One West Bay auto repair centre told Cayman 27 that skilled mechanics are harder to find than ever.
Andy’s Auto said with a scarcity of available qualified Caymanians in the field, it’s often forced to look overseas to fill vacancies, but lately, even that can be a challenge.
“It’s pretty easy to find somebody that says they’re a mechanic, you know, I am a mechanic too,” said Andy’s Auto service manager Gerald Parsons.
Mr. G. Parsons told Cayman 27 the nature of the industry is changing, and today’s mechanics need to be able to do more than just change oil and rotate tyres.
“All of the vehicles that are made for 2019 are highly electronic, and each individual system of the vehicle is computerized so it does take somebody that can actually go at that with the electronic scanner,” said Mr. G. Parsons.
“I would love to have the local guys work because they’re here already and you don’t have to pay for a permit,” said Andy’s Auto owner Bennie Parsons.
Owner Bennie Parsons said there’s a scarcity of qualified Caymanian mechanics, but that’s not to say they are non-existent.
“Any good mechanic that you can find on the island is a guy like myself that has his own business already, you can’t hire him,” said Mr. B. Parsons.
“We’ve tried a few [Caymanians] that are general mechanics in years gone by, and they just, they came and they left,” said Mr. G. Parsons.
Mr. G. Parsons said the paucity of skilled local workers drives the company to look far and wide for help.
“We’ve had to kind of reach out mostly to Jamaica and I’d say within the last 10 years we’ve been reaching out to the Philippines.
But now, he said recruiting in the Philippines presents an additional hurdle due to some licensing changes.
“You have to now, by law, have a license with the Philippines government and it is an exorbitant fee and then you go from there, once you get the license then you place your ads,” said Mr. G. Parsons.
While trade schools continue to be a perennial topic here in Cayman, both Mr. Parsons will keep their eyes out near and far for a suitable candidate.
“Unless they’re skilled mechanics, who wants them to work on their car? Nobody,” said Mr. B. Parsons.
According to the most recent Compendium of Statistics from the Economics and Statistics Office shows that in 2017, there were eight persons enrolled in UCCI’s tertiary IMA auto mechanic certificate programme.