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Acquiring important skills: Eusebio Blankendal (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Young Bermudians looking for a lucrative career in an industry that is booming both locally and globally may want to consider information technology as an option.

According to local IT firm Oxygen, there is a shortage of young, local talent in the field which traditionally has left them and others like them no option other than to search overseas for new recruits.

But that conundrum could soon change with the launch of an internship programme at the company which is committed to training young people locally.

The internship came about as part of the Technology Leadership Forum’s Career Pathways programme designed to provide senior school students at CedarBridge Academy and Berkeley Institute with “pathways to greater preparation for career and college opportunities for a fulfilling life beyond the classroom”.

This February, Eusebio Blankendal, one of Berkeley’s top IT students, became Oxygen’s first intern.

Oliver Hellewell, business development officer at Oxygen, said: “When I joined the company in November we were growing and looking for talented technical people locally. We were having some challenges and ended up having to recruit from overseas.

“I thought that from a sustainability perspective we needed to be doing something with the youth in Bermuda to give them more opportunities and give them more access to opportunities in this field. We reached out to the programme co-ordinator at TLF, Coral Wells. We said we would love to have someone and Eusabio’s name was put forward as one of the best in his IT class, and so he joined in February.

“We have been trying to give him a good overview of the IT industry in Bermuda and give him time shadowing all of our different staff in different areas.”

Eusebio said his interest in the IT field was sparked by one of his teachers at Berkeley, Wade Herman, and that it is definitely a career he will consider pursuing in the future.

He told The Royal Gazette: “It is big in the economy so I feel that at least if I have some knowledge I will be able to get a job. Sometimes it can get a little frustrating but I feel it is a good opportunity for me.

“I did a programming course at Belco and I like to learn different things. I feel like that is what drove me to come here. Oxygen has given me a lot of new information that I didn’t know before and that is what I like to hear. It’s a really good company. I like the hands on work because it keeps me active — I like taking information out of computers and configuring computers.”

Mr Hellewell said that young people would be wise to consider a career in IT as it becomes more and more relevant in our society.

“Today, everything is ‘smart this’ and ‘smart that’. Technology will be integrated into everything and that is not going to change so it is important that people like Eusebio get an understanding of that early on, even if it is not their key field. It will give them a good foundation to move forward in whatever career they choose. I know many people who have very lucrative careers in IT. You only have to look at Silicon Valley to see the type of money that can be made. If someone is passionate about IT and is willing to put in the work, it is definitely a good career choice and there is a shortage of local talent for sure. This is our first internship and we are really happy with how it has gone, so once he has finished we are keen to support other young people in Bermuda who want to get an understanding of IT.”

For more information on TLF, visit www.TLF.bm

Youth opportunities: Oliver Hellewell, Oxygen business development officer (Photograph by Akil Simmons)