EDITORIAL – Inspire Cayman shows power of working together

Anyone who doubts the power of an individual to transform our community for the better should study the work of Michael Myles.

Cayman’s unflagging youth advocate is no hand-wringer. He identifies a need, comes up with a plan to address it, and gets it done.

When Myles saw a need for vocational training on island, he set about getting it filled. Thanks to his dogged efforts, and the business community’s willingness to step up and help, Inspire Cayman Training is poised to launch as early as July.

As the Compass reported last week, the school expects to initially offer construction and divemaster training but will expand curriculum according to interest and need.

It is an elegant solution to a well-known problem: Too few Caymanian job-seekers have the technical certifications and skills to pursue lucrative and satisfying careers in the trades.

By committing his own resources, leveraging relationships and enlisting the help of partners with ‘skin in the game,’ Myles has devised a nimble, effective programme that will finally address this pressing workforce issue while opening up new on-island opportunities for Caymanians.

It is a win-win-win: Making sure our residents have access to trade and vocational training strengthens our society by rewarding individual initiative, offering clear paths for the pursuit of excellence and the dignity of work.

The way Inspire Cayman Training has come into being is, itself, a story of self-reliance, initiative and inspiration. Myles dug into his own pockets to help fund the facility on Eastern Avenue. The Caribbean Utilities Company has signed on as a training sponsor. Local businesses have donated tools or committed to providing on-the-job experience for the centre’s students. Myles told the Compass that 10 contractors have agreed already to partner with Inspire Cayman Training, providing apprenticeships, mentorship and employment – a seamless classroom-to-work pipeline.

Myles, a certified master trainer through US-based National Center for Construction Education and Research, and three other instructors will handle the classroom component, which will qualify graduates for basic work on construction sites or advanced coursework in various trades. Working with Eco Divers Cayman, the school will offer certification courses for students to become divemasters, opening up even more employment opportunities for local job-seekers. Myles is registering with WORC and hopes to connect students with scholarships to defray the cost of training.

Government, particularly WORC and the ministries of tourism and education, should do everything in its power to support the training centre. We need more skilled tradespeople to build our houses, roads, schools and churches, and to keep machinery and systems in good repair.

Every person deserves a chance to contribute meaningfully to our society and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Myles and his partners are building more than a training centre, they are offering a passport to well-paying, satisfying employment and a rich, fulfilling life.