More than 140 students from Layman E. Scott High School in Cayman Brac received an introduction to Cayman’s financial services industry last month as part of the school’s career fair event.
Paul Byles, CEO and director of First Regents Bank & Trust, spoke with the students on 22 February about the hedge funds, captive insurance and banking industries, as well as why clients use their services and what career options there may be for local students.
“It was essentially a brief introduction to the industry with no technical jargon, so that they could get an idea of what some of the services were, why a client would use those services in the Cayman Islands and what some of their career options are in the industry. I tried to use some ad hoc role play with student participation which they seemed to enjoy,” Mr. Byles said.
He said educating students about the industry on a regular basis, particularly between the ages of 14 and 15 when they may have initial thoughts about career and academic choices, is an important part of facilitating the maximum participation and success of Caymanians in the financial services industry.
Mr. Byles, who is also president of the Junior Achievement programme in the Cayman Islands and a past Rotary president, said, “I have always felt that students needed this introduction a lot earlier than when they graduated or even in their last year. By then it’s too late to influence some of the students who, had they been exposed to the industry, may have made different choices during those key years in high school where students often need creative means of motivating them in their studies and career choices.”
The initiative itself is a personal effort of Mr. Byles, which he said he will continue to do as a community service.
Sharon Austin vice principal of the Layman E. Scott High school and Devon Bowen, a teacher and career fair organiser, said they were both pleased with the event.
“Chief among the presentations was an informative and engaging session conducted by Mr. Paul Byles. The focus of the presentation was to expose students, particularly our senior students to the workings of the Insurance and Investment industries in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Bowen said.
“Mr. Byles used a variety of strategies, including role playing, which captured and held the students’ interest throughout, while serving to concretize the concepts explored. All in all, the presentation proved very worthwhile and students left with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the requirements as well as the expectations involved in this career,” Ms Austin said.
Another key message for students on the day was that the majority of career options in the financial services industry do not involve being a lawyer or accountant.
“There are dozens of very good career options in the financial services industry such as marketing, HR, IT and others that are very fulfilling and students should also be aware that the financial services industry cannot function with solely lawyers and accountants,” he added.