Recruiters launch back-to-work program

Local recruitment agency Baraud is volunteering to help with the problem of unemployment among Caymanians.

In partnership with client companies and the Cayman Islands government, Baraud is seeking candidates for a 13-week training and employment program called ReStart, where Baraud will pair 20 people with 20 employers.

Each successful candidate will undergo one week of training at Baraud, followed by 11 weeks of paid full-time work at the employer and then a final week of assessment. The idea is for candidates who have proved themselves during the 13 weeks to become permanent employees at the companies. Baraud is also offering up to six months of support after the program to the candidates and employers.

Baraud senior recruitment manager Stefan Cohen said the company originally intended to keep the project within the private sector, but ended up receiving encouragement from the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, and National Workforce Development Agency.

“We’re looking for answers to get Caymanians back to work. One way is through this public-private partnership,” Mr. Cohen said.

The official publicity campaign for ReStart begins today. The start date is Oct. 14, when the candidates will begin training at Baraud.

During the temporary employment period, the companies will provide mentors to help the candidates succeed at work, and Baraud will provide weekly half-day training sessions including guest speaker appearances. Training topics include information technology, résumé and cover letter writing, money management, career advice, job searching, workplace networking, communication and confidence skills, and raising aspirations within the family.

ReStart is a nonprofit initiative by Baraud, which is covering the costs of pension and health insurance contributions for the candidates, who will technically be Baraud employees. The participating employers will pay a fee to Baraud that will be used to fund employment subsidies for the candidates. Baraud is also spearheading the delivery of the program and paying for marketing.

People interested in participating in the program must be Caymanians, permanent residents or spouses of Caymanians. Importantly, they must be registered with the government’s National Workforce Development Agency to be eligible to participate. The workforce agency will provide the names of potential candidates to Baraud, which is also soliciting applications online. Baraud’s 20 client companies will identify positions of need, and Baraud will match the candidates with the employers based on the job criteria and the candidates’ skills.

The available positions cover a range of experience levels and skill sets, not only in the financial services arena, but a variety of industries.

“We’ll be looking for people with varied skill levels. It’s not just entry level positions,” Mr. Cohen said.

“It depends on what vacancies our clients have.”

Following the stint of the initial pilot program, Baraud will reconvene with government to explore expanding the program.

“I’m excited about the launch of the ReStart employment initiative spearheaded by Baraud. This initiative provides the kind of example that I encourage other companies and business in the private sector to emulate – that is to actively work with the [National Workforce Development Agency] to identify and place Caymanians in suitable jobs and supporting them in their transition from being unemployed to employment,” said Tara Rivers, minister of education, employment and gender affairs. “Ensuring that suitably qualified Caymanians are given real opportunities to access the jobs that are available in the economy, and providing support to help facilitate their success at those jobs, makes good business sense.”

Baraud has set goals for the program to measure its success. The company is aiming for 75 percent of candidates to complete the 11-week job placement, 70 percent to move into permanent paid employment and for 60 percent to sustain the permanent employment for six months.

“If within that six-month period, the candidate loses their full-time position for whatever reason, Baraud will step in to source new employment opportunities for them,” Mr. Cohen said.

Mr. Cohen said Baraud is motivated by the persistently high unemployment rate among Caymanians, which as of 2012 was 10.5 percent (or 1,925 people). Among 15-24 year olds, the unemployment rate was 21.2 percent (or 691 people). The program looks to engage eight 15-24 year olds and 12 people 24 years and older.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hugh, please clarify your point the article mentioned that you had to be Caymanian to qualify. I see it also mentions Permanent Residents which I assume would have been granted the right to work in Cayman by Immigration as well as Spouses of Caymanians. I guess I can understand people with PR not qualifying but why not Spouses..

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