Job program workers to receive training, references

Applicants for this summer's National Community Enhancement work program sign up on Aug. 13 at the Lions Centre to take part in the project. - Photo: James Whittaker

Workers taking part in the summer National Community Enhancement program will receive extra incentives for the work they do, in a bid to improve their resumes and their chances of eventually finding full-time employment, the government announced Friday.

Some 460 unemployed Caymanians and out-of-work spouses of Caymanians registered for up to two weeks’ paid work on the program, known as NiCE, which starts this week, government confirmed.

Project Manager Levi Allen of the Public Works Department, one of the government departments overseeing the project, said in a statement that workers taking part in the islandwide cleanup program will receive training and a participation certificate.

Mr. Allen said other incentives would also be available. For example, workers who satisfactorily complete the project will get “graded references highlighting their level of performance following input from their foremen,” he said.

Officials are also considering how some of those who signed up for the NICE project can be engaged to help cull invasive iguanas in due course, he added.

Participants in the NiCE program will be paid $10 an hour to clean beaches and roadsides, while job foremen will receive $12 per hour.

The release noted that the number of Caymanians and spouses who had signed up for this, the first NiCE summer program, was lower than the number that had registered for last year’s Christmas program, when 606 signed up.

“The project’s new elements have been included to provide the unemployed with the chance to learn new skills and demonstrate their ability and willingness to work efficiently as part of a team,” said Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Joseph Hew.

“NiCE workers will now be able to use their time with the project to show prospective employers that they are reliable, conscientious and have the appropriate work ethic,” he added.

He said it was hoped that most of the people working on the summer cleanup project would eventually transition into further or full-time employment.

“The NiCE project is not intended to be a ‘fix-all’ for the unemployed,” he said, “it provides assistance to those between jobs and for others who, for whatever reasons, are unable to maintain full-time employment, while at the same time providing services to the community.”

Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour said the government’s decision to run an extra NiCE project this year was “in direct response to those households who are in need of extra funds to buy back-to-school items for the academic year ahead and other essentials. It will also serve to prepare us ahead of the forecasted busy tourism season.”

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