Government training program ups age limit

The government’s Passport2Success training program is increasing its upper age limit of participants from 20 to 22 years old, Employment Minister Tara Rivers announced this week. 

The program, on a case-by-case basis, will also begin taking trainees up to the age of 25 who are recommended by the National Work­force Development Agency, she confirmed. 

The increase in the age limit is being introduced in response to the popularity of the program and to the concerns of people ages 15 to 24 who were surveyed in the 2014 Labour Force Survey, the minister said in a statement released this week. 

In the statement, which quoted the minister’s comments to Passport2Success graduates at a recent graduation ceremony, Ms. Rivers said, “The purpose of these training and employment programs must be to respond to the needs of the community as presented. As minister, my aim is to not only continue to build on the success of the Passport2Success program thus far, but to also expand its reach as appropriate in order to better meet the needs of this critically important population – our young people.” 

Attendees at the graduation ceremony heard that five of the graduates from the round of the program that began in January have secured employment. One other is continuing an internship, two are pursuing further education at the University College of the Cayman Islands, one is beginning a nursing program and another is continuing a bachelor of science degree. That round of the program was open to unemployed single mothers. 

The Passport2Success program is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs. So far, 355 people have been through the program. 

Handing out certificates to the graduates, Ms. Rivers said, “Each of you has proven your commitment to the program, proven your commitment to your personal development and proven that you can achieve success. You deserve this honor of being a Passport2Success graduate.”  

Internship placements were offered to participants by Cayman Airways, the courts – Judicial Administration, Foster’s Food Fair, Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, Health Services Authority, Eclipze Hair and Nail Design, Marriott Beach Resort, DHL, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Caribbean Utilities Company and Kirk Freeport.  

Another key aspect of Passport2Success is tracking the graduates 12 months after they have completed the program to see how they are doing.  

Another group of young single Caymanian mothers graduated from the program last year and recently held a reunion. 

Program coordinator and director of The Wellness Centre Shannon Seymour said she was delighted to hear of the success of this group. 

“I am excited to report that 68 percent of the graduates [13 out of 19] are employed at present. A positive pattern is emerging; of the three single mothers cohorts that have reached their 12-month reunion, 64-68 percent of the participants of these cohorts have obtained employment by that time. I believe that while the needs of these cohorts are uniquely significant, the program appears to yield consistently positive outcomes for this group.”  

Minister Rivers has visited this group to wish them well and to encourage them to work hard and make the most of the Passport2Success Program. 

To apply for the next round of the program starting in September and geared toward Caymanians aged 17 to 22, visit or contact the NWDA at [email protected] or 945-3114. 

Employment Minister Tara Rivers, Passport2Success Coordinator and Director of The Wellness Centre Shannon Seymour, NWDA Manager of Training and Development Dianne Connolly and Passport2Success Instructor Hylton Grace with the most recent graduates of the Passport2Success program.