By Christopher Tobutt
More than 100 UCCI students who found the resolve despite the covid-19 hiatus, to step up to the plate and better themselves by taking one of the UCCI’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses, gathered in the Sir Vassel Johnson Hall to celebrate their achievement.
One of them, Walter Zelaya gained his Electrical Licensing Preparation certificate, during the covid time. “The course it was very helpful and informative. It is normally 17 weeks but because of covid it was a little bit shorter and more intense. It was a good mixture between theory and practice. I have actually been doing electrical work since 1996 so I already have quite a lot of experience. But there were quite a lot of people on the course who were new to that area, and they learned a lot.”
Other courses being offered include QuickBooks, Plumbing, Air Conditioning, Customer Service, Food Preparation, Electrical Installations, and Computer Applications, making sure that Cayman’s workforce is retooled, reskilled and upskilled to face an uncertain post-covid world. Everyone at the UCCI pulled together to make this grand achievement possible, and during her speech UCCI President and CEO, Dr. Stacy McAfee thanked the dedicated faculty members for working through their summer break time to help the students reach their goal.
The R3 Cayman Foundation stepped right in too, as they have done all over the Cayman Islands at this time of crisis, by donating cash payments to the UCCI to help the struggling students with associated expenses during such an awkward time for studying. Chairman of the R3 Cayman Recovery Committee, Joannah Bodden Small explained, “It was very clear from the early stage of the pandemic that upscaling and rescaling in the Cayman Islands was going to be huge…certain jobs were lost, but opportunities existed in other areas. We donated 30,000 KYD to the UCCI to help the Fall learners complete their courses.” The Foundation then went the extra mile by donating more than 50,000 dollars, too.
Acting Director of TVET, Mr. Fenslie Smith praised R3 Cayman for stepping in just when they were so badly needed, “Ms Bodden Small outlined to us the vision of R3 Cayman, which developed into a partnership with UCCI and R3 Cayman,” he explained.
UCCI’s interim VP and Provost, Dr. Mosely Machette said, “I applaud you, all of you who are working adults all of you who have had challenges in your life and that is why I am so proud of you. That first step is what we are celebrating tonight but that first step has to be followed by another step and another step until you reach your final goal. The beautiful thing about this programme is that it is built on what we call ‘stackable credentials.’ You can take that next step if you need to, and we will be here, ready to help you with your journey.”