From CIFEC to Camana Bay: Caymanian students join Town Centre workforce

Woman organises clothing in a store
Jada Bush, The Shops of Red Sail Sports sales associate, is a former CIFEC student who turned an internship with Red's Emporium into a full-time job. — Photo: Davion Cotterell

When walking into Red's Emporium, hers may very well be one of the first smiling faces you'll see inside.

“Greeting customers makes me feel like a better person; it just makes me happy,” says Jada Bush, Sales Associate at The Shops of Red Sail Sports.

Bush is one of several recent Cayman Islands Further Education Centre graduates who have found professional growth and success at Camana Bay-based businesses. She came to Red Sail through the CIFEC annual internship programme, which places students with local companies for an intensive six-month work experience opportunity. After expressing that she enjoyed helping at her sister’s retail store, Bush’s teachers recommended she be placed at Red’s Emporium. She continued to work part-time at Red’s and at other Red Sail retail shops throughout her studies at University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI), and upon graduation was offered a full-time position.

“When I first started my internship at Red’s Emporium, I lacked self-confidence and wasn’t comfortable approaching the customers. I grew my confidence by learning to interact with the customer in an environment where I felt there was a safety net of supportive staff helping me. This new confidence has not only helped me in my work life but also in my personal life.”

Bush now counts customer relations and meeting new people as her favourite part of her job. With her new-found love of helping others, she hopes to pursue a career in hospitality or family counselling.

The restaurants of Market Street Group have also been proud to employ a host of young Caymanians — including CIFEC students — over the years. F&B Operations and Development Manager Jason Moir explains how and why they connect young people to roles at their restaurants.

“For us, it’s about finding young people who want to work. There are huge opportunities for them here. We’re fortunate in the restaurant world — you don’t necessarily need a lot of experience to get a job. A place like the Brooklyn — a more casual, family-friendly pizza and pasta spot — is a great place to learn.”

Moir and his team work with Passport to Success, tertiary education institutions, job fairs and mock interview events to meet young people and introduce them to the food and beverage industry. Entry-level roles often start with part-time work hosting, bussing tables or dishwashing, and this almost always leads to full-time positions as a line cook, server or beyond.

It can be daunting to enter the workforce as a student or recent graduate, but with the support of businesses that invest in their training and success, the aim is more young professionals can make comfortable transitions from schooling to their chosen career path and eventually, make their own positive impacts on the wider Cayman community.


This article was originally published in the November 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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