Both government and the Chamber of Commerce have hailed the Ready2Work KY initiative as a positive example of how the public and private sectors can work together to address issues relating to employment and the workforce.
Speaking at the opening of the Chamber of Commerce Careers, Education, and Training Expo Friday morning, the business group’s president-elect, Kyle Broadhurst, said the Chamber was pleased to be working with government and other businesses on the initiative.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that all Caymanian and legal residents, who are willing and skilled to work, are given every opportunity to succeed in today’s workplace,” Mr Broadhurst said. “We intend to provide Chamber members with regular updates about the initiative and how they can with its success.”
Christen Suckoo, the Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs, said it is important to recognise that workforce development is something that could not be left for government alone to address.
“It requires a collaborative approach with support from the private sector,” he said, pointing out that the Redy2Work KY programme was just that.
“This programme is an excellent example of that collaborative approach. It will provide short-term access to jobs for jobseekers and provide opportunities for skills development and networking. It offers the perfect opportunity for employers to tackle unemployment, collaborate with government on developing our Caymanian workforce,” Mr Suckoo said.
He added the response so far from employers has been encouraging to the programme that sees government footing the employment costs for worker that companies hire for six months. He did not provide details of how many companies had signed up or how many workers have been placed in jobs to this point.
This was in stark contrast to the war of words earlier in the months between Employment Minister Tara Rivers and Chamber of Commerce representatives over the level of willingness on the part of the business group to work with government on labour related matters.
Meantime, Mr Broadhurst said the Chamber continues to look for ways to improve and has adopted a new three-year plan with a vision for the business grouping going forward. The new vision reads: ‘The Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce will be a catalyst for positive change linking community, business, and government.’
“We realise that we can only achieve positive change by working together in partnership and collaboration,” he said.
As many as 35 exhibitors took part in Friday’s expo that was held at the Sir Vassel Johnson Hall on the campus of the University College of the Cayman Islands.
“This demonstrates their willingness and commitment to connect with the community, their efforts to attract Caymanians and legal residents for employment and career opportunities that exist within their organisations,” Mr Broadhurst said.
“Identifying the right talent today’s competitive business world is a challenging assignment, particularly in an economy that creates more jobs than there are residents to fill them,” he added, pointing out that the expo demonstrates the tangible commitment to students and school leavers about future opportunities.
More than 300 high school students visited the expo that offered employers an opportunity to showcase their education and training opportunities, scholarships, work experience, internships and career opportunities in various fields of employment in the business and public sectors.