PWD Apprenticeship Graduation
Graduates from the Public Works Department’s Construction Apprenticeship Programme were honoured in a passing out ceremony held at the Department of Agriculture, next to the Post-Harvest Building, which the graduates had themselves helped to build.
Seven students received the City and Guilds of London Level 2 IVQ Technician Certification in Construction, while several other trainees celebrated attaining the Level 1 award. The qualifications are internationally recognised.
The PWD Construction Apprenticeship Programme runs in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre who provides a large portion of the trainees enrolled (others are recruited from the general public) and is supported by private sector partners. The scheme has been labelled “world class” by a global technical, vocational, education and training (TVET) expert.
In spite of the rain, a packed audience turned out to recognise and celebrate the students’ achievements. High-profile guests at the ceremony included Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson, MBE; Minister for Commerce Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew; Minister for Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands, Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, JP; Acting Minister, Hon. Barbara Conolly; Acting Chief Officer for the Ministry of CPI, Leyda Nicholson-Makasare; Director of Public Works, Max Jones and Acting Senior Manager, Organisational Development and Operational Support for PWD, Levi Allen.
The audience was also made up of family and friends of the graduates along with mentors from the Public Works Department.
Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson, MBE revealed he had learned, early in his career, the skills needed to fix a cabinet. The audience laughed when he admitted they consistently came in useful, no matter where his career had since led.
Public Works Director Max Jones looked to the future of the programme in his address. He thanked Minister Hew for advocating on behalf of the training scheme, in order that Government’s full support and financial backing could be secured, to develop the course further. Additional funding will double the programme’s capacity, covering both operational costs and those required to expand the facility to include a dedicated training building, which will be able to deliver up to 50 trainees per year.
Hon. Joey Hew said Government was doing everything possible “to ensure that we promote sustainable and responsible development for the future.”
He added he was confident “our graduates will take their rightful place in the future of this important industry,” which he stressed was in “safe, Caymanian hands.”
The programme was launched in 2016. It developed out of a need flagged by PWD to fill key technical roles locally because of a lack of required practical skills and technical knowhow to carry out work in the construction industry at the requisite standard. Realising the taking on of individual apprentices was too small an approach to meet industry demands, the Department partnered with CIFEC, before eventually opening up to students not enrolled in any institution.
CIFEC Director Delores Thompson stressed it had been important to listen to the community when they were informed students needed more skills as they entered the world of work. She also emphasised the importance of the theory and academic components of the course.
The Apprentice of the Year went to 17 year old graduating student Zeb Bush. He said he was proud of their work constructing the Post-Harvest Building as it meant they had “done something for the country.”
Fellow graduate Chris Fennell revealed he had joined the programme because he “saw the potential. I have good faith it will put me in a good place because I have always loved the field of construction.”
The students graduating with the Level 2 award were: Rico Bodden, Danai Pusey, D’Andre Bodden, Naethiun Chambers, Jaydun Ebanks, Christopher Fennell and Zeb Bush.
The graduation ceremony took place on Wednesday, 29 May 2019.
For further information contact: Caroline James