Today’s Editorial for February 18: Prepare students for business world early

Hundreds of young people will exit the hallowed halls of education this spring, armed with high school diplomas and looking for jobs.

That’s a lot of people to introduce into the workforce at one time, especially if they haven’t learned the right skills to do the jobs required.

While we commend Government’s commitment to get students involved in career placement programmes with various businesses, we have to wonder if they come too late for graduating seniors.

Right now graduating students are more concerned about passing final exams than worrying about their futures.

But it is those futures that should have been taken into account long before they reached the final years of high school.

If we, as a society, are truly serious about reducing the number of work permit holders and putting our own people to work, then we have to provide them with proper training.

Time and again this newspaper has urged those who make up the curriculum to work hand-in-hand with existing businesses in the Cayman Islands to develop work programmes for students so they will be ready to take on the jobs that are now given to expatriates.

Not every student leaving high school has the capability or desire to continue his education at college or university.

It is refreshing to know that some form of vocational education is being offered in our Government high schools.

But we believe more can be done and we have evidence it can work right here at Cayman Free Press.

We have consistently hired Caymanian students to work with us after school and during holidays to train them how to do jobs that would have gone to work permit holders. We have helped put many of those students through higher education to assist them in getting the proper degree to come back to Cayman Free Press to become gainfully employed.

Companies like Cayman Free Press can do so much to ensure our young people receive the right education to pursue careers here, at home.

Companies don’t have to wait on Government either. They can also contact high school counsellors and express interest at finding students to help train.

By working with young people before they pursue higher education and getting them interested in the employment opportunities we have here at home, we can help make sure those students become productive adults in Cayman when they are older.

If companies don’t get behind our youth we have no one to blame but ourselves if future Caymanians can’t find placement in businesses here.

We have graduating classes every year. Let’s make sure future school leavers are ready to step up to the plate to take their rightful places in our business climate.