Two Caymanian employees of a refrigeration company have become certified as technicians.
Polar Bear Air Conditioning owner Chuck Mobley surprised employees Nathan Trumbach and Daniel Rivers by enrolling them in a $30,000 training program at Perfect Technician Academy in Weatherford, Texas. The one-month course included classes and training sessions six days a week.
Mr. Trumach, who had been working at Polar Bear as an apprentice for three months in the Maintenance and Service Department, said he was amazed to be offered the opportunity.
“No other company that I have worked for was ever able to give me the chance to go away for a training course and get certified, especially before my probation period was over,” he said, adding that the training and certification not only enable him to perform his job to the best of his ability, but also helped prove his worth to the company.
“Being certified also means I have a lifelong career, and going through the process opened my eyes and mind to see the bigger picture,” he said.
Mr. Rivers has worked for Polar Bear for three years, starting as an apprentice before becoming a junior technician in the Service Department. He said he wanted to get certified because he knew he would learn a lot and that it would prove he had retained the knowledge he gained working at the company.
”On top of this, Polar Bear always pushes us to give the customer a better service and so by knowing more, I feel I’ll be able to provide a much better service,” he said.
Mr. Mobley, whose company employs more than 30 people, said there is a lack of opportunity for Caymanians to become skilled trade workers. He said Polar Bear is working with government to try and change this, but it takes time, and so the company will continue to send employees with potential to training programs overseas.
“If the facilities were here, [to] which Caymanians could go and gain knowledge and certifications, the Immigration Department would be issuing far less work permits for skilled expatriate workers,” said Mr. Rivers.
Mr. Trumbach thinks it is in the best interest of the government and private sector to support technical and vocational studies.
He said technicians at Polar Bear had taken the time to teach him and even bought him tools to help him out.
“There are people here who are willing to teach trades to others, so let’s give them the resources they need to do it,” he said.
Mr. Trumbach said attending the Perfect Technician Academy was an “overall amazing” experience – a very intense course, but the teachers helped them through every step of it.
“Texas is a great place, full of friendly people, and I truly enjoyed being in Texas for the course. I feel grateful to Polar Bear for giving me this opportunity. As a young Caymanian, scholarships can be hard to attain … especially for technical and vocational studies. Polar Bear has made my dream of becoming a tradesmen a reality,” he said.
The employees had to receive 70 percent in order to pass the course.
Mr. Mobley was so impressed with the employees’ results that he surprised both of them by showing up for their graduation and treating them to a Texas Thanksgiving dinner and two tickets to their first Dallas Cowboys football game.