National Community Enhancement (NiCE) programme co-ordinator Levi Allen says the programme was designed as a temporary measure to give Caymanians who needed it the tools to join the world of work.
He was responding to calls from NiCE employees for the programme to be made permanent.
He said while NiCE will not be permanent, it has helped some employees go on to find long-term work.
Carol Ann Scott is one of them. She has been hailed as one of the success stories under the NiCE programme.
She said her secret was to, “Show your experience. Work hard. No time for loafing. And you make the best of it and then you climb to full employment.”
After three years on the NiCE programme, Ms. Scott secured a permanent job at the Department of Public Works, one that she starts on Monday (3 September.) She said landing the job was one of the best things that happened to her.
“I felt great. I was unemployed for many years.”
Mr. Allen said Ms. Scott is just one example of the how the programme takes the unemployable and turns them into skilled workers.
“The best way to get work is to be working. It gives them that opportunity to have current work experience. It gives them the opportunity to sharpen their skills in certain types of work, in general, maintenance activity etc,” he said.
For the first time, participants of the programme can have recommendations prepared for them for future employers.
“We’ll be able to provide them with a written reference, which will outline how they perform during the project. What there work ethic was like. What their timekeeping was like. What their skillsets were like,” said Mr. Allen.
He also said the programme will be extended to include an extra week at Christmas, bringing the total number of weeks to three for the Christmas cohort.