New board will help steer workforce development plan
The Government will create a new board to lead the island’s Workforce Development Plan, the House of Assembly heard.
Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour and Economy, told MPs that the new Workforce Development Advisory Board would “carry out the critical leadership function” of the plan, drafted in 2018.
“One of the recommendations of the plan was for the National Training Board to be divided into two entities,” he said. “One entity involves the creation of a new Workforce Development Advisory Board.
“The purpose of this board is two-fold, one, to enhance strategic interaction between workforce development system entities and the business community, and two, to effectively advise the minister responsible for labour on a workforce development strategy for Bermuda.
“The new Workforce Development Advisory Board will lead the efforts to engage a diverse range of employers and entities in Bermuda and will carry out the critical leadership function of the Workforce Development Plan.”
Mr Hayward said the board would be designed to build connections between employers and the workforce development system, ensure that workforce investment activities meet the needs of both employers and the economic development of the island, and develop strategies to meet “the employment and skill needs of workers and employees”.
He said that representation from the private sector would be an “important strength” of the Board, highlighting in response to OBA questions that employer representatives would make up the majority.
“These members will play a key role in helping the Board to understand the needs of their industries and make connections with other business leaders in the community,” Mr Hayward said.
The non-statutory Board will also include representatives from the Government, the unions, and the Bermuda College.
“These stakeholder partners will be largely responsible for overseeing the implementation of the National Workforce Development Plan, developing a clear vision for career pathways and providing strategic advice directly to the Minister of Economy and Labour,” Mr Hayward added.
“Having the Board provide strategic advice directly to the minister will ensure that the Government operates in sync with the workforce stakeholders and that workforce investment activities meet the needs of employers and support economic development in Bermuda.”
Mr Hayward also said that amendments to the National Training Board would provide for the National Certification and Apprenticeship Board to focus on skilled trades, certifications and apprenticeships.
The Board would be responsible for producing a national register of tradesmen, draft a policy for assessment and streamline the national certification process.
The Board would further be responsible for implementing a “synergistic document” between the Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Immigration to enact policies to address the problem of work permit holders registering for various industries.
Mr Hayward said: “It is critically important to have a National Workforce System for which the primary aim is to connect people with jobs.
“This National Workforce Development Plan will provide the opportunities to prepare Bermudians with the requisite skills to enter the job market and introduce our young people to the world of work.
“The creation of a National Workforce Advisory Board and amendment to the functions of the National Training Board is a significant step to progressing Bermuda towards achieving those aims.”