Public Works apprentices moving up ladder

| 30/09/2016
CNS Local Life

Former PWD apprentice Nigel Smith (white shirt) with the current group: (L-R) Adrian Jackson, Daniel Dawkins and Davanni James

(CNS Local Life): Public Works Department (PWD) team members, managers and government leaders recently celebrated two milestones in the department’s apprenticeship programme. At an after-work gathering Friday, 16 September 2016, on the PWD compound, Infrastructure Minister Kurt Tibbetts commended the three young men – Adrian Jackson, Daniel Dawkins and Davanni James – for completing two years of stewardship which comprise phase one of PWD’s new apprenticeship scheme. In addition, Education Minister Tara Rivers announced a new PWD partnership with the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC).

Infrastructure Chief Officer Alan Jones affirmed the ministry’s commitment to the programme and credited the forthcoming expansion with CIFEC to “thinking outside the box, teamwork and the removal of ‘silos’ within government”.

PWD director Max Jones said at the ceremony, “This is a special day for PWD, government and the Cayman Islands. This initiative is now well-established, and we are preparing to take on four full-time PWD apprentices – chosen from a field of 35 young applicants.”

He added, “PWD has a long history of developing industry leaders in the construction sector and this new initiative is one more step in formalising this tradition.”

The three PWD apprentices have been promoted to construction-tech 2 (designate) posts after having begun as facility-support technicians 3 (apprentices).

Working as part of multi-skilled PWD teams, the apprentices developed competencies in the skilled trades providing technical support in carpentry, plumbing, electrical, air-conditioning and construction. They also commenced the academic portion of their training.

For the next year they will continue their formal training locally and overseas to obtain recognised certifications in their areas of specialisation: Jackson, in air-conditioning; Dawkins, in construction; and James, in facilities maintenance.

PWD’s Nigel Smith, a guest of honour at the ceremony, was the trailblazer for the apprenticeship initiative. Now a PWD journeyman plumber, in 2013 Nigel was the sole participant in a pilot scheme.

PWD officials noted that there remain jobs to be filled in the department in a range of areas. Like the private sector, they became concerned in recent times about the scarcity of job applicants with skills to perform key specialised roles.

To help bridge this gap, the new joint venture between CIFEC and PWD will launch this semester.

Rivers thanked PWD “for their continued patience and professionalism”. In discussing the partnership with CIFEC, she said, “Things are more technical now, government has talked long about promoting job opportunities in trades, and I am happy to open this new pathway for our young people, in a way never before ventured.”

Over the course of 30 weeks students will complete two classroom days each week covering technical aspects of construction trades and earn qualifications from recognised certifying bodies in addition to English, math and other skills.

They will also spend three days weekly working alongside technicians to receive on-the-job training and mentoring. This post-secondary school programme will enable up to 10 Year 12 CIFEC students to become part-time apprentices at PWD. Department staff will be trained to supervise and mentor the students.

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Category: Civil Service, Training

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