In a major milestone for the Public Works Department, five apprentices recently received their internationally recognised City and Guilds of London certification.
The Department’s remarkable construction industry training programme is run jointly as a partnership with the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre and is solidly supported by private sector partners.
Three of the apprentices in the entry level certification programme achieved proficiency level and are now enrolled in Level 2 of the training programme. Meanwhile the other two, after receiving foundation level certification, have both received job offers from the private sector.
Termed “world class” by a global technical education expert, the training scheme is poised for further growth and received funding in the recent government budget to train 30 young persons by next year.
As a result of the expansion of the scheme, PWD is also on track to becoming an accredited training facility that will be able to assess trainees for City and Guilds certification.
In addition, 19 mentors - all technical personnel from PWD and local construction firms Arch and Godfrey, DECCO and McAlpine - underwent City and Guilds training in competency assessment last week to support their mentoring role. Whilst they received certificates of participation in the training at the event at the PWD compound on Friday, 24 November 2017, they all sat their certificate test on Friday morning and now await the results of this City and Guilds Level 3 Unit certification.
At the event, Government officials led by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson, Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew and Chief Officer Mr. Alan Jones, lauded the participants, encouraged them to further their accomplishments and also thanked the private sector for coming on board.
The Deputy Governor advised the students to “think big” and said that all in the programme genuinely cared that, as young Caymanians, they succeed in the construction trade.
“All Caymanians ask for is an opportunity,” he reiterated and urged the apprentices to give their best to their further training, both theoretical and practical.
Commending PWD for its pro-active approach in moving ahead with the pilot project, Minister Hew wholeheartedly supported it and looked forward to Caymanian construction workers certified to internationally recognised standards.
He said the programme would help build a solid foundation for industrial prosperity, on which Government has placed an emphasis. The Minister added that young people would reap the benefits of vocational education, guidance and sustainable growth.
Lauding the mentors and all the PWD staff involved in the programme, Mr. Hew noted, “This is a major step forward for the construction industry in Cayman. As the programme expands, it has the potential to equip Caymanians with experience and qualifications that are much in demand, thereby ensuring quality trades and job security for Caymanians.”
Professor Gossett Oliver, a well-respected Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute of London with global experience in mentoring and assessment, termed the CI apprenticeship programme at the “cutting edge in the world”.
“This is the best programme because the apprenticeship system dovetails with the world of work and college,” he commented. The nearest comparisons to the CI programme, he observed, are in Finland and, within the region, Barbados.
Providing an outline of the programme (separate release), PWD Director, Mr. Max Jones, emphasised that the merit of the training was that it provided a direct link to securing jobs for successful apprentices in the industry.
He said he was immensely proud of the work put in by the department’s employees to support the development of the apprenticeship programme. A total of 15 PWD technicians have served as mentors and are seeking certification as City and Guilds assessors.
Manager of the programme at PWD, Mr. Levi Allen told the apprentices that their certification is the passport with which they can successfully traverse the construction industry and the currency with which they could access lucrative jobs, where they could perform at standards approved by the industry. He also drew attention to the construction industry’s buy-in to the programme.
The five apprentices gaining certification also received gift vouchers. Earning Apprentice of the Year was Mr. Rico Bodden, who earned top level certification in air-conditioning and carpentry. He and Level 1 apprentice Mr. Zeb Bush spoke on behalf of their fellows while Mr. Pedro Triana spoke on behalf of the mentors.