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20 Graduate from Passport2Success

20 Graduate from Passport2Success

The most recent graduates from the Passport2Success programme were joined by family and friends at their commencement ceremony on Friday, 4th December 2015.

Now in its fifth year, more than 300 young Caymanians have taken advantage of this programme which offers practical hands-on training in occupational, personal and job-specific skills.

Passport2Success provides education, training and employment opportunities to school leavers, and targeted groups such as single mothers. A Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs initiative, it falls under the remit of the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) and is delivered by The Wellness Centre.

Twenty members of the programme’s 18th cohort received certificates from Councillor Winston Connolly of the Ministry of Education at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.

Mr. Connolly urged the participants to take the lessons they had learned from Passport2Success and apply them to their future careers.

“When you get a job, I am sure you will agree that your approach to this job will be different because of this programme,” he said. “Stay strong, be committed, stay on this path and never give up.”

Mr. Connolly offered his congratulations to graduates who had obtained employment or continued internships and thanked everyone in the community who provided these opportunities. Although the Passport2Success participants are aged between 17 and 23, Mr. Connolly said it was never too late to go back to school to further their education, pointing out that in some cases government could assist through the scholarship programme.

Mr. Connolly also recognised the sponsors for their continued contribution, ensuring the programme’s success. Butterfield Bank opens savings accounts for each of the participants; Webster’s Tours generously provides transportation for participants to attend classes and for group excursions during the programme; and Kirk Freeport provides gift bags for the special awards at every graduation ceremony.

Graduates also spoke about their experiences during the Passport2Success programme. Jessica Ebanks, in her reflection, remembered the first day she entered the room. “I was timid because this was my third cohort…It has been a very difficult and defining journey for me…attending the Passport2Success programme is the greatest opportunity that any young, dedicated Caymanian can possibly undertake,” she said.

Yeymi Mann-Pena, in her reflection, noted that she found the programme very beneficial as it prepared them for the working world and helped them better their skills. She left her fellow graduates with the following quote: “Remember, in order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”

Shannon Seymour, director of The Wellness Centre, remarked that Passport2Success continues to be a programme which inspires young people to take responsibility for their own success.

“This is perhaps its greatest outcome,” she said. “It is a pleasure to witness first-hand the personal growth and development that takes place during the programme and to be able to see alumni, years later, working and making a positive contribution to our communities.”

To date, around 83 per cent of participants complete the programme, with approximately 29 per cent having already secured employment by graduation, and 57 per cent within a year of graduation.

Dianne Conolly, NWDA Manager, Training and Development, commented on the increase in participants accessing the opportunities offered through Passport2Success and taking advantage of this bridge to higher education and technical training.

“In 2014, the decision was made to move the programme to the University College of the Cayman Islands to provide an environment that would encourage participants to access higher education and training that the UCCI campus environment provides.” she said. ”We are pleased to see that this exposure has had such a positive experience for our Passport2Success participants. Three of the graduates have been attending UCCI and will continue fulltime in January. We are also excited that one participant is heading off to McFatter Technology College in Fort Lauderdale to study culinary arts.”

The 19th cohort of Passport2Success, this time aimed at single mothers, started on Monday, 4th January and will run for 16 weeks.

For more information on the Passport2Success programme visit www.passport2success.ky or contact Dianne Conolly at nwda.training@gov.ky or 945-3114.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks