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New graduates earn Passport2Success

| 04/01/2016 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Passport2Success special award winners (L-R) Yeymi Mann-Pena (Most Outstanding – Female), Cordell Andrade (Most Outstanding – Male), Kashana McLean (Most Growth), Shemar Carter (Rising Star) and Neina Nicholas (Rising Star)

(CNS): The most recent group of Passport2Success participants graduated last month, representing the 18th cohort of the programme. More than 300 young Caymanians have taken part in the initiative over its first five years, 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 and Gender Affairs initiative, it falls under the remit of the National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) and is delivered by The Wellness Centre.

Last month’s 20 graduates received certificates from Education Councillor Winston Connolly at the ceremony held at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.

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.”

Connolly congratulated the 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, 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.

Graduates spoke about their experiences during the programme. Jessica Ebanks remembered her first day. “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.

Cayman News Service

The graduating class with Councillor Winston Connolly (centre, back row) and programme administrators

Yeymi Mann-Pena 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, said that Passport2Success continues to be a programme that inspires young people to take responsibility for their own success.

“This is perhaps its greatest outcome,” she said. “It is a pleasure to witness firsthand 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.”

Since inception, around 83 percent of participants have completed the programme, with approximately 29 percent securing employment by graduation, and 57 percent within a year of finishing.

Dianne Conolly, NWDA manager for training and development, spoke of the partnership with the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI).

“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, which is aimed at single mothers, started on Monday, 4 January and will run for 16 weeks.

For more information, visit Passport2Success or contact Dianne Conolly at 945-3114 or by email

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Category: Education, Training, Youth

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