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CCMI marks 20th anniversary with a special YELC programme for young Caymanians

When it comes to Caymanian unemployment, the numbers are clear. Young Caymanians continue to suffer in the job market and one dive company and a leading research group this year are teaming up to try and get more Caymanians involved in an industry dominated by expatriates, scuba diving. Young environmentalist leadership course (YELC) student Martin Diaz-Pascal makes the best of his opportunity.

“Before I started this programme I didn’t know anything about diving, but afterward it’s like I really do love it, so I am considering it as a career,” said Mr. Diaz-Pascal.

For the past six years, CCMI and GoPro Divers teamed up to teach young people about scuba diving, underwater research, and conservation. GoPro’s Lane Peter said they’re going even bigger.

“We are doing something special and we are actually giving them five specialties and taking them up to their master’s scuba diver this year as well,” said Mr. Peter.

That means young people can work their way up the ladder from never having gone scuba diving to getting their master diver certification, all for free while savings of thousands of dollars.

“So getting it for free it’s a big thing because it isn’t something that you see everywhere else in the world, this is like a once in a lifetime opportunity, said Mr. Diaz-Pascal.

With the unemployment rate for Caymanians 15 to 24 at 16.7 percent, more than twice the overall unemployment rate for Caymanians, it could be a way to get more young people jobs.

“It’s also cool to kinda influence them into maybe a career they might pick out and help Cayman for the better,” said Mr. Peter.

Even if they don’t turn into professional divemasters, it’s aimed to get more people learning about their environment.

“It’s been fantastic, we’ve had such a fun time with these young kids and you know not only are they learning new stuff, I’m learning something new as well and they are such a cool group of people, they’re fun to be around and they’re all really good divers, they all picked it up super super quick,” said Mr. Peter.

The students will be going to Little Cayman sometime in October to finish their course. At best it could turn into jobs for Cayman’s young people, at worst a few new dive buddies to jump in with.

Heres a full listed of this year YELC students:

  • Adrian McLaughlin
  • Ashanti Ramos
  • Ashley Ebanks Agurcia
  • Esecillo Nixon
  • Javahn Syms
  • Martin Diaz-Pasual
  • Martina Burton
  • Ryan Dixon
  • Storm McLean
  • Uton Whittaker

About the author

Seaford Russell jr.

Seaford Russell jr.

Seaford Russell Jr. joined Cayman 27 in the spring of 2018. He started off as a part-time photographer but thanks to his hard-work, dedication and eye for photography, he was offered a full-time position as a reporter trainee. Seaford is committed to bringing the people of Cayman informative and balanced news about what’s happening in the community.

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