With safety a top priority within the Public Works Department, the Minister for Works officially opened its state-of-the-art training centre last week. Before the official opening, Public Works had already been using the facility for rigorous safety workshops with 22 employees completing certificates.
Located at the department’s compound at North Sound Road, this purpose-built centre allows the department to provide vital training on-site said Public Works Director Max Jones.
‘In recent years we concentrated heavily on training and that focus continues with renewed vigour today,’ said Mr. Jones. ‘The centre, combined with our recently-added training, development and safety officer, will allow us to tailor courses to meet our specific needs.’
The centre is technology-driven, featuring a dedicated information technology area and includes 10 computers. The resource centre is stocked with reading and reference materials, which includes current building codes and periodicals. The theatre-style lecture room seats 60 people.
The purpose-built facility is flexible enough to accommodate a range of workshops and classes explained training and development officer Levi Allen.
‘It is equipped with configurable furniture to allow for collaboration, individual work, or conference room layouts,’ said Mr. Allen. ‘Today we can train one-on-one and tomorrow we can rearrange the room for groups or even a board meeting.’
Even while the new facility had been in the planning stages for a long times, Public Works had been investing considerable resources into staff development.
‘Relevant training supports our goal of making consistent measurable improvements in the quality and efficiency of the services we provide to our clients,’ said Mr. Jones. ‘It also supports succession planning by providing a cadre of trained young Caymanians capable of assuming key posts.’
Both the deputy director Tamara Hurlston and Freedom of Information manager Juliette Frederick recently completed master’s degree programmes through the University of Phoenix. Technical assistant Chaz Powery and electrician Tito Bonilla also completed associate degrees in electrical technology, while plumber Arek Gardner earned his bachelor’s in construction technology. Other employees have enrolled in University College of the Cayman Islands programmes and the Civil Service College.
‘I’m very grateful to the Public Works Department for allowing me this opportunity,’ said Ms. Frederick. ‘My latest qualification has added to my skill set and will enable me to make a stronger contribution.’
The Minister for Works, Arden McLean, Ministry deputy chief officer Dorine Whittaker; and Public Works director Max Jones attended the official opening.