Junior Achievement of the Cayman Islands is celebrating 20 years of service to the Cayman community this year, a major milestone for any organisation; but for one that is run by volunteers and funded through donations it is a milestone of significant proportion.
Paul Byles, President of Junior Achievement of the Cayman Islands, said the individuals and businesses that over years had worked with JA to ensure Cayman’s students had access to economic and financial programmes should be proud to have partnered with such a worthwhile organisation.
“Participating in JA as a sponsor or volunteer helps foster the entrepreneurial spirit of Cayman’s youth by inspiring them to start a business, define a career plan and make better financial decisions,” he said.
Byles said Cayman’s students had the innovation and drive but required assistance and mentoring in order to provide them with skills for running a business.
“For 20 years JA has answered this call by providing Cayman’s youth with the knowledge they need to plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices.”
The JA programme gives students access to many of Cayman’s successful business people and companies.
“For these students a mentor can be invaluable. It is about having someone to keep you accountable and to encourage you to achieve your goals,” Byles said. “At school, our young people experience a traditional education of Maths, English and so on, but today they also need to be taught how to be enterprising and think like entrepreneurs so they can create their own inspiring businesses and community projects.”
This year the Junior Achievement Company Programme sees participation from 244 students from 14 schools across the Cayman Islands, paired with 12 sponsoring companies. The JA Company programme provides students the opportunity to simulate a real business while being academically challenged in the following areas: company structure, company capitalisation, customer-product focus, product-market pricing, company operations, branding and public relations, product sales, individual entrepreneurial plans and company liquidation.
“By being involved with JA, business people can become a vital role model–inspiring Cayman’s youth to succeed, believe in themselves and empowering them to make a difference in the world,” Byles said. “The JA programmes provide our youth with skills they can utilise throughout their lifetime.”
“The Junior Achievement programmes gives me hands-on experience and incredible knowledge of the business world and prepares me for public speaking, developing leadership and my overall business skills”, stated a local JA student.
Kadi Marren, a company advisor from PWC, was a Junior Achiever in high school and has now been an advisor for four years.
“I love to see the change in students’ attitudes from their first week in JA to their last and how excited they are about their achievements and how sad they are when the programme comes to an end. The benefits are endless and I think every student learns something, not only about how to start a business but about life experiences by participating in JA”, Kadi stated.
“JA’s young people inspire us with their abilities and leadership skills and the contributions they make in our community will help define where the Cayman Islands heads in the 21st Century,” Byles said.
Junior Achievement of the Cayman Islands is a not-for-profit association and is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprising of representatives appointed by Rotary Central, the Chamber of Commerce and elected associate members.
It is supported by many corporate sponsors including its eight corporate ambassadors: HSBC; Rotary Central; Dunkin Donuts; Caledonian Global Financial Services; Maples & Calder; BDO; Cayman Islands Government and Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.