The Cayman Islands Society for Human Resources Professionals chose the government’s Public Works Department’s apprenticeship training program as the “Best Training Program” in the Cayman Islands for 2017.

Joey Hew, minister for commerce, planning and infrastructure, congratulated the Public Works team, saying, “The program is providing young Caymanians, not only with internationally recognized vocational certifications but also with the means to earn a good living throughout their lifetimes in one of our key industries, the construction industry.”

He said the program now has 15 apprentices and will further expand in September.

“I will continue to champion this project, ensuring that it gets the necessary resources to support this continued growth,” he added.

The department earned the award at the society’s 8th annual Top Employer and 3rd annual CISHRP Awards for Human Resources Excellence on Saturday, Feb. 3 at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort.

Max Jones, Public Works director, program manager Levi Allen and other section managers and staff members who are mentors received the award on behalf of the department at the society’s awards presentation program.

Alan Jones, the ministry’s chief officer, said the pilot apprenticeship project kicked off in 2016/17 with no additional funding from government and resulted in five young Caymanians receiving internationally recognized City and Guilds vocational certifications.

Trainee apprentices with mentors and other PWD staff and government officials.

“PWD set out to demonstrate that they could produce results before requesting government funding, and the pilot programme did just that, showing that PWD is … most suited to be a centre of excellence for construction vocational training,” he said in a press release.

According to Program Manager Mr. Allen, the department offers a “structured, multi-tiered” program to provide young Caymanians the opportunity to gain internationally recognized C&G vocational qualifications in construction trades and construction supervision. Areas covered, he said, include plumbing, electrical installation, air-conditioning, carpentry and general building maintenance. Mr. Jones said before this apprenticeship program, Caymanians could not become certified locally in general construction vocational trades.

So far, 19 local mentors, including four from major local contractors, have also received C&G training.

Within two years, PWD will seek accreditation as a technical and vocational education and training center for construction trades. Following that, PWD will also be able to assess apprentices, in the Cayman Islands, for C&G certification purposes.

“This is truly a national programme since it impacts not just PWD but the local construction industry and the entire Cayman Islands,” Mr. Jones said.

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