Cayman’s new vocational school could begin offering courses as early as next month, according to its creator Michael Myles.
Myles, a former government youth worker, dug into his own pockets to set up the school to train Caymanians in the trades.
He has secured a facility on Eastern Avenue for the school, Inspire Cayman Training, and will begin offering courses, initially in scuba diving and construction, this summer.
The school is certified through the US-based National Center for Construction Education and Research. The Caribbean Utilities Company, which uses the NCCER for its trainee programmes, is on board as a training sponsor.
Several companies, including Dart, are providing support in kind through donated tools and placement opportunities for students. Myles said he was in the process of signing a series of agreements with companies who were willing to assist with on-the-job experience for trainees at the centre.
“We are going to be partnering with ten contractors who are supporting with apprenticeships, mentorship and employment,” said Myles.
“We can provide the training, but the work experience and job opportunities are going to come from the private sector.”
The school will initially start by offering a core construction course and a Tools for Success course – the basic first steps in the NCCER curriculum. Those courses qualify graduates to work on a construction site and are the required base level for entry into other courses, including mechanics, plumbing and air conditioning servicing. Those courses will start from January next year.
Precisely what courses the school will offer depends on take-up. At least eight students are needed to run a course. Myles is certified as a master trainer through the NCCER and has one full-time and two part-time instructors signed up to work with him. He said the certification programme allowed students to learn directly from people working in the trades.
The school has also teamed up with Eco Divers Cayman to offer a PADI dive certification programme that can train people to be divemasters.
Myles said the trade courses would cost around $3,500 to cover the costs. He said the school would not seek to make a profit but was charging enough to “keep the lights on”.
He is in the process of registering with the government’s new WORC department and hopes that prospective students will be eligible for scholarship funding.
He believes the school can fill a niche in Cayman’s education system by providing accredited qualifications that lead to concrete job opportunities in the trades.
Dart President of Development Delivery Cameron Graham said the developer was happy to support the school.
“As the country’s largest investor, with a robust pipeline of future developments, it matters to us that young people who want to develop a career in the construction trades can pursue affordable, accredited courses right here in Cayman,” he said.
“Inspire Cayman’s course offerings will provide essential technical and vocational training to allow graduates to enter the construction workforce with the core knowledge and foundational skills our contractors require,” he added.