Friday night saw history in the making when Minister of Youth and Education Alden McLaughlin had a heart-to-heart talk with the youth of the Cayman Islands.
The National Youth Meeting, held at the Mary Miller Memorial Hall, attracted about 50 adolescents interested in voicing their concerns directly to Mr. McLaughlin.
He opened the meeting urging the youth to let their voices be heard.
‘I want this to be a discussion. I don’t need to tell you what the issues are. You have far too many people my age telling you what the problems are,’ he said to the crowd.
The discussion kicked off with concerns over youth centres or lack thereof. Several church youth groups were present and youngsters voiced their distress over having few positive places for youths to go on the weekends when their peers were out at the night clubs.
One youth expressed her concern at the lack of motivation and drive students in the Cayman Islands exhibit, not to mention the lack of professionalism of older teens in the workplace due to little career training in high school.
‘Young people need to be taught how to be professional,’ she said.
Suggestions made to the Minister to combat employment problems were to expand work experience placements to new businesses, not just the same ones every year, and to implement more career counselling and personality profiling to match the individual with the career best suited to their personality.
Also present was Kareem Streete-Thompson, Caymanian world-class track athlete, who served as a positive role model for the evening. He wanted to make sure students are regularly exposed to people established in successful careers in order to broaden their career horizons.
James Myles, coordinator of the event, expressed his delight at its success.
‘It was great that the minister took the time to have a dialogue with the young people,’ he said. ‘It was the first of its kind and I am elated as the Youth Service Coordinator that the Minister gave his commitment for it to continue to happen.’