Vocational centre applauded

First evening attracts 50 students

The Community Vocational Training Centre on School Road in George Town was full to overflowing on Monday evening, 16 July, when students and supporters attended an opening celebration. Fifty students, enrolled in electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning courses, heard motivating speeches and saw the facilities that will enable them to obtain skills to industry-accepted standards. 

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush announced the centre will receive $40,000 from the “Nation Building Fund”. This week Lorna Bush, training centre administrator, said the money will be used to help with administrative costs such as record keeping and Internet access, provide a small stipend for instructors, and pay for some of the supplies students will use in their practical workshops. 

In his speech, Mr. Bush acknowledged the need for a mix of programmes that will help young people reach their potential. He indicated that Cayman was doing well in providing academic opportunities, but acknowledged the need for technical training. “When I saw this programme, my heart was blessed. This is where we’re not reaching,” he said. 

Mr. Bush thanked Allan Moore, founder of the training centre, for his commitment to getting the project going. “I’m elated that so many have agreed to lend their expertise as instructors,” he added. 

His final words were to the students, congratulating them for taking the first step toward enhancing their lives. He also gave some advice, urging them to be careful of their friends: “They can take you down roads you don’t want to go,” he warned. 

Mike Adam, minister for Community Affairs, said social order depends on individuals believing they can make contributions to their community.  

The minister said Mr. Moore’s own background should instil confidence in the students, while his experience will give them every opportunity for success. 

He said he would watch the development of the centre with great interest and looked forward to seeing it in other districts “because this is certainly a winner.” 

Keynote speaker Walling Whittaker told the gathering, “Training is the key to employability, but attitude is going to be the thing that keeps you employed.” He pointed to the high pay enjoyed by people in blue-collar jobs. 

Rennie Barnes presented Mr. Bush with a miniature rope-twisting device and the premier immediately demonstrated his ability to use it. Burns Rankin gave the vote of thanks, revealing that he was a graduate of one of Mr. Moore’s earlier training courses. 

Mr. Moore did not speak from the platform, but spent his time with groups of students to explain how their hands-on practical work will fit with classroom theory. All courses meet in the evening at the C & M Building and outdoor workshop (Caymanian Compass, 10 July). 

Training McKeeva Bush

Premier McKeeva Bush addresses students and supporters at the vocational centre opening. On the platform with him are, from left, Mike Adam, Walling Whittaker and Lorna Bush. – Photo: Carol Winker