Students eager to learn about jobs packed the Chamber of Commerce expo on Careers, Education, Training and Jobs at the Family Life Centre on 4 February.
In opening remarks at the event, Education Minister Rolston Anglin reminded everyone of the 10 per cent unemployment in the Islands, but added, “it need not be that way.”
He outlined changes for a new approach, including a stronger partnership between government and the private sector, and the creation of an online job bank.
“Students will be able to apply fully online for scholarships, and the secretariat is ready to deliver,” said Mr. Anglin.
“We are hoping to create life-long learners and bridges to success. Make no mistake about it, we are all developing talent for our economy.
“Everything in the ministry needs to be up to the 20th century,” he said.
“We had one person in the scholarship unit overseeing 800 scholarships, with 300 overseas and 500 locally, as well as keeping the database current in terms of grades and the like, in addition to processing at least 500 applications. One person,” he emphasised, underscoring some of the difficulties with the system.
“Businesses should be able to access GPA’s and things should be connected. People should have suitable contacts of people emailed to them and the scholarship unit should serve to inform employers,” he said.
Mr. Anglin added: “Information helps people to plan, as well as to make for transition to be seamless, and it was not. These inconsistencies were not being seen and as a result, we were living in a fool’s paradise.”
He said it is critical to understand who the audience is and that they are technology driven. “We have to meet them where they are at and we cannot have an antiquated system for the youth of tomorrow.
Among those at the expo who were looking for a job was Leana Jarvis. “This seems to be a very well thought out Expo, and I am handing out my resume. I work part time at Radio Cayman, and I am interested in the media and office work,” she said.
She added that among the jobs she would not do were those in the fast food industry or cleaning. “It’s just not my thing,” she said.
Chelsea Cranston and Tamara Dilbert, both students who are taking part in a 12-week workshop with the Health Services Authority, said they were taught about interview skills and presentation. The last two weeks of the programme are dedicated to job experience in areas they will choose.
Students Kelly Forsythe and Kia Estwick said they found the Expo to be interesting and informative. They added that they saw several areas they were interested in, particularly Emergency Services.
Kyle Parsons, a student from Cayman Prep, said he wants to be a computer programmer, adding that the only job he does not want is customer support, but that he would work at a fast food restaurant if he had to do so to pay for school.