The fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic has brought surprising benefits for three young Caymanians, who have seen their careers flourish thanks to changing circumstances, with great prospects ahead working within the automotive industry.
Nineteen-year-old Christopher Scott was working at a watersports company before the pandemic. Faced with the prospect of no employment in the tourism industry for the foreseeable future, he reached out to a former teacher who introduced him to Tony Williams, owner of Tony’s Toys. Mr Williams decided to take a chance on Christopher, who had no experience but a general interest in cars and a willingness to learn more. Now he assists the technicians with oil, brake pad and battery changes and vehicle inspections.
Christopher said he was thankful to Mr Williams for giving him the opportunity.
“Sometimes that is all a person needs. Both this job and my previous one in water sports have given me work experience which I can use in the future, whether or not I end up in those careers,” he said.
Amanda Robinson, 20, graduated from Triple C in June 2018 and was looking forward to completing an associate degree at UCCI before going off to the USA or UK to earn a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management, but the pandemic curtailed her plans to travel. While she pursues an associate degree in Business Administration at UCCI and will also complete her bachelor’s degree in Cayman, she works part-time in accounts at Tony’s Toys. Amanda said she actually preferred working on cars than sitting behind a desk. Since joining Tony’s Toys, she has learned to change oil, check transmission and other fluids and perfected the art of changing tires. She is also finding out more about how to service and repair brakes.
“I never thought I would say this, but I wouldn’t mind a career in auto mechanics. I can see myself practicing HR in a setting like this but also fixing cars as a hobby here at the garage,” Amanda confirmed. “I would tell any female to take advantage of opportunities to learn more about how her car works, and not to reject the idea of working at a garage if she has the chance.”
Eighteen-year-old tire specialist, Shemar Scott, has been interested in cars since primary school and has wanted to work on them as far back as he can remember. After he graduated from the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre in September, he worked at a supermarket for about two months before applying as a tire specialist at Tony’s Toys.
Now, he also helps technicians service vehicles, and is learning more about bodywork and spraying services. Shemar hopes that in five years he will move on to technician at Tony’s Toys, once qualified.
Mr Williams said he was always looking for opportunities to help young Caymanians get their foot in the door of the automotive industry.
“Most of the time they do not come to us with any experience but that is not, and should not be, the most important thing, in my opinion. They have to start somewhere, like we all did, no matter what business it is,” said Tony Williams. “Chris, Amanda and Shemar have shown me a desire to learn and a solid work ethic. I can work with that and I feel fortunate that the pandemic brought these three young people to us.”
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