CCMI Now Accepting Applications for the 2020 Young Environmentalist Leadership Course (YELC)

March 6, 2020

For the ninth year, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) will offer the Young Environmentalist Leadership Course (YELC) for local students ages 15-19. Applications for this intensive six-month programme are currently being accepted by CCMI through 1st April 2020. In past years, participants have come primarily from John Gray High School, Clifton Hunter High School and the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre, with more students applying to the programme each year due to the growing interest in and the recognition of YELC within the Cayman Islands. Interested students must first submit an application to CCMI then participate in an interview process. A maximum of 10 students will be selected to participate in YELC, which runs from 2nd May – 25th October 2020.

The YELC programme started in 2012 and was created to provide an opportunity for local students to continue their educational pathway in the marine sciences. Over the course of the spring, summer and fall semesters, YELC participants complete their PADI Open Water, Advanced, and Rescue Diver certifications and they attend a nine-day immersive, hands-on experience with our education and research staff at the Little Cayman Research Centre. Students work on field projects, take part in night dives, lionfish dissections, CV workshops, mock job interviews, and assist with CCMI’s ongoing research.

The YELC programme works to build skilled and enthusiastic environmental ambassadors while bridging an important gap for local students that may not have access to post-school education in the Cayman Islands. Participants complete the course, leaving with tangible dive and emergency first responder qualifications, as well as real-life, skills-based experience that not only helps guide them in the future but also provides excellent references for CVs and interviews with potential educators or employers. As the programme has been running for eight years, CCMI is seeing YELC alumni flow into professional roles in the dive tourism and environmental science fields.

Sponsored by Foster’s and Cayman National Bank, the YELC programme has supported more than 80 students on their journey to learning about the marine environment while also helping to develop important soft skills that will serve participants well in any career path they choose.

The application can be found on CCMI’s website. Students who are interested in participating in the programme should complete and submit their application materials to CCMI’s education department at