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UCCI launching a ground-breaking project for Caymanians

Local News 09 May, 2022 Follow News

UCCI launching a ground-breaking project for Caymanians

By Lindsey Turnbull


Following the receipt of a grant to help unemployed Caymanians train in the much-needed area of sustainability, the UCCI speaks with Caymanian Times publisher Ralph Lewis about what opportunities this creates for young Caymanians.

The UCCI has just received the first tranche of a grant totalling €432,000 (CI$405,000) from the EU’s RESEMBID Programme to help train 50 unemployed students in trades that are sustainable (both environmentally and economically). RESEMBID, funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France - the development cooperation agency of the Government of France, supports sustainable human development efforts in 12 Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) - Aruba, Anguilla, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Maarten and Turks and Caicos.

The UCCI’s Cleveland Julien, Project Officer, Profession & Technical Education & Training, and Paul Puckerin, Dean of the Professional and Technical Education and Training Division, are spearheading this exciting new project which, it is anticipated, will give the 50 Caymanians the chance to take their first steps onto a prosperous and rewarding career within the realms of sustainable energy.


Perfect timing

Cayman’s involvement with the project began in 2019, Mr Puckerin explained, when the idea was first circulated. After Covid and the subsequent surge in unemployment due to tourism reaching a standstill, the invite for Cayman to present a project on resilience to the RESEMBID programme could not have come at a better time.

In November 2021 they received the unofficial confirmation that the project was approved which was then officially signed off in February this year. The intention is to begin training in May, in four broad areas: renewable energy, sustainable construction, ICT, and tourism management.

Mr Julian said there was ample choice when it came to choosing the 50 students so they did not anticipate a challenge. Their goal was to find the students and then ensure that, once they had undertaken the training, the young people could move to placement.

“The goal is to find what partners exist in the marketplace to make that happen,” he advised.

To that end, they are working with WORC to ensure employers are on board so that once students have completed the programme, they are then able to be hired. They are also working with the Chamber of Commerce. A labour market assessment will help them identify not only how the courses should be shaped, but also, most importantly, how to fulfil the needs of government and industry.


Getting up to speed

The UCCI leaders said they had had to work quickly to get up-to-speed, following the receipt of the first tranche of funding.

“We had to hit the ground running over the last couple of weeks. We have contracted a qualified consultant who will lead the process of developing the market assessment,” Mr Julien advised.

Mr Puckerin said that students should understand that gender was not a barrier to entry to any of the courses.

“We want to see females as installers and males getting involved in tourism at the management level. We don’t want to see any gender disparity and we want good unity across the agenda,” he advised.


Collaboration is key

Mr Julien was keen to stress that collaboration made up an essential part of the programme.

“From the very beginning, the motive is collaboration,” he advised. “Students will be learning in an environment where they will interact with all four components of the programme via interactive sessions with guest speakers from Solar, Construction, ICT and Tourism”

He also said that they were going to bring in these industry experts over the year so that the students were able to continually make these connections so they understood what role elements for example their studies in electrical played in the whole conversation of sustainability and its connection with solar.

In addition to the cost of training personnel and the labour market assessment, the grant will pay for tools and equipment, curriculum development, an after-programme assessment, and a graduation ceremony.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Puckerin
Dean, Professional & Technical Education & Training Division
Telephone: 1345-5261834

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