Young Environmentalist Leadership Course


Application Deadline: March 22 EXTENDED TO MARCH 29
Applicant Interviews: March 25-29 week of April 1
Dive Training on Grand Cayman*: April 13 – July 27
Little Cayman Dates: August 5 – 11

CCMI’s Young Environmentalist Leadership Course (YELC) provides an opportunity for local students (ages 16-20) to carve their pathway into the water sports industry and marine sciences. YELC participants complete PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Rescue Diver certifications*, and they attend a one-week intensive, hands-on experience with CCMI’s education and research staff at the Little Cayman Research Centre. Students work on field projects as well as learn to use instruments and equipment to broaden their horizons and experiences that can be used in the workplace. Students also take part in night dives, lionfish dissections, CV workshops, mock job interviews, and assist with CCMI’s ongoing research.

This programme works to build skilled and enthusiastic environmental ambassadors. Students are exposed to the breadth of opportunities in the marine industry, and as a result, they make important connections for employment and internships. Local businesses that may be involved in the programme include Go Pro Diving, DiveTech, Cayman Eco Divers Foundation, The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, The National Trust of the Cayman Islands, Shark Conservation Cayman, Plastic Free Cayman, Red Sail Sports, Ocean Frontiers, ProYacht, Spinion, Cayman Kayaks, and government agencies include the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, John Gray High School, Clifton Hunter High School, the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI), and the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC). The YELC programme bridges an important gap for local students that do not have access to post-school education in the Cayman Islands, breaking down financial and educational barriers.

*Dive training is typically conducted on Saturdays with GoPro Diving on Grand Cayman. 

Download the fillable PDF application form HERE.

“I would say the programme actually put me on a career path… it really opened my eyes to what I wanted to do in the future.”
Tyler Watler – YELC 2015

“One of the best experiences of my life.” James Costa – YELC 2021

“This programme has given me so many networking opportunities for my future in watersports in Cayman. Everyone should apply for this programme and take advantage of the awesome opportunity that CCMI is offering. It allows people like me who grow up on an island to experience the underwater world.”
Uton Whittaker – YELC 2018

“This trip to CCMI was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget, I’ve made so many friends and memories within the last 2-3 months that could last me a lifetime. This experience helped to mould my life path with greater knowledge and a better confidence in myself.”
Jahzarah Bush – YELC 2022

“Amazing experience which taught me about marine conservation and research.”
Martina Burton – YELC Assistant 2019 (YELC 2018 Participant)

YELC is supported by Foster’s, Rotary Central, CG Britcay, and dive training is through Go Pro Cayman.

The application is available as a fillable PDF HERE.

For more information about the YELC Programme, contact CCMI’s education team directly via email.

All CCMI staff, interns, and volunteers who work with minors have been trained and certified through the Cayman Islands Government – Child Protection Unit Training, Second Step: Child Safeguarding Programme and/or Darkness to Light – Child Safeguard Training.

This programme outlines the responsibilities of the Cayman Islands Government and public officials to protect and safeguard children and young people. A Safe Environment Policy helps prevent situations in which children are at an increased risk for abuse because of the physical characteristics of a building. A safe environment is one that increases visibility, ensures adequate supervision and controls access. The Ministry of Education is committed to working with the Department of Education Services (DES) and schools or education institutions to develop welcoming, supportive and inclusive learning environments that promote the well-being of all students and staff. The Ministry of Education wishes to promote a ‘spirit’ of child protection and establish the baseline expectation of supervision of students. The Safe Environment Policy dictates what the responsibilities of staff are in protecting and perpetuating a safe environment for students.

All CCMI staff, interns, and volunteers who work with minors have also been trained and certified in First-Aid, CPR & AED delivery, and water-related emergency management.

For further information on CCMI education staff, interns, or volunteer training please contact our education team: