The Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Careers, Education & Training Expo attracted more than 800 students to the University College of the Cayman Islands’ Sir Vassel Johnson Hall on Friday, Feb. 8.

At the event 34 businesses and organizations showcased their scholarship, internship and employment opportunities.

The expo provided university and high school students from both public and private schools with a forum to engage with prospective employers as they prepare to transition from the classroom to the workplace.

Education Councilor Barbara Conolly delivered the welcome remarks on behalf of the education minister.

Chamber President Christopher Kirkconnell noted that bridging the gap between students and businesses is one of the key areas of focus for the Chamber.

He said that previous research had shown that students were not familiar with the wide range of jobs available, and the event was a way to change that.

Last year the Chamber launched a summer job program for Caymanians between the ages of 16 and 17. Mr. Kirkconnell encouraged all exhibitors to consider taking on students for the summer so that they could gain some work experience. “We ask you provide the student with some meaningful work experience and to compensate them so that they can get a true understanding of the world of work,” he said.

Chamber President Christopher Kirkconnell

The Chamber president further noted that the exhibitors at the event demonstrated the diverse range of career opportunities in all industry sectors, from financial services to skill-based professions.

All of these “provide similar opportunities for you to be successful,” he told attending students. “Some of these jobs are in technical areas like auto mechanics, carpentry, electrical and construction. I know of many persons who started out on one of those industries, and now they own very successful businesses. They are the ones building the offices for the banks. They have many clients working in the financial industry and using their services,” Mr. Kirkconnell said.

Businesses and government organizations at the Expo promoted scholarships, internships, apprenticeships and work placements together with career avenues, and offered information about the best course and study programs to enter the respective industries.

Utility company CUC was one of the 34 exhibitors at the Career Expo.