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Students embrace Careers Fair

Front Pages 26 Feb, 2024 Follow News

Ms Tania Johnson, Careers Advisor from CIFEC and students Saralee Leslie, Zoe Welds, Ester Walton, Jerrin Reynolds-Velasquez and Jamie-Dean Stewart

Chef Elardo, Nordia Prout Director School of Hospitality, UCCI and UCCI student Marshay Malcolm

Dart had a lively booth

Head Girl Janelle Smith speaks with CCMI’s Robin Larkin, Project Manager

New recruits for the Cadet Corps

Stuart Wilson, Historic Programmes Manager with the National Trust talked about the great work the Trust was doing

Students get an interactive experience

Students who stopped by the DOA received a plant

The Department of Agriculture chat with students

The Ritz-Carlton’s HR Coordinator Ian Taylor and students

Walkers staff were kept busy with curious students

By Lindsey Turnbull

John Gray High School’s annual Careers Fair drew a large proportion of students to its doors last Friday as students from years 9, 10 and 11 chatted with representatives from a wide cross section of businesses in Cayman about careers available to them.

Tania Johnson, Career Advisor with Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC), was very pleased with the support from the private sector and government departments.

“Fortunately, we have had more businesses participate than we expected, around 60 booths this year from both the private sector and government. We really appreciate and thank people for coming here. The purpose is to expose all the young people to all the different options available to them,” she advised.

Ms Johnson was particularly grateful to the Department of Home Affairs who had sent representatives from the Regiment, Cadet Corps and emergency services.

She said the event was so important for students.

“The young people get to learn about the requirements for working in that particular company, what are the expectations, the educational requirements needed, so they can make educated choices about what they’d like to do after high school,” she advised.

Janelle Smith, 15, Head Girl at John Gray High School, hopes for a career in marine science and is starting off with CXCs in science and maths subjects, as well as Spanish, after which she hopes to study A levels on island and then pursue a degree in the UK or the US.

 Janelle believed that students greatly benefitted from the Careers Fair.

“They get to see the options that are out there,” she said. “Sometimes they might think they have all the information on the field in which they want to go, but they get to learn something new that would benefit them. Or, it might be that it’s not a career that they had considered before and then they go to a stand and they see that they are actually interested in that. For example, law firms have people working in environmental management and that’s not something I knew before. So, they can see their options as to where they could possibly be employed in the future and what they would need to do get into that career or get that job, and, they can find out about scholarships.” 

Robyn Larkin, Project Manager at CCMI said they were there to educate students about how they could further their learning about the ocean and coral reefs.

“I have had some really engaging interactions with a couple of students who are very eager to talk about the environment. They want to learn how to dive and we offer programmes that are fully funded through sponsors and scholarships where we can provide that opportunity and help these students really achieve their dreams and get them trained up so they can enjoy the ocean and hopefully get a career in this field,” she advised.

Nadia Prout, Director of the School of Hospitality at UCCI, explained that UCCI was at the fair to promote its School of Hospitality Programme.

“The programme is for one year and is free for Caymanians, fully funded through the Department of Tourism by the Ministry of Tourism,” she explained. “Students enrolled in the programme do introductory courses in the first semester, in the second they do a blend of practical and theory and in the last semester they do internships and placements and we focus more on the practical elements of the course.”

At the end of the course, students get a UCCI certificate in Hospitality and Tourism and they also get an internationally accredited level 2 City & Guilds diploma. The learning pathways on the programme include reception services, watersports, the culinary arts, and food and beverage.

Ms Prout said at the end of their year, if the students have successfully completed the diploma programme, they can go onto a career in hospitality or matriculate to the associate degree programme, a two year programme at UCCI after which, they will have an Applied Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

The Associates Degree creates a broad base for students who can then go on to pursue careers in many different areas, such as the culinary arts and hotel management, she said.

Marshay Malcolm, an Associate’s Degree student at UCCI, hopes to become a hotel manager or upfront within a hotel. She said she undertook the UCCI’s one year programme prior to matriculating to an Associates Degree, which she found instrumental in making her career decisions.

Ian Taylor, HR Coordinator for The Ritz-Carlton, said that working in the hospitality industry was a great career option for students in Cayman, giving them exposure to different cultures and different people which helped them hone their people skills. He also believed there were multiple options for career pathways within the same organisation. He added that each year that he participated in the careers fair he felt students were increasingly more likely to have a better understanding of the wide range of careers available to them within the industry.

“If I had asked any student a few years ago what they thought about a career in hospitality, they would say – hospitality, that’s making beds, that’s cleaning the beach. But then they would miss out on everything! From being in the reservations department to being in HR, and we also have accounting and finance. You name it, we have it – it’s a big house!”

Mr Taylor believed events such as the careers fair definitely helped foster a better understanding among students of the great careers available within the hospitality industry.

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