poor, black/white, Caymanian/expat.  That is just how it is.

    I find this programme a breath of fresh air – and wonder whether some of the lessons can be replicated and included in the school curriculum so that more kids can be exposed to these important concepts.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If there are 50 applicants and only 25 places why why why is the programme not being extended?  Its the same with everything around here.  Not enough of anything. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Weh or Whe has me baby fadda gone

    Oh weh or weh can he Beeeez



  14. Anonymous says:

    Not just the kids but the parents too

  15. Dirty V says:

    The youth SHOULD feel entitled. If they are Caymanian, they ARE entitled to jobs before anyone else coming from overseas, assuming that they are qualified.

    Too many sharks invading our waters.


    • Anonymous says:

      Based on the kids we graduate from the schools I would agree they are entitled to certain jobs……working at Burger King, cleaning hotel rooms, gardening etc. Will they take those jobs? Heck no!

      • Anonymous says:

        Ha ha ha. You know we have all taken a shot at the Government school system and the level education on the island. In truth there has been positive steps taken in recent years. And in truth that same all bogus school we are all taking shots have graduated students that have gone on to do well and some of the large school in Europe and the US.

        The problem is that the system does not reach a large enough portion of the students.

        The attitidue of the students does not help and it goes beyond the high schools. UCCI students I have found also do not have the right attitude towards learning properly. In fact it is not about truely knowing the material but more about knowing enough to pass. Also the schools need to change there exams on a regular basis. Former students tell younger kids what is coming on the exams and thats all they have to study.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is just plain ridiculous. There are many well qualilfied Caymanians who have graduated from prestigious overseas Universities.  Yes, there are uneducated Caymanians – who leave school uneducated – that is due to a # of issues – parenting, not enough help for those who don't learn as fast as their peers, being allowed to go on to the next grade even though they are not keeping up, etc. etc.  And no, I'm not a Caymanian but I have been here a long time and work with many hardworking Caymanians as well as some lazy ones.  But I've also worked with lazy people from other countries here who are put above Caymanians simply because they are friendly with the powers that be – who are not Caymanian.   Your comment shows your ignorance and prejudice. 

    • Anonymous says:

      What a silly comment,

      And we wonder why we have the problems we have currently

    • Tiger Shark says:

      I think you mean too many honestly qualified sharks.  And by honestly qualified I mean they actually want to and expect to "work".  And by too many I think you mean more than 10.

    • Anonymous says:

      72 great whites so far!

  16. Anonymous says:

    With all due respest, the greatest challenge is our pathetic school system.

    I went through private primary school, government high school and have gone on to higher education. While the government school system is OK for high achievers – for everyone else, it is a crying shame.

    We do need to fix the entitlement culture but please lets not forget to improve the quality of education in the government schools in this country!

  17. Anonymous says:

    This lady will not make herself popular saying the things many of us in Education have been saying for "donkey years" now. I am not a UDP supporter but I give the Minister credit for attempting to address an issue which replaces (in some Caymanians NOT all) the "drive" to work hard and earn promotion through the ranks normal in other cultures with a terrible "I'm here and Caymanian so give it to me now" attitude.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Please Minister Anglin take a closer look at this program before investing further large amounts of the public purse to pay for it.

    Yes, this course is needed, however it could be taught in the high schools or at UCCI by persons who are already employed as civil servants and that would not only save thousands of dollars being spent it would also allow our educators a chance to work in conjunction with students & future employers.

    Don't keep falling for the private sector's selling of servcies that can be done by our own civil servants, and if the reasoning behind it is needing counselors to facilitate this training ask the government & school counselors to get involved.

    I"m speaking as someone who knows of an individual that went on this course while it proved to be beneficial and resourceful it only provided the young lady with a "summer job" placement and she has not been able to secure any further employment. If you really look at the stats that are being presented to the public, they are simply not adding up. Once again, government is not getting value for money.

    Tell us

    1. How much is this private sector organisation getting paid to facilitate this course versus the cost to have our own educators facilitate it. 

    2. How many students have completed the course and are STILL employed. (not summer placement)

    I think we could be spending our money a little wiser.

    • Shock and Awe says:

      Excuse me you're going to use civil servants to teach kids how not to feel entitled? 

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for implementing this program. I wish it the best of luck. What I would like to know is why this was not done while children were still in high school? The schools continue to provide graduate certificates to children when they know they cannot read and write properly. Who wants to hire someone like this? What about the other children who are not a part of this program? This program needs to commence in the schools so that when/if they require additional training programs they would be ready to take on these challenges and have a better mind set.