By Christopher Tobutt
Passport2Success helps young Caymanians improve their skills and succeed in the work place. It is a government-funded 12 week program. Recently 12 participants representing the 26th Cohort, who had successfully completed the program graduated, at George Town Yacht Club. The event was extra-special, too, because program participants had helped put the graduation ceremony together. Both of the MC’s for the ceremony, Nikeisha Conolly and Jahsira Myles, had themselves just completed the program.
Nobody needs either qualifications or work experience to take part in the program, which has been taking place on the University College of the Cayman Islands Campus. All you need is the right attitude, and to be the best you can be.
Graduates Roseanna Redden, Jahsira Myles, Nickeisha Conolly, Tishay Thomas, Raeven Goul,d Shantel McLean, Ellice Martin, Joshua Solis, Mya Bennett, Jamal Bodden, Jai Dixon-Mckenzie, and Dagon Taffe-ebanks each received Certificates of Participation which were presented by MLA Austin Harris and Chief Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs Wesley Howell.
In addition Catherine Tyson and Carmella Pugh, course trainers, introduced the certificates and awards for the students who had excelled in a particular area. The award for the most improved student went to Roseanna Redden, “Most improved means that from the day they walked in, until the end of the program, all we’ve seen is a flower continuing to open,” Ms Tyso explained.
Award for Most Consistent Participant Ellice Martin “always showing up and doing exactly what needed to be done. We are so proud of you,” Award for Rising Star went to Joshua Solis, and the award for Participant of Meritorius Growth went to Nickeisha Conolly Top Male Participant award went to Dagon Taffe-Ebanks, and the Top Female Participant award went to Jahsira Myles.
During the event there were presentations from participants as well as staff members, and a slide show of all the activities that the cohort had been involved in since joining the program.
Dagon Taffe-Ebanks, one of the graduates who completed the course said, “The course showed us all, myself included, how to present ourselves more professionally,” he said. “I just feel I am more confident and more professional.”
Mr. Taffe-Ebanks said he had managed to gain employment because of the program, and has been offered a job at a local restaurant. One of the highlights of the program, “out of many,” he said, was when the whole of the cohort went on a trip to the Botanical Gardens. “I felt it just brought us all closer together as well as opening all of us up and getting us out of our shells.”
Mr. Taffe-Ebanks said that he would definitely recommend the program to other young people. “Everyone’s going to gain something if they decide to do this program,” he said.
Ellice Martin, 20, another successful graduate said that the course had benefitted her, too: “I liked how they could offer many great opportunities to help us build a structure for our future. I also liked learning about my peers and learning what they had gone through in order to get here. I really liked the activities we did as well. It made us get closer with each other.
During her presentation, Nikeisha Conolly said: “At the beginning of the programme I was a whole different person. I used to sit in class, make jokes shout across the class and be very talkative. When Miss Cathy would talk to me I would get irritated very quickly. The program has showed me that I shouldn’t take my life as a joke, and be wasting my time while I am so young. So I told myself: ‘OK Nikeisha time to buckle up and set your head straight on your body.’ So I started turning up on time, completing my work on time, and I started to have the right attitude towards the whole program.
I can say the program has changed me and has changed my attitude to other things.”