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P2S Cohort #15 is eager to start at their new home at UCCI.

I am very excited about the current cohort and the move to UCCI. We’ve always encouraged our graduates to further their studies so with this move we can do so much more to assist them in the process.

Shannon Seymour, Programme Manager & Director, The Wellness Centre

Published 10th September 2014, 2:47pm

Now in its fifth year, the Passport2Success (P2S) Programme, a Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs initiative (MEE&GA), part of the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA), managed and delivered by The Wellness Centre, is moving to a new home. P2S is an employability skills development programme which has been operated from the campus of the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI) for the past four years. At this stage of the programme’s development the Ministry has decided to relocate the programme to the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) effective September 2014.

In tracking the programme results over the past four years, there is qualitative and quantitative evidence that indicates that the success of the programme lies in its ability to assist participants in overcoming barriers and gaining the skills needed to access the labour market. One year after graduation over 50% of graduates secure employment. However, an area of potential growth lies in the number of participants who choose to pursue educational activities after they graduate from the P2S Programme. The data seems to indicate that a small percentage of graduates, approximately 20%, pursue higher education and training opportunities after graduation. Having an education and a qualification is important to most employers and therefore the Ministry wants to ensure that P2S graduates will take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them because this will in turn give them increased access to the labour market.

To address the low numbers of graduates who access higher education and training opportunities, the Ministry, in consultation with The Wellness Centre and the UCCI Administrative Team, has decided to move the programme to the UCCI. The Ministry is confident that the UCCI can provide an environment that facilitates opportunities for P2S graduates to access higher education and training and that the UCCI campus environment will provide the stimulation and motivation needed to encourage P2S graduates to take this next step.

“I am very excited about the current cohort and the move to UCCI. We’ve always encouraged our graduates to further their studies so with this move we can do so much more to assist them in the process. I believe that being housed at UCCI will help to overcome some of the self-doubt our P2S participants have about their ability to succeed in academics. Work skills development continues to be our primary goal, but instilling a desire for lifelong learning goes hand in hand. We would like to thank President Bodden and his staff for the efforts to welcome us” said Shannon Seymour, Director, The Wellness Centre.

As a result of the various courses, programmes and degrees that the UCCI offers, the Ministry has been able to develop synergies between the P2S Programme and the UCCI which will facilitate a seamless transition for participants into higher education. The UCCI offers foundational courses that will provide a bridge to higher education for P2S graduates who have not been successful academically and who are lacking in their high school exam passes. This bridge to higher education is very important to the P2S programme as many of the participants historically have not found academic success, but access to the foundational courses should assist in making the transition to higher education and training a more successful one.

Over the course of the programme the Ministry has found that many P2S participants are interested in professional pursuits in the technical and vocational areas. The UCCI offers a number of technical and vocational programmes at both the certificate and Associate level that P2S graduates can avail themselves of. The UCCI campus is also home to the School of Hospitality Studies which will be able to facilitate training opportunities for P2S graduates interested in careers in the hospitality industry. Delivering the programme on the campus of the UCCI means that P2S participants can engage in the process of building relationships with college faculty, administrators, advisers and students as they explore opportunities to engage in higher education and technical training.

In welcoming the P2S Programme and its Cohort #15, Mr. Roy Bodden, President of UCCI said: “The University College welcomes the P2S cohort and takes pleasure in sharing our campus facilities with such a deserving group of young Caymanians. I speak for the collective when I invite you to avail yourselves of the opportunity to involve yourselves in college life beyond what is required for your programme completion. It is my hope that some of the P2S participants will be so impressed and interested that they register for programmes offered at the University College.”

The UCCI offers day and evening classes and thus is fully operational, which presents the opportunity for P2S participants to sit-in on a college level class and participate in a higher education environment. “The opportunity for P2S participants to engage in activities, assemblies, guest lectures, clubs and associations on the UCCI campus, will further serve to encourage them to continue on in higher education after graduating from P2S,” said Dianne Conolly, NWDA Training and Development Manager. “We are also hopeful that the exposure to other college students will serve as a positive experience for P2S participants and that this will provide them with the opportunity to find role models among their contemporaries on campus who are engaged in daytime studies.”

Ms. Conolly continued, “Furthermore, our hope is that this experience will motivate P2S graduates to explore the wide variety of educational options available to them. By exploring and making use of these opportunities we are confident that they will develop the tools, skills and experience needed to become suitably qualified Caymanians which will position them to be an asset to the labour market.”

The 15th cohort of P2S started on Monday, 8th September and will run for 12 weeks. This cohort is made up of 25 unemployed Caymanians between the ages of 17 and 20.

For more information on the P2S programme contact Dianne Conolly, Training and Development Manager for the NWDA at dianne.conolly@gov.ky or 945-3114.

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Photo Credit: Government Information Services (GIS)

Photo Caption: UCCI President Mr. Roy Bodden, NWDA Manager, Training and Development Ms. Dianne Conolly, Director of The Wellness Centre and P2S Programme Coordinator Mrs. Shannon Seymour and Programme Instructor Mr. Hylton Grace with participants of the 15th Cohort of Passport2Success.

Passport2Success Employment Outcomes as of July 2014