Passport2Success, a programme designed by Cayman Islands Minister of Education Rolston Anglin to turn around the lives of at-risk youth, has garnered the attention of the United Nations Educational Scientific Organization, known as UNESCO for its strides in affecting the life chances and success rates of adolescences in danger of falling through the cracks.
The announcement was made at a graduation ceremony held at the Wharf on Monday, 5 December, for the fifth group to complete the 12 weeks of intense training and development the programme requires.
With more than 124 young people having graduated from Passport2Success to date, the undertaking boasts a completion rate of 80 per cent, while 70 per cent of graduates are employed or furthering their education.
Programme Facilitator Shannon Seymour told the audience we often complain about who is responsible or who is at fault when young people are not exposed to the basic skills crucial to earning and maintaining employment. But rather than blame and point fingers, she said Passport2Suceess has provided a proactive approach to empowering young people by availing them of the skills and knowledge necessary to assimilate into the working world.
“The individuals who pass through this programme have had the full support of the ministry and the private sector, as well as private citizens, who have stepped forward to give of their time and to talk to kids,” she said, adding some of the results the statistics do not account for are the young people who might have been caught up in the justice system and are not re-offending.
Ministry of Education Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues told those gathered she was thrilled to see the graduates represented by parents.
“The ministry is proud of all who complete the programme and we find that many of our participants do not want the undertaking to end. It is important for us to stay engaged in their lives and give them the support they will need for life after Passport2Success,” she said.
Mrs. Rodrigues applauded the efforts of graduates for adapting to demands on their time and having a willingness to change their attitudes.
“Youth employment is a challenge worldwide, so we are particularly encouraged by the fact that 90 per cent of the youth that pass through this programme succeed in one way or another,” she said.