Employment Ministry to track job seekers’ progress

| 11/04/2014

(CNS): The Employment Ministry is developing an assessment process for job seekers who want help from an employment services officer in their search for work that will include psycho-social assessment, mental health screening, career assessment and an assessment of employability skills, Minister Tara Rivers said in a statement to the Legislative Assembly Thursday. She said that this process, which should be in place by the end of April, was in response to feedback from employers and job seekers about the discrepancy between the skills an employer wants and the level of skills present within a segment of Cayman's unemployed population.

She said the process would help to identify the level and type of support and services required to move job seekers closer to the job market. To support the intake and assessment process, the minister said, the Computer Services Department is building a professional development interface, which will record the activities that the job seeker has committed to engage in.

“This interface will track the progress of job seekers and hold them accountable to engaging in the work necessary to address their respective barriers to employment. This interface will also facilitate the opportunity for online case management of individuals who are seeking support and services from multiple government agencies,” Rivers said.

Rivers said that a review of the work of the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) Employment Services Unit found that a strong collaborative relationship with the Immigration Department and its boards was crucial to ensuring that Caymanians have a fair and equal opportunity in the recruitment process, and that the immigration department and its boards rely heavily upon the ESU to provide the necessary information to make informed decisions regarding the granting of work permits.

“In response, my Ministry with the support of the Computer Services Department set out to expand the NWDA database to include an Immigration Interface which will ensure that that immigration department and its boards have the information required in a timely manner to make informed decisions,” she said. “The delivery of such a system was a major campaign promise and is absolutely essential to enhance the collaboration, the efficiency and the effectiveness in the way these two agencies – the NWDA and the immigration department – interact with one another.”

On 25 February the ministry launched the NWDA-immigration database interface, which, the minister said, “is designed to facilitate significant positive change in the way Immigration and NWDA work with each other”.

She said the database is facilitating transparency in the work permit process; providing an efficient and effective way for employers to communicate efforts to hire a suitably qualified Caymanians; and providing an effective and efficient way for the NWDA to provide information to the immigration department and its boards that will allow for informed decisions to be made by them when processing work permit applications.

Under the new process, after an employer registers a job with the NWDA, the agency system runs a query to identify job seeking clients who broadly meet the requirements of the post. Then an NWDA employment services officer reviews the matches for appropriateness and with authorization from job seekers, refer candidates that are a reasonable fit for the post.

NWDA job seeking clients are able to view job posts and have the option to self-refer and the employer clients receive notification of matches for those who have self-referred or who have been referred by the NWDA. The employer, who is responsible for reviewing all candidates and determining their suitability, is provided with a section on the database where they can record the outcome of each referral.

If the employer does not select a Caymanian and chooses to apply for a work permit, the immigration department and its boards will be able to pull up the referral record and view the list of people who were referred or self-referred, the rationale for the referral and the reasons the company gave to explain why no suitable applicant was found.

This process will ensure that immigration is aware of every person that was referred or self-referred and the outcome of the recruitment process, the minister explained.

“It is important to note that there is no legislation that mandates employers to register their companies with the NWDA or post available jobs with the NWDA. While this interface facilitates transparency in the work permit process, it only accomplishes this for jobs that are posted with the NWDA where persons have applied for the post through the NWDA,” Rivers said.

“What my Ministry has done is to create a valuable and critically important service and we are encouraging employers and job seekers to utilize it in the process of recruitment and job seeking. The approach right now is to create something that is useful to job seekers and employers, and we are inviting feedback as we further develop the system to ensure that it is fit for purpose.”

A district outreach programme is also underway, in which the Training and Development Unit of the NWDA has partnered with Library Services to deliver NWDA employment services at the District public library branches on a monthly basis. “Through this opportunity Caymanians can meet with a representative of the NWDA at their district library for assistance with any activity related to job seeking including registering with the NWDA, searching for jobs on the online portal, self-referring for jobs, resume writing, and interview preparation,” Rivers said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Even if Caymanians do take service jobs, there is still the danger of losing them to foreign labour.  Look what's happening in MacDonalds in Canada:   http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mcdonald-s-foreign-worker-practices-face-growing-investigation-1.2607365

    Canadian Tire, A&W and other fast-food places are also replacing Canadians with foreign labour.

    • Anonymous says:

      It happens all over the world, if you are uneducated you don't get decent employment, or if you're unwilling to accept work relative to your ability, you will be replaced by cheap foreign labour who will work hard for less. Cayman is no different to any other westernised country, what you need to concentrate on is upping your education standards and encouraging more top level businesses to relocate to Cayman.  

      Isolationist business policies, poor education and an appallingwork ethic are your worst enemies, not people who will work in jobs that you won't do.

      • Anonymous says:

        The turth is that dinosaur policies fettering the inflow of capital, the promotion of domestic competition and restricting the labor market have done great harm to the economy and the availability of jobs.  But in the fear driven world of Cayman caveman politics, doing the right thing economically is never going to happen.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have employed over 300 locals over the last 6 years

    Only 1 has stayed the whole 6 years  and he makes over $1000 per week

    He is for the most part useless but i dont catch him stealing

    I have only fired one

    the rest leave after the first pay check  only to return a few weeks later for another check

    Almost all of them smoke gunja all day

    Most text all day

    most steal

    most drink on the job



  3. Civil Serpent says:

    The following are a short list of qualifications for a job in government:

    “Calling in sick when you are NOT sick – Employers do not want to have sick people in their organization.
    Cell phones on the job- Employers do not want employees using their cell phones on the job
    Tardiness- Employers do not want any employees arriving after the boss in their company.
    Dress code- Employers do not want any employees who do not attire themselves properly (clothing and hairdos).
    Inattentive- Employers do not want employees sleeping on the job, being careless, negligent, daydreaming, lacking concentration. Employers need performers.”

  4. Anonymous says:

    So, government are now telling us that they haven't actually been keeping track of the couple of thousand unemployed after all. In reality, no one, (including the mouthpiece of the bigoted, disaffected and envious, Ezzard Miller)  has any clue how many truly unemployed are available or capable of full time employment. The suspiciously high numbers banded around by the grand standing MLA for Northside were always likely to include those who are considered unemployable, especially from his drug ridden Northside constituency.

    If the sick, illiterate, drunks and druggies are excluded from the numbers, that leaves the idle and possibly a small percentage of genuine unemployed and employable candidates. One would have to then ask why it is that with so many positions available to work permit holders, why are they not being filled by these few. Is it because they'd rather be unemployed than employed, is it because they are either unsuccessful or under qualified for the position they seek, or is it that they believe they are worth more than the market value dictates. Or is it, as I suspect, that their attitude forbids them to work in positions they deem menial to their over inflated opinion of themselves?

    Unfortunately, many Caymanians do have an appalling work ethic and show little willingness to get involved and progress. Many believe that employment is a right, not a reward for a sound education. Many are employed because the government insist that a Caymanian should be employed, (regardless of their experience or skill set) some are employed just to fill positions in order to appear that local quotas are being fulfilled, some are employed within their own family organisations to take a monthly cheque without actually doing anything.

    Whilst there are undoubtedly many fine, hardworking Caymanians, far too many are work shy and illustrate to all that hiring a Caymanian is a high risk strategy. For those who are not blinkered by work permit prejudice, this is becoming all too obvious, especially in the service sector where staff are expected to give 100% when dealing with the general public. I know of two bar/grills in my locality that rightly employ local young servers. On both counts the local kidsfail to live up to the service and personal standardsthat are set by work permit staff. This is made worse by one bar who includ gratuities into their bar tabs, allowing those who give bad service to feed off of those who don't. Obviously there is no incentive to work hard as everyone will get the same slice of the pie. Gratuities should be an acknowledgement of good service, not an imposed supplement by employers for poor pay, and definitely not for poor service.

    Finally, one should also dismiss those from the unemployment numbers who claim to be a job seeker but who are in fact looking for an alternative employer. I know many Caymanians who believe that it is their right to chopand change employers without consequences, this must stop. Potential employees must not be allowed to deliberately play roulette with an uncertain employment market, they must learn that with employment comes responsibilities. Until Caymanians finally learn that just being Caymanian isn't a good enough reason for employment and that employment is a privilege afforded to those who work hard at school and in the workplace, the status quo will persist. Nobody wants to see genuine unemployment, especially amongst the younger population, but rights come with responsibilities, they are not in the gift of politicians to impose, they are part of a far and just society and the responsibility of us all.

  5. Make it mandatory says:

    Too many very qualified Caymanians (and those who have deserved and achieved status) are thrown aside for advertised white collar positions and work permit renewals.  Ask any degreed professional if they know of  an excellent candidate who got shafted when applying as a Caymanian- we all can name at least 3 people and who they are would simply shock you!  Top Marketing execs. HR experts, IT professionals, Operation managers, Accountants, the list goes on!!  These are NOT lazy employees who call in sick and use cell phones at work, these are the white collar locals all shut out of job interviews.  We are sick of applying, given lip service, and then watch a 3 month or 6 month UK-Canada-USA Temp permit fly through approved without question!?! Of course once the professional is given their 6 month temp the company will do anything to retain them so the Immigration Board never sees the local applications, only excuses that they interviewed locals and they fell short- poppycock. Immigration has their head in the sand. The HR for Govt and Authority jobs are blatant (even with FOIs) to "score" qualified locals less than a lovely overseas application! Even locals who "test" higher than an overseas applicant with shining references are passed over and we welcome the expat for a cushy 7 year ride.  The system is seriously broken and biased.

    Make this mandatory for permit renewals or those who deserve the jobs (white collar locals) will keep looking at the Friday newspaper advert section as simply a glass ceiling without a ladder. The NWDA is onto something, but Immigration needs to be AWARE of qualified applicants for ALL jobs not just blue collar opportunities.

    Start with ALL recruitment agencies, they are the worst offenders for burying local applicants.


    • Anonymous says:

      Why would an employer willingly pay thousands and thousands of dollars in work permit fees just to "shaft" perfectly qualified Caymanians?

      Honestly… I am curious what the theory is because from an economic standpoint this strategy makes no logical sense. If a Caymanian were qualified and experienced and had the right work ethic, it would be a huge savings to any employer to give that person a shot. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Thousands of dollars in work permit feesis nothing if you can recoup those fees by taking the money out of their pay every month/week. If you don't think that happens, then don't bother to read any further.

        The problem with having a Caymanian who is qualified, experienced, and has the right work ethic is that there are many other companies willing to pay him/her more than you are offering. 

        If you have an employee on a work permit, there is no fear of him/her leaving work on Friday evening and showing up to work for someone else on Monday morning.

        With a work-permit employee, you get at least six months freedom from paying pension. After that holiday is up you can opt to change your employee for a fresh permit, and start the process all over again. If you are paying him/her a very low wage, which is the reason for most permits, then they are more than likely very willing to not have any money taken out of their pay for pension. As long as the Pensions Office has no knowledge of what you are doing, you save on that payment as well.

        For all intents and purposes, a work permit is a very effective tool in keeping low-paid labour in line. Instead of having to rack your brains each day on how to motiviate your employees, you can get by with just saying "Would you like to return to Jamaica, Phillipines, Honduras. etc. etc. etc.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because the worker pays for there own permit.

      • Anonymous says:

        As a UK Status holder this has happened to me before, I was very dismissive of anyone saying that businesses were doing just that.  The application is typically sent overseas with something along the lines of 'only successful applicants will be contacted', leaving you to wonder if they received the application, replied and not received, or just had no use for you.

        The position applied for was well within my experience and qualifications and should have ellicited an interview (my opinion!) on the merits of the application, let alone on the broader requirements of immigration. 

        So in answer to your question, I have no idea, but it does occur.

        To close out my little story, I didn't pursue the issue as I landed a better job. I can only assume that the job advertised had already been filled and this was just a papering excersise. The few k's in fees payable to Government was small potatoes against having to re-interview.

      • Make it mandatory says:

        Because the employer is not making the decisions, the HR department with crabs in a bucket mentality are.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    Having listened to the Minister tonight on Radio Cayman; to say that I am appalled at hers and this governments outlook on un-employment is an under statement. The Minister commented that there is no legislation that obligates employers from registering jobs with the NWDA. Well this is true in a sense as it appears that the NWDA is not operating under any legal guidelines. The Labour Law 2007 mandates that jobs be registered with the Department of Labour, no where in this legislation does it make any reference to any other department, office or agency. So, Madam Minister you are correct that there is no legal obligation to register jobs as your NWDA itself does not have a legal obligation to any current legislation. This agency is simply that – an agency. I challenge anyone to show or prove to this country how and where the NWDA is functioning legally as I dare say it isn't. It is time now that this country hold those who are trying to pull the wool over our eyes accountable. Tell us the truth. Tell us who truly manages/oversees this farce. Tell us TRUTHFULLY if this agency is functioning legally. I will give credit to the apparent upgrades on finding work, but do so with a department that has teeth, a Law to back it up and the proper legislation to make it successful. As a new business owner; I WILL challenge the legality or lack thereof of this agency. None of the employees in this office have the legal right to tell me who to hire or not hire. In closing, bet anyone 2-1 that this is overseen by an expat sitting in the pretty new GOAB offices.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't worry be happy, what them gonna do when the Labour Unions, and Ambassador come for them.  Don't worry when the those that are bent on the destruction of Cayman get the foot hold that they so seek the labour office and any other organisation will be pointless.  Intelligent and Caymanians with foresight are preparing for the day that the mess hits the fan.   As for those that believe expats are the problems or solutions just you wait and see.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Please fix the NWDA website. It's horrendous to use for employers and job seekers. Who built that POS? Get it fixed and start making an effort to make things easier rather than more of a pain in the *ss. Answer emails and the phone as well. Jesus people. Get off your *sses. I won't comment on immigration. The link between NWDA and Immigration was supposed to have been done about 15 years ago. What a bunch of jokers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I feel that the NWDA is doing a good job to help unemployed people and I feel bad when I read things dissing them. Everyone over there tries to help us.They bring in volunters too to give training and I went to a few sessions.One great workshop that Mrs. Sheryl Miller came in and did with us was the best training I ever went to. She taught us a lot about how to behave and look professional and I got a job the next week afterwards. I know it was because I did what I learn from her. Thanks NWDA and Mrs. Sheryl. 

  9. Anonymous says:


    A wish list. NWDA haven’t done anything since they started not even sure if they hired or fill all these allege post that were created to deal with the problem. We have a problem in this country and it is called civil servants, most of them thinks they are owed special privilege and favors for serving the public. Government jobs are mostly secured for them and there families. When you go and interview it is a big jokes. I am so tired of all these red herrings all TALK AND NO ACTION all PPM do is form committee, stop the dam talking and show some action.


  10. Anonymous says:

    No need of a sophisticated sytem to track em, just mosey on down to Archies bar to see them playing dominoes, or on a nice day they''ve gone fishin'

    • Anonymous says:

      The people you see are not Caymanians they are mostly Jamaicans at Archies bar, you expat or wa?.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Oooh, that sounds interesting. Should create at least anohter 5 jobs.

  12. Anonymous says:

    One thing that is contributing to the unemployment issue here is there are many people…some in government positions who have 2 or 3 jobs while some of us who want to work are unemployed.  They claim they cannot make it on their salaries so Government gives them the permission to work in other places and their friends hire them while many are unemplyed.  This has got to be halted until the unemplyment issue is worked out.  We have bills to pay too and we are not lving beyond our means, just simply trying to survive.  The other thing is Governent departments and authorities are making it very difficult for dependable and capable Caymanians to have their own business here and work.  It is shameful and disgraceful.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really?  This isn't the only place in the world that people hold 2-3 jobs.First you fight expats and now you want to fight your own people for the job?  Get it the way they did.  Earn the job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha ha. Just Try to apply for a Govt job. If locals are taking on a second job it is because an expat is doing theirs….

      Sorry, I think the fastest way to status is to join the Civil Service or an Authority.  Even locals who score better on the job tests are still passed over for ex-pats (preferably Canadian, UK or Jamaican)  just do an FOI on any recent government job advertisements within the last year!  NWDA should audit the 2013 posts and WHO filled them, shocking.

      Our own chief officers and head of authorities flaunt the labor law. Too Shameful when I spoke to at least five white-collar qualified professional Caymanians who were turned down for middle management admin government positions as they were offered to expats. 

      There goes that job opportunity for the next seven years. What does this say to our university graduates? No succession planning in government to fill posts or train locals to move up!

      The NWDA is a step in the right direction, but government HR needs to start following our own laws too. Take the NWDA to the next level and level our playing field. Not just for volunteered participation!!

      Where is that $20,000 fine for failing to hire a qualified Caymanian Alden? Hand that out to a few prominent financial firms and see what happens when people are named and shamed for playing these games.  Start with the recruitmemt firms who only offer lip service and bank teller jobs to locals!

      NWDA: how about just following one months work permit renewal applications in Friday's newspaper and see how many applications from locals actually make it to the immigration board? At least 25% of these jobs have qualified locals waiting, but turned away.

      We tell our children to get an overseas university education, we tell them to get experience and get good references, so now what?!? 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Good luck with this approach.  We all will love to employ Caymanians and which is the DECENT thing to do.  There are SO SO MANY MANY Caymanians who are educated and good fit for various organizations who are so often cast aside and happily replaced with a work permit holder ONLY because of the lazy, down-care Caymanians.  Please NWDA, when you are doing your recruitment, please spend quality time and train our Caymanian people to be ready for the workplace with NOT only a resume, but good work attitude and ethics. Example,

    Calling in sick when you are NOT sick –  Employers do not want to have sick people in their organztion.

    Cell phones on the job- Employers do not want employees using their cell phones on the job

    Tardiness- Employers do not want any employees arriving after the boss in their company.

    Dress code- Employers do not want any employees who do not attire themselves properly (clothing and hairdos).

    Inattentive- Employers do not want employees sleeping on the job, being careless, negligent, daydreaming, lacking concentration. Employers need performers. 

    I could name plenty, plenty more.   However, use these as a jump-start to prepare our people for work.  Job seekers, if this fits your profile, DRAW up your socks, improve on yourself  AS you are only preventing our good ready Caymanians from getting their heads through the doorsfor a job. It really pains me, as this is our downfall. I know that all of you can learn and not all of you need a Masters Degree to get a job. However, if you apply yourselves with the above and some common sense, YOU TOO can climb the corporate ladder.  Blessings my brothers and sisters.

    • Anonymous says:

      The corporate ladder isn't always leaning against the tree with fruit in it v

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians also have to learn that an instruction from their boss is not a personal insult, and being admonished for tardiness is not akin to a racial slur.