Businesses support Cayman's youth through work experience

By Francesca Gardner

3 August 2023

Group shot of young adults in colourful shirts
Several Camana Bay-based business — including PwC, which annually recruits and coaches at least 10 students — offer internships and other work experience opportunities aimed at bridging the gap between school and a full-time career. — Photo: Contributed

Every summer, students island-wide seek internships to gain valuable hands-on experience in their chosen fields and help bridge the gap between school and their budding careers.

Many businesses in Camana Bay offer internships to young Caymanians as part of a commitment to fostering talent and provide interns with a path to develop their careers.

“It’s such a rewarding experience for both the interns and the firm," said Kat Holliday, assistant director, talent consultant at EY.

EY offers opportunities each summer to students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in accounting or a business-related field. The firm accepts 10 to 12 interns per year across the areas of business, tax consultancy and audit.

"The programme exposes young Caymanian students to the working environment and what their potential career path can be in the financial industry," Holliday said.

"As a summer intern with EY, you’ll see their impact firsthand. You will work on client projects with your team, gain new skills that will shape the rest of your career and explore your interests supported by leaders. All of this will help you build your future career."

During the eight-week EY summer programme, interns will work across different service lines to gain experience as well as be merged into various activities within the company, including community service, office socials, presentations and career discussions with the company’s leadership team.

“Upon completing the internship programme, interns can be offered to return as an intern the following summer or full-time employment if they are in their final year of university,” Holliday said.

This year, three scholarship recipients returned to full-time offers.

PwC, one of the three Big Four accounting firms that calls Camana Bay home along with EY and Deloitte, annually recruits and coaches at least 10 students for at least four weeks.

"During this time, the student will be assigned to work side by side with our existing staff on their day-to-day work, including participating in meetings with clients," said Emily Sully, senior associate in human capital at PwC. "They will receive training with respect to the work they do, be assigned a buddy to help them acclimate to the professional environment, have career discussions with our Human Capital team, start building their professional network and their team working skills."

As with EY, successful work experience can lead to a full-time career opportunity at PwC. Caymanian students who are in year 10 or higher — including college students — are eligible to apply. They must pursue a degree in accounting and finance and must have an interest in continuing their professional career in audit, tax or advisory.

PwC welcomes 19 students this year, including first-time recruits, returning interns and scholarship holders.

But the opportunities are limited to accounting and professional services. In the banking industry, Cayman National Bank offers internships to around eight to 10 students in both summer and winter seasons.

“We try to place interns in departments that best fit their career interest," said Cayman National Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Phil Jackson. "We believe in providing the best work experience to all the students that are selected. The interns are involved in special projects, which allows them hands-on work experience."

Cayman National also offers soft skills training like interview preparation and resume writing to students.

"We currently have 10 very bright Caymanian students of different age groups and levels of education. They are also very different regarding their career interests such as cybersecurity, customer service [and] real estate,” Jackson said.

To highlight the significance these internships can have on a young person's career, Jackson points to cases like former interns Justin Ebanks and Kayanna Blake. Ebanks started working in various departments across Cayman National and now serves as payroll and benefits specialist in the human resources department. Blake returned following her internship as a full-time employee as a document imaging clerk in card services. She's since been promoted to card input.

“These internship programmes allow students the opportunity to gain real professional experience, to learn more skills and knowledge and allow them to focus in on the career that either appeals to them the most, or that will benefit their professional life the most. It is also a benefit during their time at university to relate their work experience to their studies, allowing a greater understanding,” Jackson said.

This article was published in the July/August 2023 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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