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Minister Anglin addressing participants.

Published 19th September 2011, 3:2pm

From a field of nearly 50 applicants, 25 young adults were selected for the Ministry of Education's latest 12-week employment-skills training initiative Passport2Success. Unsure of what the next few weeks held for them, participants peppered Education, Training and Employment Minister, the Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, with questions during a recent orientation gathering. Obliging, Minister Anglin explained that the programme's goal is to empower participants with skills that will not only get them jobs, but which will also help them build a successful life and maintain it. He once again reminded participants that the most difficult challenge they could expect to face as the programme progressed was change. He said, "It's very difficult when that change is personal. You see, the only variable you can change in the grand scheme of things is yourself. It's the only thing you can guarantee and the only thing over which you have 100 percent control." He also told participants that the programme has not had a 100 percent completion rate since its inception in April 2010. "To make a real difference you need the right attitude and you need to work harder than everyone else," he said. "Every one of you can be successful. So put in the effort, be willing to change and complete the programme." Summing up past challenges and successes, Programme Facilitator Dr. Tasha Ebanks-Garcia said the greatest challenge faced was feelings of entitlement. "We tackle this with every group and I think, as a culture, this must be addressed." She noted that this was a particular problem when placing participants in entry-level positions, particularly because they believed they were 'bigger' or 'better' than certain jobs. She added however, that young people grew as the programme progressed and that most entering Passport2Success brought with them a desire to change. "They don't necessarily know how change will happen or what that process looks like, but they're ready for it. Passport2Success' fifth cohort with Education, Training & Employment Minister, Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, and Ministry Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues. "The economic challenge we're facing and the messages they are receiving from adults around them, who are themselves facing challenges, clearly indicate that things aren't as easy as they once were in Cayman. They now know that they must take a different approach." Joining Dr. Ebanks-Garcia as co-facilitator for cohort five is Mr. Hylton Grace who has more than 12 years experience in the social services field in both the private and public sectors. He's worked with adults and youths, dealing with issues such as sexual and reproductive health, substance abuse counselling and prevention, youth development, and parenting. Passport2Success is a free public-private funded initiative targeting Caymanians aged 17 - 20 years, who have not yet found suitable employment. It emphasises adult literacy, adopts a practical hands-on approach and uses adult-based group learning instruction methods. During the 12-week programme participants will be introduced to the Labour Law, employment contracts and acceptable business practices. They'll practise grammatical skills, learn about communication styles, body language, and barriers to communication. Community service, protocol, basic business etiquette, time management, conflict avoidance skills and motivational talks from leading business figures will also fill the agenda. Halfway through participants will complete résumés in preparation for work placement, which takes on a new structure going forward. During the programme's final six weeks participants will spend two days of each week working. Facilitators hope that while this new approach allows participants to start their work placement earlier, it will also provide opportunities for in-class discussions on actual challenges and successes experienced. Visit www.passport2success.ky for more information. Alternatively, email The Wellness Centre on info@wellnesscentre.ky or call Shannon Seymour on 949-9355. (GIS)