It is hoped that Cayman’s projects in the European Union-funded RESEMBID scheme this year will be the start of a continuing series of projects in sustainable development for the jurisdiction.
RESEMBID is the EU’s Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme programme for the Caribbean Overseas Territories, and Cayman has successfully secured funding for three projects.
One of those was submitted by University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) which received a grant of CI$ 405,000 for training in renewable energy and sustainable development.
50 unemployed Caymanians will participate in the year-long training scheme with training in defined areas starting in July.
Already interest among potential participants has exceeded the number of places available on the UCCI programme.
Funding of a further CI$ 400,000 was also awarded to the Cayman-based Central Caribbean Marine Institute for two projects dealing protecting with the marine environment.
This is a significant development for the Cayman Islands and could lead to further support under the RESEMBID scheme based on the successful implementation of these projects over the next year.
For the UCCI schemes, Paul Puckerin, Interim Dean of the Professional and Technical Education and Training Division, along with Project Officer, Cleveland Julien were guests on Cayman Conversations with Ralph Lewis giving an optimistic outlook for their project.
“We have been working to get different moving parts going on for the first phase. What we are doing is sensitising persons about the project to get into partners on board, doing the labour market assessment to understand not only what we are going to train, but what are the needs for the future,” he explained.
It is that expectation of the future that is driving the targeted training and hoped-for continued funding.
The Cayman Islands Islands Government (CIG) is said to be already in the process of making funding requests to the RESEMBID scheme for projects in keeping with its sustainability and climate resilience mandate.
It is hoped that the success of the schemes now getting underway will strengthen Cayman’s case for continuing support.
The UCCU training scheme under the RESEMBID programme is bringing stakeholders across government and the private sector on board, including the Chamber of Commerce and WORC (Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman).
“We don’t want our participants to walk away with just a certificate of completion, but we want them to walk with an international benchmark qualification that they can take to any employer and that’s recognisable throughout Cayman,” Mr Puckerin said.
One aspect of the scheme entails training in solar technology leading to the practical application of installing solar panels at UCCI as one of the objectives.
Additionally, participants can also take up training in sustainable construction, information and communications technology (ICT), or tourism.
“We want ti to ensure that they are not only going to complete the course but that they stay the course,” Mr Puckerin added.
The RESEMBID project comes at a critical time for Cayman says Project Officer Cleveland Julien who feels that the jurisdiction still has some catching up to do in reaching targets of sustainability.
“To be quite honest, we are a little bit behind. The time was right 10 years ago and so right now it’s really a sense of urgency” he observed.
“This is a conversation for every Caymanian to be involved in, whether you’re in this programme or not.”
The Cayman Islands government has placed sustainability and climate resiliency among its priorities and the jurisdiction’s involvement in the RESEMBID scheme is expected to add considerable momentum toward achieving that objective.
The full Cayman Conversations interview with Paul Puckerin, Interim Dean of the Professional and Technical Education and Training Division, and Project Officer, Cleveland Julien about UCCI’s RESEMBID projects is available on the Caymanian Times Facebook page and YouTube channel.