Planning minister tours Public Works Department training site

Programme designed to fill key technical roles locally

Planning Minister Joey Hew with the current cohort of PWD construction apprentices in front of the building slated to become the Apprentice Training Facility.

The apprentice training facility being built on the Public Works Department compound and set to open early next year, was visited earlier this month by Minister for Planning Joey Hew, who was updated on the progress of construction which began this summer.

The building, which will cover 3,200 square feet, will be raised above the car park on columns, to create a covered space below. The upper level will feature two open-plan teaching areas of 550 square feet each.

The facility will also include an elevator and accessible restroom. In addition, in support of the ministry’s National Energy Policy, the new building will include various green features such as energy-efficient impact-rated windows, 100% LED lighting and solar water heating, along with provisions to accept a solar energy collector application in the future, according to a Government Information Services press release.

During the 4 Sept. tour of the construction site given by Acting Public Works Director Niasha Brady, Hew and ministry chief officer Leyda Nicholson-Makasare received a progress report and met the latest cohort of the PWD Construction Apprenticeship Programme.

Hew told the apprentices how pleased he was to see so many women in the group, which included aspiring architects and engineers. “This visit has been truly enjoyable because I get to meet the young people who will soon take their rightful place in the future of this important industry,” he said.

“Since 2012, the construction sector has seen sustained growth across the Cayman Islands; it plays a vital role, alongside our tourism and financial services industries, in safeguarding our economic growth.”

The apprenticeship programme runs in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre, which provides a large portion of the trainees enrolled, with others recruited from the general public.

Hew also noted the support of private sector partner, Cayman Structural Group, which provides hands-on training to current apprentices.

The programme was launched in 2016, developed out of a need flagged by PWD to fill key technical roles locally because of a lack of required practical skills and technical know-how to carry out the required standard of work in the construction industry.