Careers fair opens students to job opportunities

| 26/02/2016
Cayman News Service

Representatives from the Marriott talk to John Gray students about the hospitality industry

(CNS): Year 9 and 11 students at John Gray High School (JGHS) had the opportunity to learn about a wide range of professions in Cayman’s business community at the school’s annual Careers Fair, organised by the Career Services Unit in the Department of Education Services and the JGHS Life Skills Department.

About 450 students interacted with representatives from 30 organisations in both the private and public sector, including the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Westin Casuarina Resort, Kimpton Hotel, Dart, the Cayman Islands Contractors Association, CUC, the Cayman Islands Fire Service, Red Sail Sports and Ernst & Young.

Year 11 students were encouraged by their teachers to present themselves prepared to network and discuss possibilities of internship opportunities during the summer holidays while Year 9 students were focussed on gaining information and advice on the subjects required for particular career paths, as they finalise their options for GCSE-level examinations.

Minister of Education Tara Rivers, who visited the fair, noted the value of a careers day to students. “First of all, it gives them exposure to the breadth of jobs and industries represented here in our economy which many of them may not even be aware of…It is also about the ability to interact directly with people outside of their peer group; for some it might be the first time they have spoken to a potential employer, so it’s about gaining that confidence and experience.”

Rivers said the event could also benefit participating companies. “Employers are always looking for good, hard-working employees and a careers fair such as this one gives them a preview of the type of employees coming into the workforce soon, and helps them know what to expect.”

Jennie Pacheco, project engineer at McAlpine Ltd, said the goal each year is to dispel the misconceptions that students have about her field. “Most of the kids tend to think of the construction industry as bricks and mortar and hard labour which it is, of course, but we try to give them the other side of it as well such as project management, engineering, the more academic aspect of the field,” she said. “We hope that they will leave here today understanding that they can start with us as a carpenter and work their way up to a project manager position with education and experience.”

Pacheco added that student from previous careers fairs at John Gray and Clifton Hunter high schools have gained work experience or internships at McAlpine.

Representatives of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman also spoke to students. “Our goal is to educate the students about what the hospitality industry is because we find that a lot of them don’t really understand and they think that it’s just being a housekeeper or a front desk agent,” said Tonya Adam, human resources recruitment coordinator.

She added, “One of the biggest benefits of working in hospitality is the customer service skills that one develops which can be used in any career, so for us it’s important that students don’t look down on the hospitality industry but understand that tourism is a huge part of their culture.”

Tania Johnson, career advisor with the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre, explained that the fair aims “to educate the students about what careers are available in Cayman because many of them don’t know what they want to do once they leave school or they have misperceptions about what jobs are actually available in a particular industry”.

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Category: High School

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