Chamber calls for mandatory listing of job-seekers

| 14/03/2015 | 3 Comments
Cayman News Service

Barry Bodden, Chamber of Commerce President 2015

(CNS Business): The president of the Chamber of Commerce has called on government to introduce some kind of mandatory registering of the unemployed and better statistics relating to genuine job seekers. Barry Bodden said that the Cayman economy was improving and poised for growth, which he said would “outpace the local labour pool”, but the country had to address the issue of unemployment. Youth unemployment in particular was a national priority, he said.

Speaking at the Chamber Jobs Expo on Friday at University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI), where 37 employers exhibited at the island’s largest job fair, Bodden said real solutions were needed to “improve the employment prospects of Caymanians”.

He said the Chamber was in dialogue with the Cayman Islands Government, and it was enhancing its workforce training opportunities and helping to develop workplace skills. But with the continued debate over the actual number of jobless locals and the problems people are facing getting work, he said the time had come to “require all unemployed people to register with the NWDA”, so they could be properly assessed and offered training or help to find work if they were already qualified.

He said that if government couldn’t cope, the Chamber and other private sector entities could help provide the necessary training.

As a player in the construction field, Bodden emphasised the need for focused vocational training and a broader acceptance across the community that work in that area is equal to all other types of work. He said that while it was not possible to force everyone to work, many people were willing and capable, and if they did not have the required skills, they had to be trained because Cayman needs future construction-related trades people, from painters to carpenters.

“All Caymanians need to be given the opportunity to succeed as the economy improves,” he said.

Speaking to CNS, Bodden said he had serious concerns that employers would continue seeking work permits unless a greater effort was made to see locals trained and work-ready and for government to enforce the law.

He said the anticipated implementation of the Builders Law would help to sharpen standards in the construction industry and prevent the undercutting of prices, which was pushing wages down by rogue outfits. But government had to enforce the law across the board and ensure all companies are properly licensed and adhering to related legislation.

Speaking about the need for mandatory registration, he admitted that the technicalities for that would be challenging but the country needed an accurate picture of who was seeking work and what their skill levels are.

However, Bodden called for a more “robust system”. He said the frustrations of the unemployed were mounting because people don’t believe they are given fair access and employers don’t always know who is out there unless the job seekers respond directly. But like the Employment Minister (see related article on CNS), he too believes that the NWDA must become the clearinghouse and focal point for job seekers.

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Category: Education & Training, Employment, Local Business, Uncategorized

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Work permits show be under the umbrella of the NWDA. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.
    Combine both and reduce the need for some permit renewals, and be in a better position to deal with unemployment. Too many work permits for foreign labour, when their are locals who can fill some of those presumed vacant posts/positions. The government ought to check on the recent employees in an Statutory Authouriy and understand their are locals who could fill those positions, thereby reducing the need for work permits.

  2. Da Truth says:

    If anyone is unemployed and genuinely seeking employment it should be mandatory that they register as unemployed. This is the only way that:

    1. We will get to know the REAL unemployment situation and statistics (those who want to work as opposed to those who don’t and those who can’t);
    2. The only way that those seeking employment without proper skills can be identified and provided with skills training;

    I say this as a number of my friends in BT are constantly complaining to anyone who will listen that they don’t have work yet they never get off their lazy backsides to even look for it or register with the agency. The few jobs they have had were handed to them on a plate and yet they still walked within days because they didn’t like taking orders/the work or working long hours. These are my friends. I feel bad saying this but its the truth. People like this are giving those of us who really do want to work a bad reputation.

    So with all these so-called improvements to the NWDA, why can’t we make it so that if you are genuinely looking for a job you HAVE to register, and if you don’t register you don’t get classed, treated, or counted as unemployed for statistics, or any other purpose.

    And for the record, I so concur with what paving joe says – there are way too many jobs that would obviously be suitable for unskilled Caymanian workers being given to expat unskilled workers – how can that be right?

  3. paving joe says:

    Perhaps Mr. Bodden could start by employing and training caymanians for many jobs at Island Paving, Animal House, etc…what is the point in registering or creating a list of unemployed caymanians ?

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