Hayward highlights job programmes
Thousands of Bermudians left jobless by the Covid-19 pandemic will be targeted in a series of back-to-work programmes, the labour minister has vowed.
Jason Hayward said a three-pronged strategy of unemployment reduction, prevention of future unemployment and extra help for Bermudians to find jobs would be used.
He added that the ministry planned to sign agreements with employers and would explore a freeze on work permits in “specific occupational categories”.
The minister emphasised that no categories had been identified yet and that “there may not need to be a moratorium”.
Mr Hayward estimated, based the number of people on emergency unemployment benefits, that 5,000 to 6,000 were out of a job.
He added that young people, those aged 18 to 26, were “historically the largest group unemployed” and jobless figures in the category ranged from 25 per cent to 30 per cent.
Mr Hayward said the majority of people who were on the 18-week unemployment benefits were now off the programme.
He added almost 700 people had picked up applications for financial assistance or the special supplemental benefits.
Mr Hayward said the Department of Workforce Development would deliver a “re-skilling and upskilling programme” with employers to identify opportunities and equip Bermudians with job-specific skills.
He added his ministry would build “a solid partnership” with the Bermuda College and its professional and career education division, which “covers a wide range of industries, from health and beauty to hospitality and entertainment”.
The ministry is also to team up with professional employment agencies to match workers with opportunities and will work with key figures in the restaurant, horticulture and cleaning sectors.
Workforce development officials will work with young people on career advice and job market guidance.
Mr Hayward said there were about 1,000 work permit holders in the cleaning, restaurant, commercial horticulture and landscape gardening industries.