By Lindsey Turnbull
UCCI’s Sir Vassell Johnson Hall welcomed hundreds of school and university students last Friday for the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Careers, Education & Training Expo, with banks, law and accounting firms, hotels and resorts, government departments, colleges and more all reaching out to students to give them an idea of the jobs they had on offer.
Marie Pride, Lending and Development Officer with the HR Department at Appleby, said it was a great opportunity to give young people a better grasp on what they needed to do in order to work for a company such as Appleby.
“The students are all figuring out what they want to do, so something like this is really helpful for them to come in and ask questions about the scholarships that we have available and to find out more about the potential routes into this. They can find out about the process involved and it just gives them that knowledge that they need to make more informed choices,” she advised. “We’ve seen young students from high school who are doing their options, some people are just starting their Associates, some are coming to the end of their Associates; it’s a cover-all for everyone really.”
Butterfield’s Kaylie Wright, Recruitment Specialist also said that it was great to meet all the students and hear of their career aspirations and see how Butterfield could support anyone interested in a career in financial services.
Jitu Rathore, Front Desk manager at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman said that students coming to chat with him and the Ritz-Carlton team where generally interested in the culinary side of careers at the resort.
“When we talk to the students we find that most who pass by who are not interested in hospitality don’t realise that hospitality is not limited to culinary or the front desk, but there are a lot of other options, such as sales and marketing, golf and working on the Ambassadors of the Environment programme,” he advised. “So, there are a lot of other departments that they aren’t aware of. When we talk to them, they get more interested. We are offering them internships and also job openings that we have available. It helps them as well as us to find the right talent. It helps them to explore more and get to know more about what we are about.”
Two Clifton Hunter High School students already had a clear idea of where their career path ought to take them: Allenger McLaughlin Junior, a 13, said he was looking around at the different careers to see what this career fair was offering, but that he had been interested in pursuing a career in corporate law since he was little, while Stafford Hunter III, 14, said that he was interested in accounting and was studying courses that would help him onto that career path.
Tunisia Barnes, Training and Development Coordinator with the Department of Tourism, said she and the rest of the DOT team were there to try and entice young people into her field of expertise.
“We are trying to plant a seed with regard to different jobs in the tourism industry because tourism is a multi-million-dollar industry. Last year we brought in over half a billion dollars from the industry, so we are trying to get as many young persons as possible to consider a career in the hospitality industry,” she said.
Matthew Elphinstone, 21, is still completing his university education studying mechanical engineering however he has already completed two internships with Neuralstudio.ai at Cayman Enterprise City and looks forward to working there full-time. Matthew’s idea to use a vision recognition system that could be used as a lionfish smart trap netted him a position with the company once he finishes his studies. Acting as an ambassador for Cayman Enterprise City, Matthew said most of the students he had spoken to so far were asking about the specific field they were interested in and whether Cayman Enterprise City had such a business.
“Most of the time it’s a yes, because we have so many opportunities. It’s just about looking at Cayman Enterprise City online and seeing what we do,” he advised.
For its part, the Chamber of Commerce said it was committed to education and development in the local community, especially for the younger generations who will go on to become the leaders of tomorrow.