Cayman Enterprise City Partners with University College of the Cayman Islands to Bolster STEM Education
CEC will provide year round sponsorship for high school and college club students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics - knowledge and skills for Cayman’s jobs of the future
George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - Knowing that many future zone jobs in Cayman Enterprise City will be created by technology companies that will require specialized skills, CEC has partnered with the University College of the Cayman Islands to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to the next generation of Caymanians. Math, science and engineering are all intrinsically linked with technology and STEM courses are tied to educational competiveness and future economic prosperity. By preparing them with the right college courses and experiences, CEC and UCCI want to create a workforce pipeline that will fill jobs in the zone and inspire young Caymanians to start their own companies.
Under the new partnership, CEC, through its Enterprise Cayman initiatives, will be a year round sponsor for the college’s Ambassador’s Club, a STEM student organization. CEC participated in UCCI’s annual conference for the club where students heard speakers and then mingled with business people over breakfast, and zone leaders were so impressed with the success of the conference and the interest of the students, that CEC agreed to help the club extend activities throughout the whole school year.
“We will need to meet the demand for skilled workers to fill jobs in the zone in the years to come,” said CEO Charlie Kirkconnell. “We need to capture the interest of our young people and keep them engaged in learning science, engineering and math – the fields linked to technology.”
UCCI President Mr. JA Roy Bodden, JP: “I am encouraged by the growing numbers of our students who are pursuing the sciences. It is for this reason that efforts of entities such as Cayman Enterprise City play such an important role in stimulating, supporting and sponsoring interest and efforts to promote STEM. At the University College we are greatly appreciative of the efforts of Cayman Enterprise City in sponsoring the STEM Ambassadors Club. This sponsorship will allow for these science, technology, engineering and math ambassadors to train and prepare themselves to compete on a global stage. Additionally, the sponsorships will enable the beneficiaries to gain experience in fields, which offer great scope for successful and productive careers. The University College looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Cayman Enterprise City in the sponsorship and promotion of STEM.”
With this partnership CEC and UCCI will also continue to look for ways to increase student interest and aptitude in STEM learning. It is hoped this deeper connection will broaden participation from schools and the local community, and inspire a more diverse STEM talent pool to grow Cayman’s ingenuity and innovation. CEC has committed to build the special economic zone into a third pillar of the community and Enterprise Cayman is a key initiative.
Enterprise Cayman is a partnership between CEC and the Cayman Islands Government to connect Caymanians with opportunities that currently exist and others that will become available in the zone. CEC partners with local firms and businesses to provide mentoring, career counseling and associated skills necessary to take advantage of opportunities. The initiative also aims to raise awareness among young Caymanians.
University President Bodden says he wants UCCI to offer students more career choices in a world where there is a growing reliance on science, technology, engineering and mathematics to solve challenges and dilemmas. “It is only fitting that the University College share this focus. We have already made a significant step in this regard with the establishment of a modern observatory. I hope before long we are in a position to offer astronomy, astrophysics and other related sciences.”
Kristel Sanchez, UCCI Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Alumni, says the partnership with CEC and Enterprise Cayman will provide young people the opportunity to engage in yearlong activities that encourage critical thinking, resourcefulness and creativity.
“This helps to promote an awareness of and concern for the environment; creates a venue for interaction with likeminded peers and local and international role models; as well as expand their career horizons,” she commented. “We commend CEC and Enterprise Cayman for their willingness to support our dedicated faculty in training future scientists, engineers, doctors, educators, mathematicians and are excited to commence the programme in the Fall semester.”
Currently Cayman offers great career paths for attorneys, accountants and bankers, but there is a shortage in the job pool for the tech industry. CEC is committed to changing that and the relationship with UCCI is the first step. Partnership benefits for students include; enhance classroom learning, activities that will enrich their college experience, seminars and workshops, outside speakers, videos, assistance with resumes, learning teamwork, learning to give and take critique and feedback, plus other vital interpersonal skills needed in preparation for entering the job market.
Through its Enterprise Cayman initiative, CEC and EC will support the programme financially, as well as help develop ideas to stimulate interest and increase exposure to STEM education. CEC has arranged for zone clients to regularly visit the college as speakers to share first-hand experiences and answer questions, and the first speaker is scheduled in October.
The students will also be asked to be creative and contribute ideas for their club. Kristel Sanchez says those enrolled in dual entry, engineering, physics, nursing and other sciences can join the expanded Ambassador’s Club as a pilot group, and if successful the program will be opened to others. Monthly meetings will be scheduled on campus, and the members will enjoy activities and field trips. The year-long program will culminate in the STEM Carib conference slated for March 2015.