School leavers may be set with some dismal prospects upon graduation as their unemployment rate is twice the national average.
Education and Youth Minister, Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, said in an interview with Cayman 27, government was working to ensure the current level does not increase and and in fact it has been going down as seen by the statistics.
The national unemployment rate for Caymanians is 7.3 percent. But for Caymanians between the ages of 15 and 24, it’s nearly double that rate.
“Our position in government is to ensure that that level never increases, that the unemployment is going down, which you will see in the statistics,” said Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly, who holds the portfolio for Education and Youth.
“Obviously, there is more work to be done to ensure that every Caymanian who is qualified and that qualification shifts across the various social stratification, gets a job.”
She said one thing that needs to be done is to re-examine immigration policies.
She said her colleague responsible for labour has already announced a restructure of the HR/Immigration section.
“It’s the duty of the Immigration Board to ensure that where there is a willing and able Caymanian, they get those jobs. As we work together holistically as a government, the minister responsible for labour is diligently working to ensure that we create the opportunities.”
Having said that, she acknowledged the role of ex-pats in developing the society. She said she is working to prepare young Caymanians for work through improving education.
“There is a bit of a lacuna situation, where the Caymanians need work. But we have to educate them first. It’s like a chicken and egg situation.”
Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly says education, labour and the rest of government is working holistically to create employment opportunities that are easily accessible, with long term prospects and with upward mobility.