Careers plan to help Bermudians into work
A new one-stop shop for careers is to be created to train and link Bermudians to available jobs, Senator Jason Hayward said yesterday.
The junior education and workforce development minister made the announcement as the Government revealed it would set up a new working group to deal with workforce problems.
He said: “This initiative will aim to create a one-stop career centre where individuals who are seeking employment can go to get the career services that they need, or even the additional training and development services that are required in order to get them placed in the workforce.”
Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education and Workforce Development, introduced the Workforce Development Plan Working Group at a press conference yesterday.
“The remit of this initiative is to lay the foundation for a 21st- century workforce development system for Bermuda.” Rabain said.
“It is important to have a national workforce system in which the primary aim is to connect people with jobs.
“It is within this context that a comprehensive workforce development plan is critical for the advancement of Bermuda’s workforce.”
Mr Hayward, who will head the group, said there was a 17 per cent drop in jobs in Bermuda between 2008 and 2009.
He added that unemployment was at 7 per cent in 2015, compared with 2.1 per cent in 2004, and unemployment was highest among those aged 16 to 34.
Mr Hayward said: “We need to find new ways to reach unemployed and underemployed workers, and will look at using technology and other means to respond rapidly to the needs of all Bermudians.
“We need to develop a plan that will unlock job opportunities here in Bermuda; jobs that lead to fulfilling careers with a future.
“Our plan will seek to offer not a handout but a hand up to improve the economic stability of our people.”
Mr Hayward added: “Employing our youth is critical to success. We need to build a pipeline from early education through postsecondary education to give our young people exposure to emerging industries and new career opportunities.”
Mr Rabain said the creation of the group was in line with last year’s Throne Speech pledge to ensure Bermudians are “properly prepared to take advantage of both current and future job opportunities”.
He added: “It’s not enough to just create more jobs. Bermudians must be given a fair shot at the jobs that already exist today.
“Opportunities to prepare Bermudians with skill to enter the job market are a key step in ensuring that our people are employed.
“The national workforce development plan will set the framework so Bermudians are equipped for the world of work.”
Mr Rabain said a plan would allow the Government “to set directions and priorities, ensure key stakeholders are on the same page, simplify decision-making, align essential resources and communicate key messages”.
Mr Hayward said the ministry had identified six priorities to improve the island’s workforce development system.
He added: “They are employer and industry engagement, alignment of the workforce development system, creation of career pathways, development of youth workforce programmes, universal access to education, training and career services and government resources and funding.”
Mr Hayward said the group would review priorities and develop plans, as well as assess how to reduce the number of duplicated services.
He added it would also recommend any legislative changes regarding the creation of a Workforce Development Board and prepare a report for the minister.
Mr Hayward explained that members of the business community would also be asked to participate through consultation meetings.
Department of Workforce Development staff George Outerbridge, director, Pandora Glasford, training manager, and Judy Teart, acting career development manager, will also be part of the group.
They will be joined by Bermuda College staff members Tawana Flood, director of
professional and career education, Tammy Richardson, dean of arts and sciences, and Dr Trescot Wilson, dean of business, hospitality and technical Education, as well as education department staff members Dr Radell Tankard, acting assistant director of senior schools, and Levar Basset, career pathways facilitator.
Mr Hayward added that the group would also work with Valarie Palamountain, who was invited to Bermuda through the Fulbright Programme, the United States Government’s flagship academic exchange programme.
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