Cayman must put people first

Cayman as a nation must put people first

Companies and organisations often tout they “put people first” and value attracting and retaining talent as a top priority to ensure the continued success of their businesses. The Chamber of Commerce in partnership with government believes the Cayman Islands should speak this mantra as a country. Ensuring businesses on Island are able to attract and retain the brightest brains by growing and furthering our own talent means we will have in place a solid foundation for the economy that sustains growth for the long term.

The Future of Cayman initiative has identified five key drivers that the Government and business across the Island believe are the most important factors in creating a vibrant and sustainable economy for every resident here. This month’s one-day Future of Cayman Forum, taking place on 23rd November at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman will see around 200 high level leaders from both the public and private sectors grapple with two of these key drivers – Develop Talent and Build a Smarter Infrastructure.

Long term view

Develop Talent Driver co-chairs are Mary Rodrigues, chief officer with the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment and Samantha Nehra, vice president of people and development with DMS.

Mrs. Nehra explained that talent development did not happen overnight.

“It requires a sustained and continuous approach that begins with close focus on the education of Cayman’s young people and continues through to the promotion of a culture that embraces lifelong learning,” she said.

One of the initiative’s key objectives to promote talent is to ensure successful educational performance at every level. This means developing an industry strategy in conjunction with Government for private sector contributions to the development of a quality early childhood care and education system.

“Developing Talent is a priority that cuts across both Government and the private sector,” Mrs. Rodrigues said. It is critical for the social and economic development of the Cayman Islands and we need both sectors to collaborate to achieve success. The establishment of a central portal for scholarship information is one such key development.

“Our group’s action plans focus on areas where a private sector collaboration can complement and/or supplement the considerable efforts being undertaken by government. One such idea includes an adopt-a-school campaign for early childhood care and education centres, where organisations can support these private centres to meet critical needs. Our plans also encourage partnerships to support upcoming education-centred initiatives such as Month of the Young Child national campaigns to promote education and the further development of the CI Further Education Centre. Samantha and I look forward to advancing these and other initiatives this year, with greater private sector participation and a re-invigorated Driver group.”

Promoting life-long learning

While focus on learning at the early childhood stage will create a platform for a well-educated society, continuing the education process is a must, so the initiative has also identified the creation of an environment that promotes lifelong learning as another important objective for the developing of talent driver.

To this end the initiative has outlined several action points, including the development of mechanisms for private sector participation in Government’s Year 12 Programme to ensure strong industry input for the preparation of young people for the workforce or further education. It also calls for contribution to an advisory group to provide input and feedback and other ways to support the programme.

The third objective for the Future of Cayman’s developing talent driver speaks to the importance of Cayman being able to adequately meet the needs of the business community via its ability to attract and retain talent. The Cayman Islands is a world-renowned centre for excellence when it comes to the financial services industry; therefore, it has to be able to continue to attract the best brains and highest qualified professionals if it is to maintain this success.

Ensuring employers have access to a skilled workforce means establishing mechanisms to support collaboration and communication between Government and private sector scholarship programmes. It also required liaison between the Chamber of Commerce and the Cayman Islands Student Association to complete the website to highlight public and private sector scholarship opportunities in the Cayman Islands. The site allows the public and private sectors to post scholarships, training and internships online for free. Students and school leavers can also visit and search the site for free.

The action plan in this regard also involves developing a Strategic Report to assist with better partnering of private and public sector scholarship programmes to provide a more comprehensive educational and developmental experience to students.

Developing home grown talent is one of the basic building blocks for a stable and sustainable workforce of the future; and it must, therefore, be a priority for discussion and action by both the public and private sectors alike.

The November Forum will consist of four, concurrent breakout sessions focused on each of the two driver groups. The Develop Talent sessions will each highlight the four objectives set out in the 2011 Strategic Report and confirmed panelists to date are: Dr. Jo Wood, chief policy advisor for Education; Julie Madgwick, senior policy advisor, Ministry of Education; Michael Myles, BEST programme coordinator, Ministry of Education; Robin Kyne, director, Cayman Islands Further Education Centre; Philip Scott and Brendon Malice, National Workforce Development Agency; Ahisha Bodden, Kirk Supermarket; Terri Howard, Mike’s Ice; Dr. Tasha Ebanks-Garcia, ICCI; Milly Serpell, SteppingStones Recruitment; Richard Coles, Cayman Finance; and April Cummings, WestStar TV.

As well as an in-depth analysis of the two drivers, the Forum will open with incoming Chamber of Commerce President, Chris Duggan, as well as Deputy Governor Franz Manderson. Organisers are also delighted to confirm Premier McKeeva Bush, JP, OBE, who will deliver the closing address, a testament to the continued strong support the initiative has received by the Government.

Sponsors include the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce; WestStar TV; Dart; Tower Marketing; Digicel Cayman; The Security Centre; the Caymanian Compass; Caribbean Utilities Company, Ltd.; CDS IBM Cayman Agency; Cayman National Bank; Bodden Holdings Ltd.; Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited; Cayman Finance; Electricity Regulatory Authority; KPMG; The Phoenix Group; PwC Cayman; SteppingStones Recruitment; The Water Authority; the Office of the Deputy Governor, Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs; the Civil Aviation Authority, and the International College of 
the Cayman Islands.

The Future of Cayman 2012 Forum is a non-profit, all day, interactive event open to the general public. Registration costs $150 and includes conference materials and full access to a welcome breakfast, opening session and remarks, selected breakout session, lunch, coffee and networking breaks, closing session and address, cocktail reception.

For further details, sponsorship information and to register, please visit the Future of Cayman website at

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