As the Cayman Islands adjusts to changes in the global economy brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the University College of the Cayman Islands’ Professional Development Centre is using its ability to be nimble to aid the business community.
Celebrating its 45th year, UCCI is now an even more important resource for the Cayman community ai s it assesses the needs of local industry and moves to address them.
“The Professional Development Centre is a key part of making that happen,” said UCCI President and CEO Stacy McAfee. “It is an important facet of our total business offerings and we expect it to increase its impact in the coming years.”
For the past three years, Luanne Dunkley, current manager of the PDC, has been helping to develop courses for working adults who either wish to improve their skills at their current jobs, or gain new ones in order to move to the next level. She’s determined which courses to offer largely by surveying business owners about their needs. That’s a little tough these days.
“A lot of business owners are struggling,” Dunkley said. “They don’t know what changes are going to happen. People are saying, ‘I don’t know if my business model has changed.’” It will be at least the end of this year before business owners have a good indication of what their business plan will look like for the coming year and immediate future.
While it may be more of a challenge to anticipate those changes, it isn’t keeping the centre from continuing to offer courses that will help Cayman’s business sector.
Most of the PDC classes take place in the evenings, in order to be schedule-friendly for working students, and are usually four to six weeks in length, although some run longer. The centre is designed to be self-supporting and the cost per course ranges from $250-$500. There are also some custom-made course that will be priced a bit higher. Online classes and one to two-day seminars will also be available at the centre.
The package of business basic courses includes the following:
There are also more targeted courses for specific areas of interest. Some of these upcoming courses include the following:
This course walks students through the various facets of the legal profession from the standpoint of the legal secretary and what part that role plays in the big picture. The course work includes an examination of the history of law as well as providing students with an understanding of major areas such as contract law, civil litigation, land law, wills and family law. Students also learn some of the nuts and bolts of the legal secretary’s duties, including handling correspondence, taking messages, filing practices, understanding court procedures and performing financial transactions. The class meets for two-hour sessions twice a week for six months.
Students will learn the symbols for writing in shorthand as well as techniques for increasing their speed of notetaking. The goal of the course is to bring students to a level at which they can take dictation of 140 words per minute. The class meets for two-hour sessions twice a week for six months.
This online course looks at the increased use of crypto currencies, particularly in the area of hedge funds. Students will learn about the challenges these new currencies, along with blockchain technologies, create for accountants. Money laundering using crypto currency will also be covered, along with other financial crimes, as well as the tools law enforcement uses to investigate those crimes. The pre-requisite for the course is an associate’s degree in business or five years of experience in the financial industry.
Dunkley said the crypto assets course is being taught by Samuel Kiragu, a former UCCI instructor who now teaches at Nova Scotia Community College. He has maintained his connection with UCCI and usually visits Cayman once a year to teach a business-related course.
Dunkley said she is anxious to get the PDC courses going again after Covid-19 lockdown.
“We were just really getting a momentum going,” she said, before the program was put into neutral. “We’re trying to get it restarted with a vengeance now.”
Vice President and Provost J.D. Mosley-Matchett said the PDC is poised to help make a difference.
“This is the perfect time for businesses and business professionals to differentiate themselves in the new normal being created in this post-Covid-19 market,” Mosley-Matchett said. “Only the top competitors with the best credentials and skills are going to be successful. The PDC is offering classes that Cayman's business people need with the convenience they demand.
Typically, Dunkley said, the PDC serves 35-50 students each semester, but she believes those numbers could increase.
“I think the potential is so much bigger,” she said. The PDC has four classrooms that can hold nearly 120 students. “I would like to see them full,” she said.
And, with the increased use of online learning, she added, “I’d like to open up training to the other Caribbean Islands.”
More information is available by contacting Luanne Dunkley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 345-623-0546.