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Minister for Employment Hon. Tara Rivers, Passport2Success Coordinator and Director of The Wellness Centre Mrs. Shannon Seymour, NWDA Manager of Training and Development Ms. Dianne Connolly, and Passport2Success Instructor Mr. Hylton Grace with the graduates of Passport2Success Cohort 16.

Published 15th May 2015, 3:0pm

The Passport2Success programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs. This programme falls under the remit of the National Workforce Development Agency’s (NWDA) Training and Development Unit and is managed and delivered by The Wellness Centre. All participants for the Passport2Success programme are registered with the NWDA which provides them access to a dedicated Employment Services Officer, the Job Link Programme and other training and development opportunities offered through the NWDA.

Now in its fifth year, Passport2Success has prepared over 355 young Caymanians to enter the work force with professional-level competencies and renewed confidence. To address the low numbers of Passport2Success graduates who access higher education and training opportunities, a decision was made by the Ministry to move the programme to the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) campus in September 2014 to provide better access to the college preparation transitional programme offered at UCCI. Whilst the main goal of the programme continues to be developing work skills, this move was made to instil a desire for lifelong learning.

Passport2Success Cohort 16 started on January 5th, 2015 and consisted of unemployed single Caymanian mothers, 16 of whom completed the programme and were recognised at a graduation celebration held on May 1st, 2015 at the Marriot Resort.

The programme provided opportunities for mentorship, community awareness and employment skills development. The community’s commitment to Passport2Success was overwhelming and the women enjoyed guest speakers from a wide range of organisations, covering a diverse set of relevant topics. Childcare, relationships, nutrition, parenting, legal aid, HIV prevention, cervical cancer, self-care, and financial decision-making are just a few of the topics presented.

Sponsors Webster’s Tours provided free transportation for the participants and Butterfield Bank assisted with paying the participants their stipends each week.

Additional training opportunities were provided by the Department of Tourism with the participants taking part in their PRIDE and Know Your Cayman Islands programmes. The participants also took part in Darkness2Light training which teaches the five steps to protecting children from child sexual abuse and the Positive Discipline Parenting training. Both of these training sessions were provided by The Wellness Centre as part of the Passport2Success curriculum.

The programme also highlighted opportunities for community services. The participants of Passport2Success Cohort 16 identified three opportunities for service: the Cayman Aids Foundation Fundraising Drive, George Town Primary School’s afterschool programme and St. George’s Preschool. Two site visits were also organised for the participants to the Ritz Carlton and Cayman Airways to give them an inside view into the tourism and aviation industries.

Internship Placements were offered to the participants by the following companies.

  1. Cayman Airways
  2. The Courts – Judicial Administration
  3. Fosters Food Fair
  4. Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital
  5. Health Services Authority
  6. Eclipse Hair and Nail Design
  7. The Marriot Resort
  8. DHL
  9. Ritz Carlton
  10. CUC
  11. Kirk Freeport

As a result of participating in the Programme, five (5) of the graduates have secured employment already, one (1) has continued her internship, and two (2) are pursing further education at UCCI, with one beginning the Nursing Programme in September and the other continuing her Bachelor of Science.

Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister for Employment was on hand to give remarks and hand out certificates. In her speech, she congratulated the graduates saying, “Each of you has proven your commitment to the programme, proven your commitment to your personal development and proven that you can achieve success. You deserve this honour of being a Passport2Success graduate.”

Minister Rivers also spoke to the importance of the public/private partnership that has made Passport2Success the success that it is. She said, “Over the past 16 cohorts, we have had many public and private sector businesses support Passport2Success by providing workshops, internships, job-shadowing placements and site visits. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This programme would not be the success it is today without the support of the business community, ensuring that the participants gain the real life knowledge they need to enter the workforce.”

Another key aspect of Passport2Success is tracking the graduates 12 months after they completed the programme to see how they are doing. The 12th month reunion for Cohort 13 which was also for single Caymanian mothers was held on May 4th, 2015. Passport2Success Programme Coordinator and Director of The Wellness Centre Mrs. Shannon Seymour was delighted to hear of the success of this cohort. She said, “I am excited to report that 68% of the graduates (13/19) are employed at present. A positive pattern is emerging; of the 3 single mothers cohorts that have reached their 12-month reunion, 64%-68% of the participants of these cohorts have obtained employment by that time. I believe that while the needs of these cohorts are uniquely significant, the programme appears to yield consistently positive outcomes for this group.”

Cohort 17 began on April 27th, 2015 with 22 young Caymanians between the ages of 17 and 21. Minister Rivers has visited this group to wish them well on their journey and to encourage them to work hard and make the most of the Passport2Success Programme.

In response to the popularity of the programme and in response to the unemployment concerns of young persons aged 15-24 as evidenced in the 2014 Labour Force Survey, the Minister has made a policy decision to extend the upper age limit to 22 years old, with a case-by-case approach to be taken by the facilitators for those persons aged 23-25 whom have been recommended by the NWDA to be a part of the programme. Minister Rivers said, “The purpose of these training and employment programmes must be to respond to the needs of the community as presented. As Minister, my aim is to not only continue to build on the success of the Passport2Success programme thus far, but to also expand its reach as appropriate in order to better meet the needs of this critically important population – our young people.”

As there is a significant developmental span between persons ages 17 to 25, appropriate considerations have to be taken into account when selecting participants for the youth cohorts. In making final selections The Wellness Centre endeavours to balance each youth cohort with respect to age, district and gender.

Those wishing to apply for Cohort 18 which will be geared towards young Caymanians between the ages of 17-22 and starts in September 2015 should visit www.passport2success.ky or contact the NWDA at nwda.training@gov.ky or 945-3114.