By Christopher Tobutt
Passport2Success does more than bridge the gap between school life and work life. It furnishes young people with the people-skills and the confidence they need to face any situation life throws at them. 2020 was going to be a big, special year for the program, because it marks their tenth anniversary. But 2020 turned out to be a special year all by itself, and the first cohort faced an earthquake and then a lockdown, and yet Passport2Success managed to carry on their program, any way they could sometimes even by Zoom! Thanks to the diligent work and endless dedication of course instructors Catherine Tyson and Carmella Pugh, and all the other people who helped the students of the 8-week programme, cohorts 31 and 32 made it through, to make their joint graduation ceremony a true success, at the Marriott Beach Resort on Friday 18 December.
Jade Seymour, 17, one of the graduates of Cohort 32, said, “I liked it because it made me come out of my comfort zone and not be shy all the time. I learned how to do resumes, how to do interviews and how to be in the professional working world.” In addition, Jade has gained an internship with logistics firm NCI.
Rickhams Zuniga, 18, said, “I enjoyed it because they taught me stuff I never knew before. They taught me how to dress and act professionally in a professional environment. It changed the way I represented myself because I never really cared less on how I might look on entering business or any other kind of organization but now I know that you have to dress purposefully.
Passport2Success can’t do without help from Cayman’s business community, and Laura Johnston from PBS Cayman Business Machines has been supporting the programme by taking on interns since the programme began: “We typically have some of the students come with us for work experience, and we’ve seen plenty of students go a long way over the years. I wanted to support it because Its very important to help young Caymanians help young Caymanians learn their way around an office, and to learn the business acumen and understand what is important, and how to behave in an office atmosphere. We are trying to help them get the business skills they need so when they do go out into the business community to obtain a job they understand what may be expected from them.”
Abigail Turner, one student Cohort 31 and also an intern at PBS Cayman Business Machines said, “I’ve enjoyed the experience of being an intern, and how much it helped me to improve for the future. Claudina Morgan, 19, said “I enjoyed being an intern because I get to help customers. It helped me to gain more confidence because before I was rather a shy person and I didn’t very much like to talk to people.
Sabrina Suberan of Cohort 32 said, “Passport2Success was a very good experience, and I had fun I enjoyed all the lessons and the teachers are so loving. I got the opportunity to do job shadowing, experience the working world and talking and experiencing different things and being able to see how it is.”