Government is expanding the Public Works Department’s vocational apprenticeship programme.
Planning Minister Hon. Joey Hew made the announcement Friday (15 March) at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor’s 4th biennial Property and Construction Conference.
“Caymanians working in construction can earn decent money, and that is especially true of course if those Caymanians have the necessary skills and qualifications,” said Mr. Hew.
He told an audience of property and construction insiders that government is adding capacity to accommodate more young Caymanians into the Public Works Department’s City and Guilds vocational training programme.
“Our plans are to expand the program and to build a brand new facility to serve at least 50 students next year, with training provided in a number of fields including air-conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and carpentry,” said Mr. Hew.
Mr. Hew said as Cayman enjoys a construction boom, it’s important to equip young Caymanians with the skills to reap the economic benefits.
“We have 17 students currently in the cohort, and we saw an opportunity to expand not only the physical plant, as in building a purpose-built training room, but also to bring on the necessary qualified trainers, professional trainers,” said Mr. Hew.
He told Cayman 27 careers in vocational trades can be lucrative and personally fulfilling, and provide alternatives for those who may dread the monotony of an office job.
“It’s an opportunity for persons to go out there and actually enjoy our tropical weather, and build something physically rather than sitting in the office pushing paper or looking at a computer all day, to go out there and be physically involved in something,” said Mr. Hew.
He said the expanded vocational programme sits alongside other post-secondary training opportunities such as the school of hospitality studies, UCCI nursing programme, and CIFEC’s hairdressing programme and other basic technical programmes; giving young Caymanians more pathways into a wider variety of careers.
Mr. Hew said lawmakers will need to approve additional funding for the project in the next session of the Legislative Assembly.
He said the expansion won’t have to wait for the new building to be complete, he says there will be available space for up to 50 enrollees later this year.