55 Caymanians have found their footing in the workforce through their participation in government’s upskilling programme, Ready2Work KY. Now, those behind the programme are dissecting its pilot year, with the aim of rolling out a refined version in February.
“We’ve already got a wait list of individuals who are interested in participating, who are waiting for the restart of Ready2Work, or whatever that programme should become,” said Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit Chief Deputy Officer Dr. Tasha Ebanks-Garcia.
Work is underway to retool the Ready2Work KY programme to help more unemployed Caymanians secure employment in 2017.
“We do have a focus on supporting people in accessing,” said Dr. Ebanks-Garcia. “But then the next piece is supporting them in maintaining employment, and then it’s about progressing in employment.”
In addition to poring over analytics and hard facts, she said she is engaging last year’s employers, facilitators, and participants.
“Gathering data from them and their experiences, looking at what are the gaps that are still there, those who have not been successful in accessing employment, what are the challenges that maybe the programme didn’t address,” said Dr. Ebanks-Garcia.
She envisions the coming iteration of Ready2Work KY to be better integrated with other workforce development initiatives.
“What we are going to see is, taking the components of Ready2Work KY and connecting them with the other programmes and services that are delivered by the NWDA.
She said that means tailoring a plan for the specific needs of the individual job seekers.
“Looking at what your needs are, what your individual gaps are through our assessment process, and then creating a pathway to get you ready to work,” said Dr. Ebanks-Garcia.
Not just ready to work, she told Cayman 27, ready to build self-sufficiency through employment skills.
“We are not about creating programmes that will result in codependency. We don’t want people to be dependent on government in order to access and maintain and progress in employment,” said Dr. Ebanks-Garcia.
The pilot programme came in under its $1.66 million budget for 2016, with an average of $700 spent per participant. Much of that savings was taken by employers declining subsidies for taking on participants.
Dr. Ebanks-Garcia told Cayman 27 these funds can be used to continue the programme through December.