As technology continues to drive development across all sectors, a number of programmes in the Cayman Islands are focused on the increasing need for education in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM).
Dart’s Minds Inspired programmes are one example designed to encourage Cayman’s youth to pursue an education in this field.
Among the opportunities offered by Minds Inspired are a maths challenge, robotics challenges, awards toward continuing education, and a summer camp aimed at challenging students to think outside of the box.
The relevance of STEM education to future success is underscored by programme managers.
“Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and their fluency in STEM fields provides them with essential skills, such as the ability to understand and solve complex challenges,” says Glenda McTaggart, senior manager for education programmes at Dart. “While it’s not possible to predict exactly how each student will grow, or how our country’s workforce might evolve, we know that a strong foundation in STEM will open doors for students. It may even open doors in areas that don’t exist yet.”
Glenda adds, “We’ve seen many Minds Inspired students learn, grow, and mature into successful adults who are now part of Cayman’s workforce. These students came to us eager to learn and prepared to work hard.
“We believe the Minds Inspired programme helped prepare them for rewarding careers and gave them many unique opportunities along the way.”
Other programmes focusing on STEM are offered through a partnership between University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) and Cayman Enterprise City (CEC).
Among the options is a UCCI STEM summer camp where, in 2019, employees of three special economic zone companies helped teach classes such as Raspberry Pi, Artificial Intelligence and entrepreneurship in the Cayman Islands.
In addition to the summer camp, CEC has been working with UCCI through the Enterprise Cayman initiative to advance STEM education via the annual STEM Carib Conference and the STEM Ambassador programme. Other STEM-related programmes include Youth Code Cayman and community hackathons.
Youth Code Cayman offers a deep dive into computer programming, game development, and website and application creation, plus mentor support in the months following the programme.
Mentorships and work placement programmes are also part of CEC’s skills development opportunities.
“Whether you’re taking an internship, mentorship, or work placement, you will be provided with the work-readiness skills required to take on a high-impact job,” says Charlie Kirkconnell, CEC’s chief executive officer.
Another opportunity is offered in Health City Cayman Islands’ STEM Day Camp. The camp, in August 2020, is the kickoff event for the Healthcare Explorers programme year.
“In this fun, innovative, camp we use games, challenges, and a behind-the-scenes hospital tour to study a medical-science topic,” says Charles D. Bush, Health City’s senior education coordinator.
Pre-registration is now open and spaces are limited to 40 students.