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Workforce development charm offensive mooted

Developing a strategy: Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, with responsibility for workforce development (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Public relations experts are to spearhead a charm offensive designed to boost the image of the Department of Workforce Development.

Businesses have been asked to submit tenders for a campaign designed to generate a better image of the department.

Targets for the four-month project include roadshows, career fairs and “at least one positive story” a week in news outlets and social media.

Government said yesterday that a firm had not yet been picked, although the programme is due to start next month. Companies were invited to submit a quote for “a public education and awareness campaign”.

Documents on the government portal said the department wanted to “demonstrate to the community that the department is making positive steps to ensure people are employed, trained and certified”.

The department also wants to set up a national database “to capture a Bermudian work-ready talent pool”.

Other aims are to:

• Improve the public perception and image of the department

• Improve overall public awareness of the department’s services

• Promote the department as a one-stop career centre

Notes explained the department’s two main functions were training and career development, which included help to find work.

Workforce development also manages an apprenticeship programme and regulates certification standards in four job sectors — electrical, welding, automotive mechanics and landscaping.

Respondents were told they were expected to create a brand image for the “one-stop career centre” and target specific groups of people in a “strategic” plan that will include videos and marketing materials.

Along with the workforce development and communications departments, a list of aims said the successful provider would be expected to help “organise and execute career fairs at middle and high school levels”, host roadshows every two weeks.

The provider must also “produce, at the least, one positive story per week to appear in local news and social media”.

Posts on media site YouTube and website updates as well as town hall-style public meetings are also expected to be part of the programme. Bidding opened on October 23 and a document added later showed one respondent wanted more details about the new-look career centre and asked how it would be different from the current jobs portal.

The Government replied: “One-Stop Career Centre concept is a system whereby individuals can gain access to all career development services including assessment, job search and training.”

It said the department was moving to this model next year and the campaign was to promote the revamped service.

The reply added: “The vendor would be required to create a brand, logo and creative for the One-Stop Career Centre.”

One respondent pointed out that “mounting a careers fair requires a very large investment” and asked if other options would be considered. The department said it was “open to suggestions”.

The Government added: “We would like to target Bermuda’s unemployed, high school graduates, part-time workers, adults learners, individuals on disabilities, youth and so on.

“The key priority is providing access to the training and career support service.”

The deadline for submissions was November 2. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, took responsibility for workforce development from the education ministry after a Cabinet reshuffle.

She told MPs this month that the department was working on a public-relations campaign to increase awareness of its services and “the advantages of being registered as a client”.

She explained in a House of Assembly statement: “It is the intent to continue to collaborate with the Department of Communications to develop a marketing strategy that will support and drive the work of the department.

“This strategy will focus on greater visibility and engagement with employers and the community through outreach, satellite training, increased education and awareness, career fairs, town hall meetings and social media campaigns.”

Ms Foggo said a marketing strategy would be completed next month “for immediate implementation”.

She added: “The Department of Workforce Development will continue to assist and prepare persons for the world of work.

“The public relations strategy will support and drive the initiatives being undertaken by the department.”

The Royal Gazette asked for further information about the project’s budget and how many bids were received.

A government spokeswoman said: “No vendor has been selected. Therefore, as the department is still in the process of reviewing bids, we cannot provide further details at this time which might jeopardise the request for proposal or selection process.”

The main purpose of the campaign is to increase awareness of the Department of Workforce Development and its services to the public.