New masonry course launched at college
A pilot programme designed to introduce more Bermudians to a career in construction will be launched next month.
The training programme will offer academic tuition and work experience for students to prepare them to become top-grade masons within five years.
The course was created by the Construction Association of Bermuda and the Government's Department of Workforce Development, with support from Bermuda College.
Will Irvine, the CAOB executive director, said: “It's a three-year programme and it will take them from unskilled labour through all the academic classroom work, alongside on the job training.
“That, with two further years of work experience, will make them a top-grade mason.”
The initial programme was designed to cater for eight students and the qualification will be accredited by the National Centre for Construction Education and Research.
Mr Irvine said that masonry accounted for more than 300 work permits in Bermuda, and proper training was needed to help boost the number of Bermudians in the trade.
He added that, although the idea of the programme had been “talked about an awful lot”, it was a combination of political will, demand in the workforce and underemployed local labour that sparked its creation.
Mr Irvine added: “We are quite aware that we don't need to keep reinventing the wheel. We can just use the resources that are available.”
Lovitta Foggo, the labour, community affairs and sports minister, said her ministry appreciated partnerships with private sector organisations.
She added: “We know that the construction industry is a vital contributor to our economy and a significant employer of local tradesmen.
“We recognise the Construction Association's commitment to Bermuda's workforce.
“Over the years, they have demonstrated a true dedication providing learning and development opportunities for Bermudians in the construction industry.”
Ms Foggo said: “This is an exciting time and opportunity for the Department of Workforce Development to further leverage partnerships with existing organisations and engage new external industry partners in the construction industry.
“Additionally, the department will leverage this opportunity to train more Bermudians to develop local talent in the construction industry and we are excited that the masonry apprenticeship programme has come to fruition.”
Ms Foggo thanked the CAOB, the new Masonry Occupational Advisory Council, the immigration board, Bermuda College and Patricia Chapman, the acting director of workforce development, as well as her own ministry team “for their steadfast support and commitment”.
A spokeswoman for Bermuda College said it looked forward to “continued discussions” with the CAOB about the course.