The first episode of the Cayman Current’s documentary series ‘Island Jobs‘ debuted successfully at the Cayman Documentary Festival.
The showing on Friday evening occurred in conjunction with film ‘The Great Disconnect’ and was followed by a panel discussion on mental health, moderated by Island Jobs director Kayla Young.
Island Jobs is the Current’s first in-depth multimedia journalism project. The series is sponsored by Health City Cayman Islands, Enterprise Cayman and Silver Palm Studios. The Current’s media partner is Cayman Life TV.
Currently in post-production, the finished project will comprise five episodes as well as a 90-minute feature-length version.
Directed by Tamer Soliman, The Great Disconnect examines the impacts on mental wellness by urban design, technology and social isolation.
Island Jobs explores local opportunities and challenges in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and STEM education.
The Documentary Festival runs 6 nights at Camana Bay Cinema with films on different topics showing each night, ending Monday, 21 March.
Moderated by Young, Friday evening’s panel in association with the Alex Panton Foundation discussed issues related to mental health and education.
NCVO Pre-School Director Delores Thompson was formerly Director of CIFEC and an educator in Cayman Islands public secondary schools.
She said the government spends so much time and resources in the education system “fixing problems” at the secondary level, that she began to wonder “Where did we go wrong?”
Pointing to research showing the paramount importance of education and care while children are from 0-5 years old, Thompson said she made the move to early years education to try to make the biggest impact possible on young students.
She said getting it right at the early stages can lay good foundations for children who will be better able to handle any traumas they experience when they are older.
Psychologist Shari Smith spoke about mental health issues arising in young people who effectively become socially withdrawn due to reliance on online communications technology, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Locally, she said there is still a lot of stigma around mental wellness. While Cayman’s culture is shifting so that people are more likely to seek help when they need it, there is still a tendency for people to want to keep mental health issues quiet, or something that is only discussed within the family.
She said more people need to talk more about mental health, and also that people need to model through their behaviour how important mental wellness is.
Alex Panton Youth Ambassador Monina Thompson said she can relate personally to having a negative relationship with social media, in that you spend your time online without realising in the moment how you are disassociating from reality.
At the same time, she said, it’s not realistic in the 21st century to expect not to use that technology.
Asked how it feels to be a young Caymanian trying to compete in the local workforce, Thompson said it was “infuriating”. She said she has classmates with university education who are working in restaurants and cannot put their degrees to use because employers deem them either ‘under-‘ or ‘over-‘ qualified and would prefer to bring in workers from overseas.
Discussing the important role that mentors can play in connecting young Caymanians with opportunities, life coach Laura Watler said she looks for three main qualities in a mentor: a level of personal concern for herself, an understanding of her situation, and the discipline to set firm boundaries for the relationship.
Rather than focussing exclusively on take-home pay, it’s important for people to keep in mind their real priorities and goals when making life and career decisions.
She said the most difficult question coaches ever ask her is, “What do you want?”